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Something to say: How I hosted my own TEDx Youth Talk

16 November 2017
In May 2017, I proposed my idea to host a TEDx event at Wellington College International Shanghai. I was extremely gratified when the College leadership approved my plan, so I quickly got to work. Admittedly, I knew from the start that this experience would be very beneficial for my CAS portfolio, but in all honesty, my primary interest in organising the TEDx event came from a passion for sharing ideas and becoming more involved in events planning. Having identified many of the talented speakers on campus, I saw TEDx as an opportunity to bring them together and give them the chance to share their great ideas which needed an appropriate forum. With that in mind, I submitted an online licence application, which quickly led to an interview with an official TED staff member from New York City. Granted licence in hand, I proceeded to bring the event to life after I returned to school this term. As an IB pupil in her final year of studies, it was extremely challenging to balance my schoolwork alongside the organisational efforts required by the event. However, thanks to the help and support freely given by numerous teachers and my fellow peers, I managed to give both the time and attention it deserved. From numerous after-school printing shop runs, to the coordination between different departments, to setting up letterings on stage – it was a hectic process that required an immense amount of energy. However, the fulfillment and sense of accomplishment seeing the event take shape and run smoothly was worth all the sleepless nights. Once all was ready, the TEDx talk featured four inspirational speakers: Corinne Hua, a Wellington parent; Rebecca Rovescala and Vivian Chen, Wellington pupils and Barry Cooper, a Wellington teacher – each producing speeches that voiced their ideas concerning our theme. This year it was ‘Mind, Body, Image’.  Standing backstage while listening to their talks and the subsequent response by the audiences gave me a great sense of satisfaction; there is nothing in the world that makes me happier than knowing something I have done has caused others to enjoy learning. Months of hard work went by in a blink of an eye, and before I knew it, I was standing behind the podium delivering my closing remarks. Perhaps many still find it hard to understand why I would organise a TEDx event during such a busy time, but as I have told many universities in my application essay: "I discovered that during the stress and pressure of organising events is where I learn the most about myself." What I’ve learned from this hugely enjoyable and valuable experience is that it’s always useful to take the initiative whenever lightning strikes and you get a great idea. If there’s something that you think is important, do it. Plan it, prepare it, get help to pull it off if needed, but ultimately, make sure that you do it. I absolutely could not have put together this event without the help of my friends and teachers, so I’d like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who helped make the talk such a success.   Jessica Lee Y13