TEDx comes to Carlmont


Elizabeth Stokoe at TEDx Bermuda /Lizstokoe / Wikimedia Commons /CC BY-SA 4.0

Elizabeth Stokoe speaks at a TEDx conference in Bermuda.

Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) conferences are held annually in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Speakers from all over the world are encouraged to promote the slogan “ideas worth spreading” by sharing new ideas, perspectives, and issues.

TED has increased the number of conferences from one to about 2,600 events a year by starting TEDx conferences. Unlike TED Talks which are global, TEDx events are local, self-organized conferences licensed by TED that must follow a specific format and set of rules

Carlmont High School’s Associated Student Body (ASB) Clubs and Culture Commission recently started planning their own TEDx event after one of their members started organizing informal ones during school lunches. 

“Ryan [Joscson] had ideas to do these lunchtime TED Talks. And we had done a couple of them, and then Sydney [Durand] mentioned that she did TEDx at her old high school. And she thought it would be cool if we took that on as a project since we had been doing TED-like talks during lunch,” Keya Arora, a member of ASB, said.

Members including Arora, Dani Courtney, Valentina Espinosa, Jocson, Jasneh Sasan from the Clubs and Culture Commission, and Durand from the Assembly Commission started planning this event back in October. They had to send in an application to TED which was finally approved in February. Now that they have permission, they can start planning the actual event.

The conference will take place on the evening of April 28 in the Carlmont Performing Arts Center (PAC), and will consist of many student speakers lecturing on a topic of their choice. 

It’s a great opportunity for the students at Carlmont to shed light upon topics that they’re passionate about”

— Ryan Jocson

“It’s a great opportunity for the students at Carlmont to shed light upon topics that they’re passionate about,” Jocson said.

The idea for a TEDx conference came from ASB member Sydney Durand, who helped organize a TEDx event at her previous school, Leigh High School.

“I led the TEDx event at Leigh, and so when I came over and joined ASB at Carlmont, it was something that I wanted to bring here,” Durand said. 

ASB put out speaker applications for the event and is now finalizing the official speakers. Once finalized, ASB members will work with the speakers to rehearse the event, which will last a few hours. 

They had 18 sign-ups and are looking to accept seven to nine speakers. They also have to coordinate with the theater manager to ensure they have CTTA tech crew kids to help out. In addition, they plan on having one or two students host the event to announce speakers. 

“Sydney has also been contacting other schools to see if we can borrow TEDx signs and red carpets and things like that,” Arora said.

Once announced, the TEDx program quickly gained traction among students, with the Culture and Clubs commission receiving a high number of applications for the speaker slots.  Durand and her commission members had to decide who would and wouldn’t speak at the event based on whether they met the TED Talks criteria.  

Both speakers and commission members are incredibly excited about the event and hope to be able to continue hosting conferences like these in the future. 

“If this is successful, we’re hoping to host a TEDx every year. And so hopefully people have more chances to speak, even if they aren’t able to speak this year,” Durand said. “I’m really excited. I think the coolest thing about this event is giving students in our community the platform to share their ideas because so many people have amazing ideas.”