Sahar Punjwani is a creative, funny and caring twelve-year-old girl. Her attitude towards life is simple: “Live life; don’t just exist.” Sahar is passionate about music tennis, and writing. Most of all, she enjoys biology and hopes to be a neurosurgeon when she grows up. A few years ago, Sahar met a lovable girl with Autism who gave her the inspiration for this TED talk. She hopes to spread an important message to the world through her talk: “Always try to see the deeper meaning of life!”
Henry Durning is a fun and exciting kid. Before he moved to Texas, he lived at a boarding school in Rhode Island. Now, Henry is in 6th grade at a private school called Kinkaid School. His parents are both teachers at Kinkaid; that is one of the reasons he wants to be a teacher when he grows up. He also enjoys learning and helping others. Henry is very into soccer and has played since he was four. He is also very good at singing. In fact, his tour choir sang at the Houston Symphony, the rodeo, and France! Henry has been very busy lately, which gave him the inspiration to do a Tedx talk about balanced schedules.
Sophia Ghauri is 13 years old and the oldest of three children. Her hobbies are cooking, gardening, and art. She loves solving problems and riddles, and when she grows up, she hopes to be an ophthalmologist. Sophia has known from a young age that she was different. Because of her genetics, she had a high chance of having a learning disability. It turns out she has ADHD and Dyslexia. However, that doesn’t stop her from pursuing new passions. Sophia is now trying to do something she never thought she could do: write. She’s currently working on a novel called The Secrets of Dregovia. She says, “Because of my dyslexia, my words are art.” Her inspiration for this Ted talk didn’t come from one event, but it came from her entire life.
Hello, I’m Emely Sagastizado. As a junior at Chinquapin Preparatory School, I was given the challenge to create a project that would benefit someone other than myself. Now, when I first started brainstorming, I attempted to benefit a large community, but we all know how hard that can be. After days of thinking, I realized, it’s not about the number of people you help or who you help, but it’s the time you take to help that matters. My parents moved to Houston, Texas from El Salvador at a young age. Here, they raised my two younger siblings and me. Including my aunts, uncles and cousins, my small family of five increases to about one hundred family members. We are a loving, adventurous bunch. I have been blessed to have the family that I do. With the support and motivation from my parents, I was given the privilege to attend Chinquapin Preparatory School, where I met an amazing group of people, and the reason why I am presenting to you all here today.
Hello! My name is Vanessa Salgado and I am 16 years old; I am a junior in high school. I love dancing and doing extra-curricular activities such as Speech and Debate and Performance Arts. The sports I participate in include: cross country, volleyball, and basketball. I am currently the treasurer for my Interact group and a founding member of GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance). I always have loved school and I honestly feel that everyone in the world should be allowed to get an education. My parents are both Mexican-born nationals and came to this country in search of a better life for themselves and my three older siblings. My parents have only received a second grade education but have now learned English and basic arithmetic. My eldest brother owns a construction company; my sister lives in England and has a Bachelor’s in Business Administration. My elder brother is currently deployed. I have lived in Texas for my entire life and I love traveling outside the state and the country.
My name is Thomas Su. I am currently a junior at the Chinquapin College Preparatory School. My parents are from Vietnam; however, I am a Texan born-and-bred. Since my parents came to the United States as refugees, I was born knowing what poor really meant. In my early childhood, I remember living in a run-down apartment here in Houston. But as I got older, things ephemerally improved in my life. I moved into a bigger and nicer home, and while I was in that home, I also made lots of friends in elementary school that carried with me even up until now. But my dad was never home; he was always going out and always coming home drunk. In short, he was never involved in my life. Later, when the economy collapsed, so did my family life. My parents separated, I moved from my childhood home, and from that point, it was my older brother, my mom, and I. We moved constantly, renting rooms with friends, and with each move, my family slowly began to deteriorate; these events had a major and sometimes negative impact on my life. But two years ago, I accepted the Lord as my God and Savior, and I realized that even though my life may not have started out the best, it’s better to work on the things that I can change instead of dwelling on the things that I can’t. I love Ultimate Frisbee, hiking, camping, and serving my community. Most importantly, I aspire to become a U.S. Army Ranger.
The oldest speaker from Duchesne Academy's Middle School, Madison Romo, has created a compelling speech about individuality. Madison has a very busy schedule consisting of speech tournaments, field hockey games and debate tournaments. Madison spends her summers at Duke TIP which is a summer camp for exceptional students. These camps are highlights of her year which is why it makes sense that her TED talk would include many stories about that camp. She learned many valuable lessons there and would like to share them with you!
Nicole Sagarnaga is 12 years old and is the oldest of two children. She loves to bake, play field hockey, and read. She wants to be a writer when she grows up. She is very outgoing and loves music. She has been going to Duchesne since fifth grade and spent the rest of her life at Post Oak School. She has been trying to get into TED for the past year and finally got in.
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Shiraz Ghauri was born in Garden Grove, California on February 28. After Kindergarten Shiraz, and his family moved to Karachi, Pakistan. There he pursued his education at the Karachi American School, which is one of the three International schools in Pakistan. Because of his father being a politician he was able to discuss phenomena’s like globalization with family and other experienced leaders. After completing 9th grade, his father decided to move him to Houston, Texas where he is further pursuing his education at the Post Oak High School.
