Welcome to our TED talks

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Sophomore Saatvik Kaul, junior Aryan Ranjan, senior Theodore Rackauskas, junior Sneha Jos, sophomores Emilin Mathew and Shana Xia and seniors Juliette Reyes, Amrita Bonthu and Zachary Dishinger each had their own time to shine on the well known TED red dot at what may be the first of many TEDxAmerican Heritage events. (Photo/Joanne Haner)

While we often watch TED talks and clips from TED conferences in our various classes, a select eight of our fellow classmates seized the opportunity to give their very own TED talks in an independently organized TEDx event right here on campus. 

Following after our sister campus in Boca Delray, Heritage Plantation hosted their first TEDx event in the Black Box Theater the evening of Nov. 14. Eight student speakers followed the night’s theme, “Breakthrough,” each presenting a ten to fifteen minute speech in the spirit of the values at TED’s core: ideas worth spreading. 

Director of Public Relations and Advertising Mrs. Melanie Hoffman worked closely with senior Theodore Rackauskas, who served as the student organizer and host of the event, to put the night’s festivities together. 

“I always had this childish dream of giving a TED talk, so this is a like a little step of what I want to do one day,” Rackauskas said. 

Leading up to the event, Mrs. Hoffman worked with TED to get an official license to hold the event. In order to determine the speakers for the event, Mrs. Hoffman opened auditions to all Upper School Students from grades 7-12. After 17 auditions, the panel of judges chose the final eight speakers: sophomores Saatvik Kaul, Shana Xia and Emilin Mathew, juniors Sneha Jos and Aryan Ranjan, and seniors Juliette Reyes, Amrita Bonthu and Zachary Dishinger. 

Sophomore Saatvik Kaul spent his time on the stage talking about his personal breakthroughs and “carpe diem” view on life, comparing breakthroughs from epiphanies to breakthroughs as a result of deadlines. (Photo/Joanne Haner)

Although the audience consisted of 100 attendees, the speeches will live on past the event. During the event, WAHS students filmed each presentation, which will later be on the official TEDx Talks YouTube channel in an individual playlist dedicated to our campus. 

“Despite the tedious application for the TEDx license and the time it takes to coordinate all the details for the event, watching the faces of our student speakers light up when they walked into the Black Box Theatre and saw the famous TED red dot and the 3-foot tall ‘TEDxAmericanHeritageSchool’ letters on the stage made it all so rewarding and worthwhile,” Mrs. Hoffman said.

The TED talks themselves consisted of a variety of topics relating to the overall theme, with Ranjan discussing the climate change crisis, Reyes bringing invisible identities to light, Xia tackling the concept of social norms and more.“It was a really new experience for me because I had never given that long of a speech in front of so many people,” Xia said. “I was nervous at first, but after a lot of hard work being put into it, I felt confident in myself and I knew gave a speech that conveyed my ideas well.”

(Photos/Joanne Haner)

Joanne is a senior at American Heritage School in Plantation, Fla. As a third-year staffer and second-year editor-in-chief, she loves immersing herself in the journalistic field and writing for her publications. Outside of newspaper, Joanne is also co-president of the English Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta math honor society, where she also serves as the student delegate state secretary. Among the other clubs she is a part of, Joanne is also secretary of the linguistics team and Chinese Honor Society, as well as treasurer for Quill and Scroll. In her free time, Joanne loves practicing her photography and going to concerts.

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