Thursday, November 17, 2011

Camiel Duytschaever & Lou Posada

Camiel is concerned about fossil fuel dependency. Camiel first became interested in biofuel while working with energy concepts. Now, she and her partner, Lou Posada, plan to propose a program that would allow schools to use their own resources for energy. Outside the science lab, Camiel also enjoys working in the photography lab, where she blends a passion for both science and art.

Lou has had an interest in science for as long as he can remember. Lous is particularly interested in working with nano-medicine, a new form of medicine using nanoparticles. Today, Lou will be talking about biodiesel; more specifically, Lou and his classmate will be discussing a program for promoting the use of biofuel in schools, local communities, nationally and perhaps worldwide as well.

The biodiesel project has been going on since 2010. We worked on developing simple methods for making biofuel at school. Since our project incorporated working with other schools as well, we were eager to find a way to get the word out. When we heard about TEDxYouth@ISASKinkaid and our school’s participation in the TEDxYouthDay program, we thought it would be a great opportunity to share our project with others.

Turning our project into a presentable idea was a great experience. Not only were we able to reach out to other students, but we also came to appreciate what we had been working on for so long. After having put so much effort into our work, we felt great to finally share what we had been doing.

In addition to participating in the TEDxYouthDay program, we were also able to watch other students’ presentations. The whole event was really inspiring. Being a part of a program that allows young people, just like us, to have a chance to say something was awesome

Friday, November 11, 2011

Mikayla Smolensky

Mikayla has no idea what she wants to do in her life yet; her ideas change all the time.  She is acutely aware of her weaknesses, strengths, and talents.  She also has many passions and interests.  She loves to read.  She also enjoys writing.  She is a terrible cook.  Something Mikayla especially enjoys is singing.  She performs all over the place, supported by her dad who believes she is a virtuoso when it comes to singing. She takes countless music lessons and even plays piano and some guitar.  And some day she plans to figure out what she wants to do with her life… but not yet.

TEDx was a great experience for me. It helped me say and do so many things I couldn’t have upfront to my family. It didn’t just help with speaking in front of people; it also helped with my parents understanding what I meant when I said enough was enough. It was educational and I was very proud of myself afterwards.
The reason why I did Tedx was not just to express my feelings publicly but to also help other kids with the same problem I had and TEDx gave me that opportunity. I said stuff to my dad I could have never said otherwise. I am now hoping that many other children can stand up to and find a way to express their feelings and choices to their parents.
The overall experience was great.  Even writing the speech was great (although it got quite aggravating at times). But I am glad I did it! TEDxYouth is such a great way for teens to express thoughts, dreams, ideas, etc. It was great because teens don’t always get the freedom of speech they deserve because they are younger, but TEDxYouth definitely gave me my freedom of speech and I think I could say that for all TEDx performers.

Otilio Rios, Jr.

Otilio began playing the acoustic guitar at the age of 13, the classical guitar when he was 15. After four years of dedication to the instrument, he says, “ I’m a pretty decent guitarist, but certainly no virtuoso or prodigy.” Writing his own music was was one of the reasons he picked up the guitar in the first place. He also wants to increase his personal knowledge and understanding of music, and he believes that writing music is an effective way of learning. He also believes that writing music will help him gain skills in persistence and perseverance. “I have a habit of starting projects,” he explains, “but as the challenge becomes more difficult, my dedication fades away. Writing music is hard and requires a lot of effort and patience. Because writing music is a process that does not yield immediate results, I will learn to stick to something and see it through to the finish.”

As I prepared to give a TED- style talk at the Kinkaid school of Houston as part of TEDxYouthDay, at first I was ridiculously nervous. I had no idea what I was going to say about music, or how I was going to say it, but I still had plenty of time, so I let the talk sink to the back of my brain. It wasn’t until about two week s before I was scheduled to give the speech that I really started work on it, and this was because I was leaving for a class trip to Washington, D.C., the following week. Eventually I came up with what I wanted to be my message, and from there it was just a matter or fleshing it out. My central message was that people should openly pursue their interests and strive to learn about them so that they can do more with their passions. At the same time, people should still have a playful, curious, and whimsical attitude towards their learning because often simply playing with something leads to innovation.

The experience at 
TEDxYouth@ISASKinkaid itself was very interesting. During the dress rehearsal, I felt extremely nervous and was stumbling through my sentences. However, being up in front of the audience the day of the event was actually nice. It felt good for me to talk about something I cared about and for an audience of people to listen to what I had to say. I no longer felt nervous; I was comfortable in front of the crowd. All in all, it was a great experience, and I’m very happy that I was selected to participate in the event. 

Noa Gutow-Ellis

Last year, when Noa was in 8th grade, her history class on world geography, comparative politics, and current events sparked her interest in global affairs. From the coup d’etat in Venezuela to piracy in Somalia, these topics fascinated her. Noa believes in giving her all to what she is passionate about, so it’s fitting that she received the Commitment to Excellence Award in History at the end of 8th-grade. When she’s not keeping up with the news, Noa loves volunteering with refugee children and baking -- especially brownies -- for her English class. In the future, Noa wants to be a teacher who brings the world to her students and give them an experience similar to her own. Because of her interests, Noa chose to prepare a TED talk about the power of social media as it relates to the world.

Madison Calicchia

Over the past 5 years, Madison has appeared in numerous professional and student musical theatre and dance productions. She decided to extend her creativity further, using clothing as her canvas. Designing and sewing has been one of her favorite pastimes for many years; she has been making clothing and Halloween costumes for as long as she remembers. Recently, Madison began to dive further into her passion, and over the summer, she took fashion design classes in New York and met many women in leadership roles in the industry. This has inspired her to share the knowledge she has acquired over the years

TEDxYouth@ISASKinkaid was such an incredible experience; I don’t think it’s possible to explain how I felt after everyone had shared their ideas. The day before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t know whether to be excited or nervous! Of course, as I knew would happen, my morning preparation had many hiccups: I couldn’t find some of the things I needed, and it seemed as if I was heading for disaster. Once I arrived at Kinkaid, however, I knew everything would go smoothly.

It was such a unique opportunity to meet so many interesting students from other schools and hear their perspectives and ideas. All of the people I met and spoke to after my talk were so wonderful and had great questions and comments. I don’t think I could have chosen a more fun topic to speak about, and I had a ton of fun heading out to scour the resale shops for something to wear as a demonstration for my talk. The best part about giving a TEDx talk was knowing that I could possibly affect at least one person out there with an idea that I talked about. 

As I felt everything come together and I knew I was coming up with something that anyone could understand and relate to, that felt amazing. Everything about TEDxYouthDay was so incredible, and I can only hope I will have the opportunity to present again one day!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Lizett Gutierrez

When Lizett was born, the first of four children, her mother, at age 19, made the difficult decision to become a stay-at-home mom rather than attend Rice University. Lizett grew up learning English from her mother and Spanish from her father and grandparents. As the years flew by, Lizett became a positive influence on her younger siblings and cousins, spending her childhood years focused on school and showing the determination required to make something of herself. At age 11, when Lizett began attending Chinquapin Preparatory School, she was convinced that the experience would change her life. She now believes she was right.  Because of Chinquapin, Lizett has become a more ambitious student. She was able to travel abroad on scholarship, and she has made life-lasting connections. Now, at 17, she has never felt more prepared to face the challenges that await her. Lizett’s travels and her love of languages have influenced her TED talk.

Finally, on Sunday the 13th of November,I was leaving for Washington, D.C. to attend Close-Up with my fellow seniors at Chinquapin Preparatory School. The excitement of leaving Houston set. Walking through the airport, my mind flashed back to June in Narita Airport talking with my Experiment in International LIving (EIL) group.I still felt  the exhilarating feeling of exploration. However, in the back of mind was a voice reminding me that at the end of this week I would have to give my all for the speech I would deliver at TEDxYouth@ISASKinkaid. The rest of my week was intensely busy. Constant busing from monument to monument followed by seminar after seminar drained me. There was no time to practice the speech that was demanding so much of me. Thursday night I had to start packing for my flight back to Houston. I was leaving the Close Up trip a day early for our TEDxYouthDay rehearsal. It wasn't until I reached Baltimore that the fear and nervousness began to rattle me. I didn't want to choke on my words in front of he audience. On top of that, the speech would be recorded and uploaded to YouTube. But when Saturday came, I felt as though I worried for nothing. Once I stepped on stage, my body hit auto-pilot. It's not that the fear went away, but that my body automatically knew what to do. I think my speech went well. My schoolmates in the audience said it was one of the best. I'm still waiting for the video to be posted to critique myself.