My name is Isabella Neblett, and I am 14 years old. I was born at St. Luke's hospital in Houston, Texas. Currently, I am a freshman at the Post Oak High School. Art is something of much beauty because of the fact that it allows you to express yourself in a wide variety of means. I have loved art since I was but a mere child awkwardly trying to utilize the odd tool known as a pencil. As the years passed, I developed a love for ink on paper. I turned to art when I was bullied throughout my childhood. Art allowed me to help myself as well as to expand my own knowledge of who I am. LGBTQ bullying means a lot to me because, in my own way, I understand what those people go through every day. Bullying is a horrid occurrence in daily school life and to be bullied for ones sexuality is beyond awful. It's intolerable. As a subject to bullying, I can say that it does more damage than good. The only good thing I got out of it was discovering a piece of myself that formed with this bullying. It was stronger, but broken. At my school, bullying does not exist and I hope I can share that mindset when I make my TEDxYouth talk.
Emma's passions are creative writing (a LOT), reading awesome books, and fighting for everything she believes in. This is her second time doing TEDx, and she's glad to be back! Emma's almost-100-page story is now roughly 160 pages, not counting all her notes and the writing she has for the next two stories in her trilogy. She has also started several other series of stories and really needs to focus on one... Emma has decided to be a writer, which was probably obvious to everyone except her, and she stubbornly refuses to grow up.
Hello, my name is Maddi Speed. I am currently in the 8th grade and attend Post Oak Montessori, where I have been going since the age of three. I have one older brother, a dog named Molly and a guinea pig named Oliver. My hobbies include reading, baking, sleeping, fangirling over my favorite shows, (“Once Upon a Time”, “The Big Bang Theory”, “Sherlock”, “House”, “The IT Crowd”…), being completely and totally insane with my friends, and basically anything that involves animals and/or Harry Potter. My family is fairly large and close, with nine people consisting of my household of four, two grandparents, one cousin, one aunt, and one crazy uncle, plus a lot of dysfunctional cats. We meet every few days for dog walks, birthdays, family move nights, or just random get-togethers. I hope you enjoy the presentation.
Hae Song Lee
Hae Seong is a Freshman at Trinity Valley School. Due to his global background, he has developed a special interest in international relations, international business, and politics. These interests have led him to take part in the TVS debate team, school government, as the freshman class president, and this TEDx Talk. He enjoys reading news articles, practicing for debate tournaments, playing piano, and playing volleyball in his free time. He has a desire to become the South Korean ambassador to the United States of America to improve, facilitate, and understand the relations, discussions, and culture between various countries.
Georgia McMayon, nice, beautiful, talented, charismatic, are all words that her friends at Duchesne would use to describe her. Georgia is 10 years old. She is going to talk about singing and how it relaxes her, and she is going to sing a song from the musical Wicked. She likes to do cheerleading, and she enjoys spending time with her best friends. She is in fifth grade and her favorite subject is music. When she grows up she would like to be a singer. Before going to Duchesne she went to Southampton Montessori.
Jorge is a 17-year old student at Chinquapin Prep. He loves the outdoors and has participated in outdoor programs. He is currently his junior class representative. He is outgoing, fun, friendly and a great leader. One of his many interests includes fitness. He wants to share his passion and help others become healthy and fit.
''Darcy Stack is a sophomore at Trinity Valley School. She adores writing, philosophy, psychology, and science. She is the President and founder of TVS's Writer's Club. Along with this, she is a part of the Thalia staff which is the TVS upper school literary magazine that she has been published in numerous times. She is also a member of Third Wavers, a club dedicated to examining the sociology and history of women in society, and she is an officer of Educator's Club. With all this, she is a member of Book Club and has won both a Gold and Silver Key for poetry in The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards which is presented by The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. She has the vast intention and ultimate goal of causing others some happiness in life even if she isn't recognized or remembered for it. She knows that, at times, the people who do the greatest things are unknown. She doesn't mind this and thinks this is somehow beautiful.''
Tom is an 8th grader at Trinity Valley School in Fort Worth. He enjoys reading, and is currently caught up in Veronica Roth’s Divergent series. Tom also loves to spend time outside, playing either tennis or soccer, sometimes with his dog, Chuck.
Jae Haeng Rhee
Jae Rhee is a freshman at Trinity Valley School. He is interested in philosophy and art and likes to draw weird cartoons that make no one laugh but himself. From his early years, he liked to communicate with others through drawings. This enabled him to realize the power images and cartoons possess, which enabled him to give this talk.
Devon Cash is a senior at Episcopal High School. As an active participant in student government, Devon has served on Student Council throughout his high school career, culminating with his election as Student Body President. Reflective of this, Devon is heavily involved in various aspects of student life at Episcopal, including the service organization, Students of Service, and the culture club, Diversity in Action. He is also a student-athlete. Recognized as an Outstanding Participant for the 2012 PSAT/NMSQT, Devon is a member of National Honors Society. Also, as a team captain of the football team, Devon was recently recognized as an Xfinity Scholar-Athlete.