TEDxLFHS Promises Diversity and Thoughtful Discussion


Kailey Albus, Staff Writer

For months, members of LFHS’ TEDx club have been working tirelessly on their contributions to arguably the most thought-provoking event of the year. After copious amounts of research, countless rough drafts, and several self-timed recitations, 13 speakers are prepped to not only share their ideas, but spark conversation.

Under the alluring theme of “future world,”–inspired by adviser Mr. Jimmy Juliano’s recent trip to Disney World’s Epcot Center– participants will present their best anecdotes, stories, and lessons that they feel will work to benefit society.

“TED encourages–when you choose a theme–to make it very broad, one that a lot of different talks could fit into,” adviser Mrs. Laura Grigg said. “A really powerful TED event should have a wide variety of speakers covering a huge range of topics.”

And variety is exactly what TEDx sponsors Grigg, Juliano, and Mr. Corey Holmer achieved. On Thursday, nine students are slated to discuss a vast assortment of subjects: from a 30-day backpacking expedition to the emotional influence of music to the benefits of lab cultured meat.

In terms of adult speakers, audience members will hear from co founder and CEO of Clean Energy Trust Amy Francetic, Evanston teacher and Golden Apple recipient Corey Winchester, lawyer and comedian Bide Akande, and Evanston’s Director of Equity and Family Community Engagement Joaquin Stephenson. Stephenson, who received a great deal of praise after previously speaking to LFHS’ Diversity Club, is already generating a buzz regarding his eloquence and persuasiveness as a presenter.

While TEDx in the past has been strictly marketed and tailored towards high school students, perhaps the “future world” holds a place for middle school involvement. For the first time, eight grader Alexandra Anderson will represent Deer Path Middle School in her discussion of how the arts have impacted her life.

Aside from the speakers, Thursday’s audience can expect an array of artistic performances as well: musical sisters Lucy and Sydney Rubenstein, vocal soloists Sylvia Kollasch and Brennan Marzella, newly formed jazz band Niki and the Melon Boys, and percussion trio You’re So Cool will all take the stage in between talks. These inspirational artists have proven themselves at a variety of LFHS events in the past, and students who have not had the chance to see them should expect to be impressed.

Among all of the colors of this year’s event, senior MCs Casey Murray and Billy Gardner are bound to bring the exuberant, vivid energy necessary to keep TEDx alive.

“[Murray and Gardner] alone are the reason why you should be attending,” Holmer said.

“A lot of their preparation has been done by not preparing in some ways,” Grigg added “But they’re taking it very seriously as far as getting to know all of the speakers and their talks…expect lots of humor, lots of puns, lots of laughs.”

While TEDx certainly would not be possible without the involvement of Grigg, Juliano, and Holmer, this event is almost entirely student driven. From the high school speakers to performers to technicians to media crew, the students are truly the propelling force of the project.

Grigg calls the entire process “empowering and entertaining,” saying that “[the students] take it very seriously, they treat it as their moment to share what is most important to them with our community.”

Juliano adds that TEDx is “unlike anything else you can do at LFHS.”

“In school, you’re always generally doing what you’re told or following assignment parameters, but this process is like “what do you care about most” and off you go. That’s what makes it so unique.”

The application to attend TEDx may be long gone, but prospective spectators should plan on tuning into tedxlfhs.com to watch this year’s participants pave their “future world” for audiences of all ages.