TEDx Charlottesville

Mr. Parker Kirwan and his Honors World Literature students attended the TEDx series in Charlottesville on Friday, November 3. The students were Xavier Kane, Dhruv Mehrotra, Shaun Anderson, Isaac Soifer, Ward Carroll, Zain Bankwalla, Chris Rogers, Caleb Werner, Charlie King and Henry Robinson.

“I wanted to take the boys to this series so they could listen to some local speakers here in the Charlottesville community,” explains Mr. Kirwan who adds: “Especially after the events of August 12th, it was important for the boys to understand the issues going on nearby and to hear what people think of these events.” He said that they do a lot of class discussions on current issues and felt this was a great opportunity for them to hear from different voices. This year’s speakers included musicians, social activists, educators and writers.

In a previous class, the students had watched a TED talk and then wrote an analytical paper on the overall message and theme. In the spring trimester, the students will come up with their own version of a TED talk that they will present to the class. “By attending this event, it gave the students a firsthand experience of what the talks look like, how they are structured, and how to get their point across,” says Mr. Kirwan. The boys were able to identify which speeches were strong and why, and which speeches lacked a clear message and connection to the audience. 

“With this event being an annual thing, I hope to bring students each year,” says Mr. Kirwan. 

TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a nonprofit organization devoted to “ideas worth spreading.” TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Al Gore, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

At the TEDx event, the students listened to a number of speakers and performers through video and live presentation. The talks are designed to spark a discussion and connection in a small group setting. Since 2013, TEDx Charlottesville has been independently organized and executed, and has brought an awareness of the varied talent, creativity and innovation found here in Charlottesville, Virginia.