Heritage Students to Share 'Ideas Worth Spreading' with TEDx Talks June 11th

 05/31/2018 - 15:24

Fourth and fifth grade students from Heritage School will present their TEDx program “Ideas Worth Spreading” at the Saline High School Auditorium June 11, discussing the power of communication and how the concept applies to people on a global level.

TED is an acronym for technology, entertainment and design, according to www.ted.com, and the license-free talks have expanded to cover a wide cross section of topics since the organization was founded in 1984.

TEDx programs are put together by “independent organizers who want to create a TED-like event in their own community."

The local manifestation in Saline was the brainchild of Heritage teacher Widad Luqman who recruited colleague Katie Huang, another seasoned Heritage educator, to help get the process rolling.

“She came to me with an idea and it was one that took a minute to think through because of the enormity of the project,” Huang said. “We still have to comply with the TED Talks mission and their mission is to globally explain ideas. If you look at the TED Talks for adults, it’s usually people like scientists and engineers.”

After several attempts to qualify the entire district for an annual TEDx license, which grants the bearer the ability to hold TEDx events for the duration of a year, Huang said she and Luqman heeded advice of organizational officials and downsized the scope of their application to only include Heritage School.

That ended up being the trick that garnered approval, and after several months of applying Huang said they received their congratulatory note from TED in February.

After presenting the TEDx concept to all the students at Heritage, and giving them an open invitation to participate, Huang said those chosen to help review applications received many enthusiastic replies.

“It actually worked itself down to about 30 kids that were interested and filled out an application,” she said. “A few dropped, and we ended up with 26 auditions.”

Then, Huang and Luqman had to make some tough decisions concerning who made the cut.

“It did come down to Widad and I kind of thinking about the group in general and who made more of an impact on us,” Huang said. “So, from there it whittled down to 10, and from the 10 we brought it down to six.”

The six students who will present their talks poured a tremendous amount of thoughtfulness, work and emotion into them, Huang said, indicating the end result surprised everyone involved.

“We do them a disservice by always thinking they cannot,” Huang said, “when we really need to think about ‘what if you let them?’”

While still following all applicable curriculum guidelines, Luqman said students are very much empowered when encouraged to be free thinkers and to track down information and solutions on their own, as was done with the Heritage TEDx participants.

“We were floored,” she said of the result of the TEDx Talks process. “I’m not going to lie, I did not think they would come up with things this deep and this complex and it’s just very interesting.”

Aside from producing their own content for the talks, participating students were also responsible for set design and production, Luqman said, including fabrication of the famous TED stage letters.

Following opening speaker Brian Alvarez, the students will give their TedX presentations as follows:

  • Ruthie Bonfiglio - Life: A Cross Country Race
  • Marie Laurio -  The Impact of Small Groups
  • Madison Esterline - Imagination
  • Isabella Apone - Adoption: I Am Home
  • Ana Sirbu - The True Meaning of Beauty
  • Diego Valdes - Immigrants: The Value of Kindness

The event is open to the public and will begin at 9:30 a.m. June 11 at the Saline High School Auditorium. For more information visit: https://tinyurl.com/tedxheritageschool.

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Steven Howard
Steven Howard is a veteran community journalist who lives in Saline. He is co-publisher of The Saline Post weekly newspaper. Reach him at 734-635-7979 or steven@thesalinepost.com.

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