The Student News Site of Henry M. Gunn High School

The Oracle

The Student News Site of Henry M. Gunn High School

The Oracle

The Student News Site of Henry M. Gunn High School

The Oracle

Speakers take ‘A Closer Look’ at annual TEDxGunnHighSchool conference

On Jan. 22, TEDxGunnHighSchool Club hosted its 14th annual conference in Spangenberg Theater. The student-run event featured 10 speakers, club performances, audience activities, and student- and TED-produced short films. 

This year’s theme, chosen by TEDx club members, was “A Closer Look.” Speakers — including staff, students and other community members — delved into the nuances of music, puzzles, culture and more.

TEDxGunnHighSchool was independently organized under license from the nonprofit organization TED, which organizes talks around the world devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading.” Throughout the school year, the TEDxGunnHighSchool Club’s five committees plan and rehearse the conference, developing the theme, recruiting and working with speakers, publicizing the event, fundraising, and communicating with outside contacts, such as the Gunn stage tech department. 

Co-Head of Speakers junior Tanush Aggarwal led the speakers committee in recruiting and auditioning potential orators. After selecting the final students and adults, he supported them as they crafted and edited their speeches. During this process, Aggarwal found that time constraints and shifting dynamics made communicating with non-student speakers difficult. 

“With adults, it’s not only harder to find them and get them to show interest and set up meetings with them, but we also have to deal with them in a different manner than we do with students,” he said. “It’s a bit more professional and the adult has more control over their speech than with student speakers.” 

This year, social studies teacher and first-time speaker Benjamin Beresford drew on his decadeslong research on jazz in the Soviet Union in his talk, “The Notes in Your Solo: Jazz, the USSR, and the Power of Choices.” While Beresford unraveled a complex topic in his speech, he hoped to provide a takeaway that anyone, regardless of their level of historical knowledge, could understand. 

“The takeaway is for people to think critically about the choices that they make, and not just about the impact of their choices but what their choices say about who they are,” he said. “It would be great for people to come away from this being a little bit more reflective about that and the power of their choices.” 

Beresford’s speech stood out to junior Lia O’Donovan, who enjoyed the unique combination of topics he discussed. 

“I found it super interesting how you could combine jazz with the USSR, and how the principles are very contradictory but somehow also complementary,” she said. 

Freshman Eli Levy attended the conference in hopes of learning something new and supporting his older brother, Associated Student Body president senior Nathan Levy, who gave a speech on music and leadership.  

“It was really fun to see him speak because it let me see a new side of him,” he said. “It’s not like just talking to a friend or your brother when you’re giving a speech, as it let me see more of his leadership side. It was very fun and playful, it was this whole experience, especially with the picture he included of us when I was 3.” 

Talks aside, Eli Levy particularly enjoyed the interactive session hosted by Joy Dance Club. 

“In the beginning it just seemed like two people dancing, but by the end it was everyone in the entire theater dancing along with each other, and when I had been sitting down for two hours it really got my energy going,” he said.  

Similarly, O’Donovan appreciated senior Pablo Schettino’s film “Dear Mexico,” shown in between The Oracle Editor-in-Chief senior Amann Mahajan’s and Nathan Levy’s speeches. In the film, Schettino reflected on his connection to his culture.

“It added a perspective to moving, family and culture that I didn’t really see before,” she said. 

Those unable to attend the conference on Monday will soon be able to access this year’s talk on the TEDxGunnHighSchool website.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Oracle
$250
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Henry M. Gunn High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

Navigate Left
Navigate Right
About the Contributors
Safina Syed, Features Editor
Senior Safina Syed is a features editor and SEC liaison for The Oracle and has been on staff since January 2021. When she's not reporting, you can find her listening to music, reading and cooking.
Benjamin Qian, Photographer
Senior Benjamin Qian is a freelance photographer for The Oracle. In his free time, he enjoys a variety of activities like digital photography, videography, and what is a personally considered healthy amount of Frank Ocean.
Donate to The Oracle
$250
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Oracle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *