TEDx Mountain View 2021 Speakers Recap


Ella Haney-Foulds

Folding origami to make a crane, learning about how humans think and interact, and getting hooked on a brand new song from MVHS student-run band, 52prime, were all things participants of MVHS’ TEDx 2021 event may have been doing on Friday, Jan 8. Held over Zoom, the event drew students, parents, and teachers together to listen to sixteen different talks and several supplementary videos. Below is a summary of each talk given: 

“A 4th-grader’s guide to politics and fighting racism,” by Ethan Huang: The one topic Americans have come to avoid discussing, politics, is just what Huang, a MVHS senior, gave his TEDx talk about. He presented the importance and impact of political discourse with examples from his experience in school with a conservative classmate and the stubborn divide between them and most everyone else. 

“Does your brain work differently? It’s ok, mine does too,” by Alexis Romero and Braeden Atkinson: Seniors at MVHS, Romero and Atkinson shared their experience with learning disabilities in order to break down stigmas. Romero talked about her success after being diagnosed in hopes of helping others see that success is possible. Atkinson showed how his learning disability has had a positive impact on his life by making up for the lack of reading and writing skills in creativity and ability to focus on certain things deeper. 

“Faith,” by Clara Michaud: Unlike her colleagues, Michaud told her story through a dance performance to The Weeknd’s “Faith.” Michaud’s dance reflected a struggle to find and love oneself in a hopeless and dark period in one’s life. 

Clara Michaud’s “Faith,” viewable on YouTube.

“My bias against confirmation bias,” by Avi Gerber: A senior at MVHS, Gerber gave an approach to overcoming confirmation bias when navigating the confusing process of reading and interpreting the news. He uses reading political news sources as an example, and stresses how qualifications can make for a better interpretation. 

“Dear dark-skinned person,” by Sudhiksha Lingareddy: 15-year-old Lingareddy, who lives in Arizona, gave her talk about colorism, how it has been rooted in society for too long, and it is time to break the cycle. She shared a poem aimed to empower dark-skinned individuals to advocate for their self-confidence. 

“Live for today, don’t schedule for tomorrow,” by Julia Gentin: Balance can be fulfilled when excluding a “being orientation” and treasuring interpersonal relationships. This is a concept discussed in MVHS junior Gentin’s talk exploring how America’s values of efficiency and its focus on time are not necessary to lead a meaningful life. 

“Redefining success for yourself,” by Katherine Wang: As a competitive rhythmic gymnast, MVHS senior Wang has seen firsthand the body image issues in rhythmic gymnastics. In her talk she discusses this and eating disorders that come with it, and how redefining success for oneself in a healthy, happy and ultimately fulfilling way can make a difference in one’s life. 

Desensitization in a digital generation,” by Maggie Trail: As a junior at MVHS, Trail has taken up many new hobbies during quarantine, and realized that there is so much more to explore than what is on her phone. In her talk, Trail discussed the role technology and media play in shaping today’s teens and whether or not desensitization has a negative impact on social and emotional development. 

“Keeping passions close, at a distance,” by Gaurav Chakravarty and Archish Arun: Now seniors, Chakravarty and Arun have worked since freshman year in their band, 52prime, making songs together. In their talk, Chakravarty and Arun discussed the impact the pandemic has had on their music making, including a video supplement with footage of them making their newest song from their bedrooms. They hope that their story will inspire others to overcome their hardships, no matter how big or small. 

Chakravarty and Arun’s joint Talk, centered around their band and the effort to create in 2020. Courtesy of TEDx’ Youtube.

“Opening our mind,” by Izzy Ge: Ge, a multi-talented MVHS senior, gave her talk on how humans think and interact. To understand this deep subject, one which Ge contemplates often, she asked questions to those around her. 

“How to make an impact, from scratch,” by Omri Remez: With his guitar in hand, Remez, a senior at Homestead High School, took the stage ready to discuss how to utilize one’s self to succeed within life situations. He covered the art of perspective and how to make a true impact with only the power of the mind and hands while showing off his guitar skills. One of Remez’s goals is to better his community and the people surrounding him. 

“I’m actually not doing very well,” by Lucy Nelson: Nelson, a MVHS senior, shares her story of attempted suicide and hospital visit, and then the decision to turn things around and make her life better. Nelson shared insight to help others who are struggling with mental health and gave some healthy coping mechanisms for suicidal thoughts and ideations. 

“The best investment every high school student can make today,” by guest speaker Mal Rothstein: Rothstein is the Founder of Learn What Matters, an organization that aims to help high schoolers invest in personal development through coaching, consulting high schools on building strong alumni programs, and providing scholarships. Her talk uncovered the best investment every high schooler can make today. 

“Talking fast and slow: how my left brain stole my right arm,” by guest speaker David Fishman: A versatile, hands-on cloud product and services executive shared his story about having a stroke, losing feeling in his arm and leg, and not being able to talk changed his life. Going from a big job as a tech genius to not being able to talk was a big adjustment for Fishman, even though he eventually was able to talk again. 

“Mistakes we make and the practice of self-forgiveness,” by guest speaker Sonda Frudden: Frudden shared the story of a mistake she made at 16 years old, how she and her friends got in a car accident where the car flipped over and fell down a steep ravine, and how she almost died. In the aftermath of her near-death experience, Frudden, a school counselor in Pacific Grove, talked about the lasting effects of a single mistake. 

Frudden on her youth, mistakes, and forgiveness. Courtesy of TEDx’ Youtube.

“Hey, hey, are YOU okay?” by Tiffanie Lai: Recreation coordinator for the City of Mountain View, Lai talked about the importance of maintaining good mental health, and how it is just as important as physical health. She used an example of a lifeguard, and being in a bad state of mind and stressed out makes you just as incapable of taking life saving measures than a broken arm would.

Any talks not linked are not readily available on TEDx Mountain View High School website as of Jan. 17, 2021.