x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Open Minds, Open Doors

This event occurred on
December 7, 2012
8:00am - 1:30pm EST
(UTC -5hrs)
Cape Elizabeth, ME
United States

TEDxYouth@CEHS aims to inspire, encourage, motivate and awaken the Junior and Senior classes in preparation for their future. This will feature speakers from diverse backgrounds and will give students of CEHS a new perspective on life. This program is designed to open minds and open doors.

In May of 2012, the School Board of the town of Cape Elizabeth adopted a new mission statement to reflect the values, vision, and mission of the town's school system. The juniors and seniors of Cape Elizabeth high school selected this mission statement, "Cape schools open minds and open doors" as the theme for the TEDxYouth@CEHS event as a means of highlighting the significance and meaning of the statement and its connection to their school community. The full statement reads as follows:

CAPE Schools open minds and open doors.

We empower students with the academic, personal, and social
knowledge and skills needed to build fulfilling and engaged

Community: We value the connections among our school, local, and global
communities that foster meaningful participation in a dynamic and diverse world.

Academics: We value rich and varied learning experiences that support critical
thinking, perseverance, effective communication, and independent and collaborative work inside and outside of the classroom.

Passion: We value personal investment in learning in an environment that
nourishes joy and creativity, protects risk-taking, and cultivates individual

Ethics: We value decision-making and actions guided by the principles of personal integrity, empathy, responsibility, and respect for self and others.

Cape Elizabeth High School
345 Ocean House Road
Cape Elizabeth, ME, 04107
United States
Event type:
Youth (What is this?)
See more ­T­E­Dx­Youth@­C­E­H­S events


Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Kerem Durdag

Mr. Durdag is a member of his peer group of technology executives. He is currently CEO of Biovation ( and was previously the Director of Sales and Marketing of SenGenuity, a division of Vectron International responsible for global sales, marketing and product management initiatives. Prior to joining SenGenuity, he was the CEO of BiODE, and eventually led the company to an acquisition event by Vectron (, part of the Dover Group of companies. He was the past Chief Technical Officer for STEAG HamaTech, Inc., and Engineering Manager at Conceptronic; both public companies world leaders in high-tech capital equipment design and manufacture in the semiconductor and electronics markets. He has designed high tech and proprietary technologies for rapid commercialization and is a holder of several patents. He has presented and been published in numerous conferences, trade magazines and peer reviewed journals. He is on the Board of Directors for Maine Center for Enterprise Development ( and also serves on the Boards of two technology based companies. Additionally, he is the Vice Chair of the Advisory Council for University of Southern Maine ASET ( He has also served on the Boards of several non-profits and is also the founder of an event targeted to encourage entrepreneurship for high school and college students in Maine ( Mr. Durdag is also a published essayist, poet ( and past editor of poetry magazines. He received his B.Sc (Applied Physics) from St. John’s University (MN) and M.Sc (Mechanical Engineering) from University of New Hampshire.

Libby Hoffman

Libby believes that the very individuals and communities most directly affected by war and violence should be the ones to lead their own rebuilding process after war—that the solutions to a community’s problems, even when that community has been devastated by war and poverty, exist within the community itself. Mobilizing them doesn’t require outside experts swooping in telling people what to do (or worse – doing it for them), but instead comes from creating the space for the already existing wisdom and expertise to emerge and grow. And when this localized wisdom is allowed to lead, the result can yield stories and lessons of global significance, stories which can inspire transformative thought and action even in very different kinds of settings. That’s the impetus behind Libby’s work at Catalyst for Peace, the Portland, Maine-based private foundation she founded and has led since 2003. Catalyst’s full focus now is on Fambul Tok (which means “family talk” in Krio), the program Libby helped start in 2007 with renowned Sierra Leonean human rights activist John Caulker. Fambul Tok brings victims and perpetrators from Sierra Leone’s brutal 11-year civil war together for the first time in village-level, tradition-based ceremonies of truth-telling, apology and forgiveness. In the process, Fambul Tok reknits the war-torn community fabric, helping heal the wounds of war and build the foundations for sustainable peace and development. Now an international organization, Fambul Tok International has its corporate headquarters in Portland, where Libby serves as president, and it’s global program headquarters in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Libby produced the award-winning documentary film, Fambul Tok, and is the lead author of the companion book of the same name (published by Umbrage Editions), both released in 2011. Her work now focuses on finding ways to help the world engage with the lessons of justice, forgiveness, and community restoration embodied by Fambul Tok.

