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Ideas Worth Sharing: TAS Takes on TEDx


“When we share our insights, we are participating in the most important and most beautiful aspect of humanity,” said Mr. Franklin, US English teacher. “We as humans ponder, question, challenge, dream and dare. And this is what makes us unique and perhaps, ‘uniquer’ than all other species.”
Mr. Franklin was one of eleven speakers – including four TAS students – who shared their challenges and dreams on Saturday December 6 when TAS hosted its very first independently organized TEDx event. According to the event manager, Annabel C. (12), there were over 150 people who attended TEDx (with some coming from as far as Hsinchu) on Saturday, filling up the entire Small Theater.
TED is a nonprofit organization in America devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks. The topics covered by inspired thinkers at a TED Conference are diverse, ranging from science to business to global issues.  Meanwhile, the TEDx Program was created by TED to support independent organizers who want to create a TED-like event in their own communities.
The theme for this year’s TEDxTaipeiAmericanSchool was “Unbound” that serves to encourage people to go beyond their potential and “do what they think they aren’t capable of,” as Evonne P. (12), the event organizer, explained.
“The reason I started TEDx is that I wanted to do something for TAS and leave something at TAS,” she said. “I wanted to prompt others to step out of their comfort zone and get engaged in thought-provoking ideas with people they don’t usually talk to.”
The TEDx team reached out beyond the TAS community and invited speakers from a range of backgrounds. While Tzu-Wei Yang, a professional clown, talked about the clown spirit, Peter Su, a distinguished Taiwanese author who backpacked around the world, talked about the importance of finding perfection in the imperfections, and accepting flaws.
TEDx also invited Joey Chung, the founder of Taiwan’s first Model United Nations, Kevin Chen, the executive director of ELIV (the first social enterprise involved in international service and volunteer), and Jake Hemingway, a missionary and a blogger of “Rewriting Rules” that inspires people to break through the boundaries and do things they love. His maxim? “Doing is better than perfection.”
The first TAS student speaker to approach the stage was Annie C. (12), President of Cancer Society. She questioned our educational system as well as the societal perception that there is a definite right and wrong.

“Rights and wrongs are not easy to distinguish, and the question isn’t if it’s right or wrong but whether if there is a right or wrong.” – Annie C. (12)

“How are we supposed to be leaders of the world if we can’t see things from different perspectives?” she said. “Rights and wrongs are not easy to distinguish, and the question isn’t if it’s right or wrong but whether if there is a right or wrong.” At the end of her speech, she urged all of us to take a step back, open up ourselves to more perspectives, and make our own judgments.
The second TAS student to approach the stage was Nancy Z. (10) who talked about the important relationship between the food we consume and our environment. As a vegan, she argued that our eating habits today are harming not just the environment but also our bodies. “Your body loves you so much. It’s time for you to love it back,” she said.
2nd Student Speaker: Nancy Z. (10)
“Your body loves you so much. It’s time for you to love it back.” -Nancy Z. (10)

During her presentation, Nancy also showed the audience gripping videos of horrible factory conditions. “When we are choosing to eat meat, we are supporting violence,” she said. “We need to realize that not everything on the big screen is true. Just google, factory farm cruelty.”
Kelly H. (12), the third TAS student speaker, examined the problems behind today’s gender dynamics. She began her talk by showing the audience the results of her self-designed poll: While 47% of male students surveyed want to ask girls to prom/frolic rather than being asked, only 32% of female students surveyed want to ask guys. This led to her question, “Why are girls so passive?”
Kelly H. (12) takes a deeper look into today’s subtle sexism.

Throughout her speech, she argued how fairy tale stories as well as societal perpetuated gender norms contributed to the problem. Even more compelling was when she exposed the sexism that underlies the popular high school Sadie Hawkins Dance in which girls ask guys to dance, “contrary to the custom” of male students inviting females. “If we want to change this, we start now,” she said. “And we can start by removing Sadie Hawkins at high school.”
The last TAS student speaker, Haley R. (10) talked about the significance of “wanderlust,” or our desire to wander and explore the world, and its negative relationship with curiosity. “Curiosity is important but just overemphasized,” she said.
Haley R. (10): “Curiosity is a choice, not a default."
Haley R. (10) argues that curiosity is overemphasized.

“We need to learn to appreciate things not question them. We need to know when to wander…either it be a ripple in the pond or the expression on someone’s face, we need to learn to accept them as they are.” She leaves the audience with the message that some things- certainly the nature- just aren’t meant to be dissected. “Curiosity is a choice, not a default,” she said.
The TEDxTaipeiAmericanSchool event was entirely organized and run by a group of about 20 TAS students under the guidance of Dr. Nelson, US Political Science teacher, and Ms. Yonkey, the Activities Director.
While the marketing team led by Ellen C. (11) and Felicity L. (10) managed the event’s website that was set up by XiaoYang K. (12), the design team led by Rachel L. (10) and Angie W. (11) designed all the branding materials for TEDx. Ethan L. (12) and Jeremiah H. (10) also played the important role of finding and contacting potential speakers outside of TAS.
Annabel and Isabell G. (12), the executive producer, also worked closely with Evonne in leading the TEDx team and overseeing all the other roles during preparations. On the day of the TEDx event, they took care of stage management, registration, and all the set-up. TAS’s Video Specialist, Mr. Openshaw also came to help with the video recording.
For the entire Saturday afternoon, the Small Theater was packed with people and filled with surprises, laughter, and certainly, many epiphanies.
“I thought TEDx had a very memorable theme this year [that is] to think beyond what is in front of us,” said Jasmine T. (12), an audience member. “Nowadays, many people do not think about what they really want but rather listen to all the voices around them. I really believe that we need to look at the bigger pictures of our lives, just like how the speakers today examine their worlds, so that we don’t lose our motivation for life and forget the goal that we’re striving for.”
For more information about TEDxTaipeiAmericanSchool, please visit:

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