An ‘X’-citing Event

TedX 2019 promises exciting ideas, 3 student speakers

Ian Grimm

Sage Hill TedX has been an inspiring and exciting event since it was founded in 2015 by Mr. McNeill and a group of engaged seniors. Topics in the past have ranged from a student hip-hop artist talking about his growth as a dancer and a person, to a researcher from Bell Labs discussing how he invented fingerprint scanners.

This year, for the 4th Annual Sage Hill TedX, the speaker list is no less impressive. With the largest stack of student and faculty speakers in the history of the program, and an engaging theme that celebrates the moments when people take the first step that changes the world, this year’s TedX is on track to outshine everything before.

The topic this year, The TedX 180°, is about taking an impactful event, a seismic shift in the way you live your life, and recognizing the ways that it has positively altered the people around you, both in your community and the world. Taking a 180° is about having the courage to challenge the status quo, and how you can better yourself and society by solving different problems with new perspectives.

For computer science and Financial Literacy teacher Derek Carlson, his 180° came when he decided to become an agnostic after being raised in a Christian family and attending schools where a majority of the kids were as religious as his family was.

His struggle with his faith and what he believed in, combined with his personal doubting and self-diagnosed Vulcan nature, led him to discover the COEXIST movement of religious tolerance. Far from ignoring religion entirely as superstition, Mr. Carlson’s 180° gave him the perspective to take atheism in stride, while synthesizing the teachings of many different religions into his own personal philosophy of life.

Ashley Sarkisian had her own 180° on technology use, after realizing that her overuse and abuse of online media and the Internet were taking over her life. As a teenage girl, she’s on the front lines of an ongoing war for her attention, from advertisers, social media sites, and Youtube influencers all clamoring for her eyeballs. By pushing back against the overuse of technology towards more balanced lifestyles, she hopes we all can free ourselves from the tech trap and reconnect with people, while still reaping the benefits of its extraordinarily valuable uses.

Rounding out the list of presenting speakers are Luca White-Matthews, captain of the Sage Hill Debate Team and a Top 10 National World School debater, and George Reisman, Professor Emeritus of Economics at Pepperdine and longtime advocate of Austrian economics.

Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, President and CEO of Earth Friendly Products, will discuss her journey to create people- and planet-friendly products, while senior Tommy Burns reflects on the dual influences of Daoism and Surfing on his life. Ms. Aguirre will speak about her experiences with SAME and diversity as a part of our modern life.

TedX 2019 is going to be an exciting, enlightening, can’t-miss event. Seats are first-come, first-served, so be sure to arrive early to get good seating. The talks begin at 6:30 pm in the Black Box, on Friday, February 15th.