TEDxSaratogaHighSchool’s yearly speaker event features theme ‘You Are the Future’

May 16, 2023 — by Kevin Yang
Graphic by Kevin Yang
Planners worked for months to pull off the event..

The four speakers at the TEDxSaratogaHigh held at the Thermond Drama Center on April 23 told their own stories about how they had overcome obstacles and loss.

 According to junior and current club officer Sam Bai, the TEDxSaratogaHighSchool club spent months preparing for the speaker series with the theme “You Are the Future.”  At the beginning of the year, the group worked together to first come up with the theme “You Are the Future,” inspired by the idea that the COVID-19 pandemic was over and it was time to move forward. 

The group then chose their speakers carefully, looking for people whose experiences in overcoming struggles. These includec senior Andrew Hong’s failures in chess before becoming a grandmaster, Saratoga High English teacher Emily Wu’s search for her life’s purpose and junior Avik Belenje’s goal of convincing people to care for the environment. 

“For the speakers, we were actually looking for people who had unique experiences that can easily motivate others,” Bai said. 

Working with drama teacher Benjamin Brotzman, the TEDxSaratogaHighSchool team learned how to operate the various lighting and sound elements in the drama center. They also worked with the speakers to finalize scripts and practice their performances. 

Overall, organizers said all the effort paid off, as the event was able to run smoothly without any major hiccups. 

“[The event] was put together well,” Saratoga Council member Tina Walia said. “I am super impressed at the very professional manner in terms of planning and executing the event, [including] all aspects of how people are going to be sitting, what the audio is going to be, what the visuals are going to be and how to keep the audience engaged.” 

Walia’s speech was about how her family’s immigrant experience helped shape her and her local political success. She started with the story of how she met the prime minister of India at a wedding when she was 6 years old. She was the only one of the children present with the courage to approach the prime minister, demonstrating how she didn’t let the actions of others influence her own decisions. Even as a child, she was unafraid to talk to others in order to share her ideas with others.   

From her experiences, Walia said that she has also learned how to be a good speaker by first being a good listener. 

“I learn from other speakers too,” she said. “Personal growth continues through life, and that’s what makes life rich.”

For next year, the club’s main goal is to have higher attendance at their next speaker event. In order to support a larger audience, they plan to move the next event from the Thermond Drama Center to the McAfee Center. Also, instead of advertising only through online publicity, they will try to use school resources and The Falcon to promote events. 

The club will start during the summer to decide the theme for their next event. 

“There are definitely [aspects of planning] that we can do better,” Bai said. “However, the event went very smoothly, and we are so excited to hold future events.”

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