Students captivated by motivational speeches

Story by Brennan Stone, Business Manager

The lights in the auditorium dimmed down as the clock approached 10. Host Leo Merrick energetically runs on stage and into the spotlight. East Meck’s second annual TEDx event has officially started.


TED is an organization that spreads ideas through speech. TEDx however is an independently organized TED event. Either way the organization uses intriguing speeches in order to center the audience’s viewpoint around one topic.


The second annual East Mecklenburg TEDx event went off without a hitch. On Fri. Mar 24, 100 students, parents and faculty members gathered to watch 11 TED style talks performed by students and guests. The event, which was hosted by Merrick, was organized by senior Sara Holley. This year’s theme was MotivaTED and each talk centered around motivation. There was also five performances by Isaiah Ford, Morgan Buffington, the TED Hot Chili Peppers, Aarushi Venkatakrishnan and Hnin Yu


Sophomore Aarushi Venkatakrishnan performed a traditional Indian dance during the TEDx event. “It was great to perform to show people what I do,” she said. “A lot of people have seen American dance but not a lot of people have seen Indian dance. It was great to bring a global aspect to the event.”


Spectator and sophomore Lily Rodriguez said the talks were really good. The most powerful talks, according to Rodriguez, were Underlying causes of STEM gender gap by senior Iman von Briesen, Defeating Apathy by senior Joanna Rose and The Value of Disruption by guest speaker Ms. Janeen Bryant. “ I didn’t want these speeches to end,” she said. “ They were all so moving.”


Senior Joanna Rose spoke about how motivation comes from defeating apathy. Rose shared a story of her lack of motivation in freshman year and how she overcame apathy, which left many people feeling inspired. “[My mom] is my inspiration” she said. “She motivates me to do better.”


Plans for a third annual TEDx event are already in motion. Since lead organizer Sara Holley will be graduating this year, she plans to pass her duties to a past TEDx speaker. This year’s event was very successful, which only adds excitement to next year’s event.