Sixth annual TEDx focuses on idea of ‘More Than a Number’


Photo by Richard Yu

Written by Amanda Lee

On Jan. 22, the sixth annual Technology Entertainment Design (TEDx) event—centered around the theme “More than a Number”—featured a diverse group of community and student speakers. TEDx co-president senior Giannina Yu says the theme is meant to express to students that they are not just a statistic. “Nowadays, a lot of people are characterized by their grade point average or SAT scores, their ages, their heights or their weights,” Yu said. “Numbers are what define people. When you fill out an application for a driver’s licence, it’s all numbers. We wanted to represent what it means to be more than the statistics that identify you.”

TEDx advisor Eric Ledgerwood echoes Yu’s opinion. “The idea is really to think about uniqueness of people and to think about individuals really as individuals, not just as a collection of people living in the United States, or living in the world,” he said.

The logo for this year’s TEDx conference, a cow, reflects the theme. Co-president senior Justin Kim said that as cows are often branded with numbers, the cow icon represents the idea that people are not statistics. “The cows have little tags with numbers on their ears, so a farmer can track where their cows are,” he said. “Since that’s a number, the goal behind the cow was to say that you’re more than a tag or a number.”

Ledgerwood believes that TEDx is an important event because it provides a way for people to share ideas that may not be emphasized elsewhere. “I think TEDx is really important because it affords an outlet for people who have really great ideas to be able to actually participate in the TED brand without having to try to vie for the very limited number of spots that TED has for their main conferences,” he said. “The idea that a student, like the ones who have performed and actually given talks here at Gunn High School, has done that really just wouldn’t be possible unless you had a TEDx program and I think it would be unlikely that students would get to have their voices heard without TEDx.”

Kim hoped that students who participated felt more confident about themselves and gained the understanding that everyone is represented by more than just a collection of numbers. “We hope that this year we have students leaving the event with a greater sense of self-identity and what they want to do with their futures, not necessarily going by what the rules are or what the numbers tell you to do,” he said. Speakers’ individual topics at the conference ranged from anti-bullying and the importance of design thinking to following passions and planning for the future.

To view previous years’ photos and videos, visit for more information.