Over a dozen First State youth will share their stories this weekend at the first ever youth TEDx Wilmington event – with the theme “Agents of Change.”
Mt. Pleasant 11th grader Alphina Kamara said she felt her age was holding her back from pursuing impactful endeavors until she participated in a GripTape project, where she researched the root causes of homelessness. Ursuline 11th grader Yara Awad wondered what the American Dream would look like for her generation, and how it might be different than her father's generation.
"For me, the American Dream is the fact we have the ability to change what we believe needs changing," Awad said.
These are just a couple of the topics youth will speak about Sunday at Ursuline Academy's TEDx youth event.
Tatnall 11th grader Chase Reid is passionate about machine learning – a topic he’ll explore in his TED talk. Reid has researched the evolution of artificial intelligence and will explore whether or not machines will eventually just replace humans – or enhance them. His conclusion?
“Yes they will replace us – and yes they will eventually be able to do what we can do but better, faster and without the emotional strings attached," Reid. "But at the same time, them replacing us will allow us to explore what our heart captivates us to do and allow us to transcend into a new plane of understanding, knowledge and curiosity and explore what it means to be human.”
Tatnall 9th grader Elijah Jones’ talk focuses on school diversity.
As an African American student, Jones said both public and private schools lack diversity – and diverse experiences. It’s something he’s seen first hand – transitioning from a public middle school to a private high school.
“I feel like we have to know about race relations and division, historical division between races and just try to learn from that," Jones said. "And really immerse ourselves in multicultural situations.”
Ursuline sophomore Jane Lyons will center her talk on prison re-entry programs, drawing on the personal experience of on an old neighbor who moved from Greenville to Wilmington. Lyons wanted to help him re-enter the community after was arrested for dealing drugs and sent to Ferris School.
“Really this is a huge problem because as soon as they have this mark on their record – as soon as this incarceration is put on their record – everyone sorts of writes them off.”
Lyons and her brother co-founded “Youth Overcoming Obstacles” – and raised money to provide positive experiences for those exiting Ferris.
Students and staff from four First State high schools – Ursuline, Mt. Pleasant High School, Tatnall, Delcastle - were chosen from a large pool of applicants.
The TEDx Youth event will run from 10 am – 5 pm Sunday.