Introduction

TEDx is a programme of local, self-organised events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.

The BSN hosted this event for the second time on the 4th of November 2019, after the first one in 2017 was a great success. Many students were able to participate and extend their learning in a unique way. The day was a huge accomplishment for everyone involved, and inspired many people across year groups. To see all of the wonderful performances and speeches, you can follow this link: TEDxYouth@BSN – November 4, 2019.

Masters of Ceremony

The first students on stage were the MCs. The Master’s of Ceremonies had to go through a formal audition process which was a new learning experience for many. The BSN TEDx event allowed these student to participate in an internationally recognised event, meaning they could experience working with professionals and be treated as professionals themselves.

Speaking in front of such a large audience – 100 live audience members in the hall and many more following via social media – also meant that many MCs stepped outside of their comfort zone. This positive experience outside their comfort zone, extended their learning in a unique way and further developed them as people by building their confidence.

As part of the preparation, the chosen MCs got the opportunity to meet with professional speakers who helped them with how to deliver their lines and provided general advice; advice they will always be able to use, in any context. One of the MCs hosting the BSN TEDx event described it as a “new experience”and a memory they can share with their friends and family for the rest of their lives. 

MCs preparing before their performance
Student Speakers

There were ten student speakers at the event – six from the Senior School and four from the Junior School. Some, like Oscar and Abigail, decided to focus on the school aspect of life. Elisa, João and Rayyan spoke about changing common perceptions in society.

The first speaker, Rayyan, talked about how we are constantly monitored by our best friend: technology. He proposed a few guidelines to protect ourselves in a way he called ethical hacking. Some of the solutions included:

  • Making coding accessible to everyone
  • Encouraging all genders to delve into the world of technology
  • Making sure that personal data rights are considered real rights

Oscar was the next speaker and he focused on how we could change our education. He thought that the school curriculum needed to involve links between subjects. Life skills should focus more on skills we will need in the future e.g. learning about what taxes we have and how we go about paying them. Like Rayyan he said that technology should be taught everywhere and be accessible to everyone.

Elisa continued the line up by questioning sayings we live by. For example, she was dubious about “live in the moment” as we can’t forget what older generations have done for us. We need to take advantage of the fact that we are the only species that can learn from the past.

“Destiny becomes a scapegoat for our own actions.”

– Elisa

Sophie and Felix talked about the parallels between Game of Life and real life. They touched upon the fact that your life is dictated by your birth and many steps after that are determined by pure chance. They said that everyone wants to be understood and made a plea for empathy, asking everyone to put “yourself in someone else’s shoes, because in other circumstances, you might have been wearing them”. 

“Don’t judge those wronged by chance”

– Sophie and Felix

The last Senior School speaker was João and he wanted us to challenge our first impressions of the people we meet. He talked about the ‘coolness factor’ and how “the truly cool don’t factorize that coolness, they expand their friendships”.

The first Junior School speaker was Elizabeth who is the only girl in her rugby team. She thinks that girls can do anything boys can do. She promoted equality and challenged stereotypes. She advised us to be resilient, especially against rising obesity.

Abigail noticed that there is too little diversity in literature and that for some time, only men were allowed to publish books. She thought that literature should include many unique viewpoints. She finished by saying that “we must write our truth”.

In a unique approach, Rory decided to focus on animals. He talked about how animals are being misused for human entertainment and social media only shows the happy surface – not the cruel background. He asked us to spread the truth with his hashtag #GiveAnimalsABreak .

As the last of the Junior School speakers, Rose talked about how they were often seen as a boy even though they are a biological girl. Now, they don’t feel like they belongs to any gender, and have their parent’s full support. They believe that from birth everything is separated into categories for boys and girls, and that often behaviours change – both of the individual and the treatment they receive – depending on someone’s gender. They inspired everyone in the room and the audience came out believing that everyone has a right to be who they want.

Guest Speakers

As proud as the BSN was of their own student speakers, they were also very honoured to host some amazing guest speakers.

The first guest speaker to perform on the BSN TEDx event 2019 was Richard Human. He strongly believes that “small steps can change the world”. His TED talk animated many audience members to do their bit to save the world and act now! And remember: just because no one else is doing it, does not mean you shouldn’t.

