Edmonds School District’s first-ever TEDx talk amplifies student voices

The student speakers pose for a group photo. From left: Máté Páztor, Zane VanderVeer, Dylan Costinett, Emma Holbrook, Alan Phan, Jared Wynder, Mia Oscarsson and Ava Messinger.

With topics ranging from autism to cancer to mental health, a group of high school students took to the stage last weekend for the Edmonds School District’s first-ever TEDx talk — TEDxYouth@YostPark.

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design and consists of talks containing “ideas worth spreading.” TEDx events are focused on sharing ideas in local communities.

The event organizers: From left, Stephanie Farmer and Marianne Nacanaynay with their advisor, Karen Rautenberg.

It was this concept that inspired Edmonds-Woodway High School junior Stephanie Farmer and Mountlake Terrace High School senior Marianne Nacanaynay to host the first TEDxEdmonds event. Held at the Edmonds Community College Black Box Theater June 8, the audience was limited to students but the event was also streamed online for anyone to watch.

“I wanted to create this event to really inspire action in our community,” said Farmer. “So many teenagers are all about the talk but they never actually take action.” Farmer and Nacanaynay have been working hard since October 2018 to organize this TED event. It took hundreds of hours of work and an army of volunteers to make their vision for the TED event a reality.

Volunteers who made the event possible.

The theme of the talks was “Being Heard” and speakers shared stories that made audience members rethink their ideas around judging others and the world around them.

The event also was a learning experience for Farmer. “Freshman year, I never believed I would ever do anything more than what I was used to,” she said. “However, the second I stepped out of my comfort zone, I realized that I am a strong enough person to make an impact and so are so many people around me.”

Student speakers and their topics included:

Alan Phan

Alan Phan, Meadowdale HS: The difficulties of opening up to your Asian parents about mental health.

Ava Messinger

Ava Messinger, Edmonds-Woodway HS: How do we talk about OCD without devaluing survivors.

Emma Holbrook

Emma Holbrook, Mountlake Terrace HS: What it means to be a cancer survivor.

Máté Páztor

Máté Pásztor Edmonds Heights K-12: The importance of re-kindling childhood passions.

Mia Oscarsson

Mia Oscarsson, Edmonds-Woodway HS: How labeling generations institutes ageism in our community.

Zane Vanderveer

Zane Vanderveer, Edmonds-Woodway HS: Being a transgender high school student.

Dylan Costinett

Dylan Costinett, Mountlake Terrace HS: THE MTHS STEM program and the algorithm created for his senior project.

Jared Wynder

Jared Wynder, Lynnwood HS: His amazing journey and fight through living with autism.

You can watch the recording of the TEDxYouth@YostPark event at this link.

— Story and photos by Ariana Burr

Ariana Burr, a sophomore at Edmonds-Woodway High School, is an intern for My Edmonds News, MLTnews and Lynnwood Today.

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