Students hold first TEDxSaratogaHighSchool

December 8, 2014 — by Michelle Leung and Trevor Leung

Five speakers presented at the TEDx event in the Thermond Drama Center  on Dec. 7.

Eighty-seven students, parents and community members listened to five speakers during a three-hour TEDxSaratogaHighSchool event in the Thermond Drama Center  on Dec. 7.

Pacing back and forth across the signature red dot carpet of TED talks, the speakers related experiences connected to the theme “Wonder.” Two videos of web comic creator Randall Munroe and educator Rita Pierson were also played.

Science teacher Lisa Cochrum spoke about the power of teachers and the potential of children.

“Clearly, we should never underestimate the capabilities of a student,” she said during her presentation.

While technology has vastly increased the resources with which teachers can educate students, making selling “education like Apple sells its next iPhone” much easier, Cochrum also pointed out that learning goes both ways in a student-teacher  relationship.

Another speaker that was Hendo founder and Arx Pax CEO Greg Henderson, who described his invention, the hoverboard, and encouraged students to “never stop daring to wonder.”

“Trying out the hoverboard [was my favorite part of the experience],” sophomore Sarah Chang said. “I would assume it would be like snowboarding because it’s a very strong vibrating sensation, and it feels like you’re floating across ice. It’s really strange and it’s really cool.”

Keyvan Esfarjani, vice president of Intel and co-CEO of IM Flash Technologies, put the incredible rate of technology advancement into perspective for the audience.

According to Esfarjani, if the automobile industry advanced as fast as the tech industry, then a $2,500 car would sell for two cents in a few years.

Senior Mahir Jethanandani, author of self-published book “The Immaculate Investor,” defined failure and success through a mixture of personal anecdotes and financial comparisons during the event. He described his own physical struggles as a sophomore on the football field, his academic struggles in computer science and his social struggle attempting to impress a girl.

The most important advice to remember through failures and success, Jethanandani said, is understanding oneself.

“There’s going to be a huge diversity of students at Saratoga High,” Jethanandani said, “and maximizing your potential — and really listening to yourself and who you want to become — should be the primary driving factor to what your legacy’s going to be for the four years you’re going to be here.”

Stuart Friedman, CEO of Global Context Inc., emphasized the importance of reverence for different cultures and different perspectives in the business world with a combination of “I have a friend” stories and interactive slides. For example, he said, in Australia, the maps are “upside down,” or so they appear to Northern hemisphere residents.

The takeaway, according to Friedman, is not to treat others the way you want to be treated, but to “treat others the way they want to be treated.”

Sophomore Nicole Lin and juniors Kabir Manghnani and Edwin Pan organized the event, a huge effort that consumed many hours. Senior Anjali Manghnani, who emceed the TEDx event, said that the brainstorming began months ago. According to Anjali, the head organizers “put in their life, and the others of us our weekends, our weekdays, our time to write, draft, memorize, set up.”

Junior Luke Salin was head of documenting the event, while junior Darby Williams organized break activities.

“It was to be absolutely honest a love of storytelling [that inspired the TEDx event],” Anjali said. “We all absolutely adore TED talks.”

According to Kabir, the plan is to make the TEDx event an annual event.

“I hope that everyone will learn that there are always things for us to learn [and] that  there are always amazing experiences to [find] and stories to discover,” Kabir said. “Curiosity didn’t kill the cat; it taught it that it had nine lives.”

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