“If it feels right, don’t be afraid to be different.”

– Richard Human

The next guest speaker was Konrad Bartelski, an ex student of the BSN, who told us about his experience of always chasing his goals and never letting anyone tell him that his dream – becoming an Olympic skier – was impossible. His success is the perfect reflection of his determination and hard work.

Next, the BSN had the honour of hosting the founder of Lilly’s Plastic Pick Up: Lilly Platt. She explained the dangers of single use plastic and stressed the huge impact it has on the environment. She ended her speech with a very powerful point: “If this planet goes, so do we.”

“We should never take nature for granted.”

– Lilly Platt

Ralph Groenheijde continued this environmental awareness theme. He talked about his art, made with beach rubbish and inspired many people with his creative way of reinterpreting resources. His goal is to combine everyone’s powers and use his privilege as a human being to clean his home.

After that, Harry Stuurman opened up about a very serious topic: depression and mental health. He very bravely told the story about his own experience with depression and encouraged others to open up. Describing the relief he felt after talking to someone and the help he got from the phycologist, he realised that he, himself, is the key to his happiness.

Finally, Albert Casals took the stage. His amazing enthusiasm about travelling was often pushed back by people that told him he would need money to fulfil his dream. He soon realised that travelling with only a few belongings and mixing with the locals gave him a much more precious experience and allowed him to discover the world from a new perspective. 

Performers

Other students also partaking in the event as active members were the performers. The students enjoyed the opportunity to present their art on stage as part of an internationally-known event and  practice on-stage performance in a serious context.

The first performance of the day was the Junior School Choir singing “Don’t Stop”. This enabled younger students, who were not on the main school-campus where the event was taking place, to watch some of the other performances live and experience being on a big stage for the first time.

The next performance was as enjoyable as the first. Su sang “Homesick” beautifully and got the opportunity to present her talent in front of many people. Along with Yi Ling, who was performing “Allegro” on the piano, they managed to bring tears to the audience’s eyes.

The thought-provoking Drama Club was next with an astounding performance of scenes from Peter Shaffer’s play Equus. The participants said that it really helped them prepare for their upcoming performance as they had to adapt to a few last-minute changes and memorise lines quickly.

The last two performances of the day were from the Rock Band and Caelita – all of whom are in Year 8. The former performed the “Blitzkrieg Bop”, a song that got the audience dancing. The latter performed a song she had written titled “You Don’t Know” which wowed the audience.

The stage is being prepared for the performers
Audience

Even if they were not involved in the TEDx event, many students still got the opportunity to watch the performances in the hall. This allowed them to listen to guest speakers which motivated many to “think outside the box”. Next to the “inspiring” guest speakers sharing their unique experiences, the students also got to see how their peers at the BSN had developed a passionate opinion into an inspiring speech. For the many audience members, “It was nice to see what the students had been working on.” It was very impressive to see students from Year 4 through to Year 12 embody their ideas and present the speeches they had been working on for such a long time. Overall, the BSN TEDx event involved and inspired everyone.

Student audience enjoying the performences
Student Helpers

There were also some students helping behind the scenes, organising the events and directing the sound and lighting. This gave them the opportunity to help with the event, even if they didn’t want to be onstage. Not only did TEDx give them the opportunity to further the skill they were interested in learning, it also enabled them to meet new people, who they would be able to contact in the future.

Some of the students who were helping with the sound had never had any previous experience which meant that they were able to see, in a real context, if this was the sort of thing they wanted to do. Others had already done this in various school contexts, like concerts or shows, and had the chance to take it to the next level in this world-known event.

Other student helpers were in direct contact with the speakers as they were assisting with the organisation and would tell them when to go on-stage. The students were then able to interact and learn more about the other and why they chose what to do. This promoted more exchanges between students in different years.

Student helpers helping at the front desk

Overall, the BSN TEDx event was a massively successful event and we hope to be part of many more in future. To see a video cut together from a few interviews we recorded, please follow this link*: https://flashbackconnect.com/Default.aspx?id=RopJgsFp-8njOnUPTBLePQ2

*Disclaimer: The correct date for the BSN TEDx event is the 4th November 2019.