SDEC Holds Student TED Talks

Rika Yahashiri, Reporter

Inspiring and influential, the nationally know Ted Talks have struck city high with “ideas worth spreading”. The SDEC (Student Diversity and Equity Council) and Michelle Tran-Duong ‘19 came up with the idea to showcase ted talks on issues dealing with diversity and social issues from City High students that are passionate about the topic.

Run by SDEC and James Tutson these ted talks are held at Opstad Auditorium or The Little Theater, Fridays during advisory.

“I was first inspired by actual ted talks,” Tran-Duong said. “I thought it would be a cool idea to bring it to City High.”

James Tutson is the iJAG coordinator at City High and the coordinator of the Student Diversity and Equity Council.

“I believe, as with everything SDEC does, the goal was to engage the student population in conversations that were bigger than school,” Tutson said. “She [Michelle] wanted students to either feel like they had a platform to speak about the things that inspire them or to feel like they had a platform to hear about inspiring things. I think often entire days pass by where we don’t get to do either.”

Tutson plans on getting faculty involved to see what makes their teachers tick on a human level not just as an educator. For example, having the teachers in the English department tell their students about it and possibly have a school wide event where there can be one ted talk that many students can go to see it during a class period or an advisory time.

So far, there has been three TED talks from Feda Elbadri ‘21 about racism in school and school bias, Kate Murray ‘19 about immigrants and their inventions and one from James Tutson himself about race and concepts about it.

“Since we’ve had a couple ted talks already, most of the turnout is decent.” Tran-Duong said. “They’re typically friends of the speaker or the members of SDEC. I hope in the future more people can come and support these wonderful speakers!”

The TED talks have been announced on the daily announcements and there has been advertising around school about these TED talks but, the audience has so far been on the low.

“We had put up posters but it doesn’t seem like students actually pay attention to those anymore,” Tran-Duong said. “I really hope that in the future more people will come to listen to these speakers. These topics aren’t easy to talk about but the fact that these students are willing to publicly speak about it, I think that’s important.”

Tutson hopes that these talks will not only be listened to, but cared about and discussed.

“I think we’re all desperate for some real conversation in our lives. I think we can easily plan these things and think: ‘Well who cares what some random person has to say? Why bother?’, but then people show up.” Tutson said. “They don’t even know what the talk is going to be about really, they just want something real to listen to and discuss. I think there’s something significant to that.”

Even though this is the beginning of this project, the SDEC has high hopes for the future. They are currently looking for anyone who is interested in giving a TED talk next year. You can email your ideas to James Tutson.

“This is a stretch, but it’d be awesome to team up with the actual Ted Talk company and bring a Ted Talk x Iowa City here so that not only City High students but others from the community can share their own stories too.” Tran-Duong said. “It’s more important that people are sharing their opinions and that others are listening.”