Alan Lishness

Alan Lishness serves as Chief Innovation Officer for the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, where he has been employed since 1988. His responsibilities include the design, funding and implementation of innovative programs that utilize computing and communications technologies to engage middle-school students and build learning communities. Since 1993, he has served as a Principal Investigator for programs funded by NASA, NOAA and the U.S. Department of Commerce, and presently serves as a Co-investigator for a research project in Coupled Natural and Human Systems funded by the National Science Foundation. He is particularly interested in working with others to design and implement new methods and practices that engage Maine students in critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration and communications. His thinking is informed by current educational practice in Finland, a country that bears startling similarities to Maine. Teachers there are well prepared to teach, held in high professional esteem and granted autonomy in their classrooms. Finnish students typically outperform their peers from thirty-three other countries in reading, mathematics and science.

Raphael DiLuzio

Raphael Diluzio is a serial creative artist, entrepreneur and professor. He is currently developing two start-ups, creating a new program in Design Science at USM, while still maintaining his studio practice. His art is centered in visual image making, primarily in the relation between traditional studio art and digital time-based media. His interest lies in reconnecting a historical praxis in painting with technology. The result is live digital performances, time-based projected paintings, installation, and visualization. Raphael actively writes and publishes his theories on, Creative Intelligence, Design Science, working in a time-based medium as well as critically examining how these emerging media affect our culture. His newest work will be on display at the exhibition, “Light, Motion, Sound,” opening at the Ogunquit Museum on May 5th, 2012. He currently resides in Maine.

Emilia Dahlin

In April of 2009, Emilia released her awaited forthcoming CD, played a coveted opening slot for Ani DiFranco and in the peak of a booming music career left almost everything (work, house, home, and beloved dog) to embark on a year-long global journey of service and learning that would focus her interests in emergent and ancient trends in regenerative culture, and reconnect her to her craft. Over eleven months, she and an intergenerational team of seven visited places and communities in the world that are exploring, experimenting with, and modeling the best practices of ecologically compatible technologies and societal models that combine the extraordinary gifts of contemporary innovation with the wisdom of and practice of ancient minds and old world communities. Throughout this time, music became the shared language that allowed Emilia to connect and collaborate with people of all cultures, illuminating its power to connect and move individuals and masses. Emilia traveled to the favelas of Sao Paolo where she was most inspired by the use of music as a catalyst for social change. There, she began a collaboration project that has inspired her to experiment with music as a tool for connection within her own community, fostering cross-cultural exchange though a common medium. A sometimes quirky, always eloquent songwriter, Emilia’s experience and knack for tapping into the human condition through songs crafted from mesmerizing stories have proven to capture audiences of all ages. Blending dynamic jazz vocals and rootsy guitar work, with an element of stealth, she’s able to deliver light on pressing social and environmental conditions with subtlety and creativity.

Steve Wessler

Steve Wessler is the Executive Director for the Center for Preventing Hate, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing and responding to bias, harassment and violence by providing education and advocacy in schools, colleges, government agencies, nonprofit organizations and communities. A graduate of Harvard College and Boston University School of Law, Wessler practiced law for more than 22 years. At the Maine Attorney General’s Office, Wessler developed and directed the Civil Rights Unit before creating the Center in 1999. Wessler has received recognition for his work in civil rights from GLAD (Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders), the Maine Education Association, the Maine Children’s Alliance, the Maine Civil Liberties Union, the Portland Branch of the NAACP, the Jewish Federation of Southern Maine and the Maine Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance. Wessler is currently a member of the faculty at the University of Southern Maine. He is the author of The Respectful School and a number of articles, reports and other publications focusing on hate crimes and prevention.

Claire Hirschmann

Claire Hirschmann is co-founder of The Field Academy, based in Portland, Maine. In 1996, Claire and her parents spent five months exploring Europe in a VW camper. Her literature course was a study of classic abandoned texts from old bookstores. History class was an examination of surroundings as she explored Olympia, World War I trenches, Auschwitz, Dachau, and the site of the Berlin Wall. Social studies was an immersion in conversation and observation as she talked to a Hungarian peasant about transition from Communism, lived with a rural Swedish family, and watched devout pilgrims celebrate at the Camino de Santiago. Claire learned what it felt like to be sparked by something, to feel the prick of desire to learn something more. Some of the best learning happened at the most unexpected moments, and some of the best teaching came from the most unlikely people. That experience led to her devotion to learning, adventuring, and leading. At Yale University, she was involved in Community Health Educators with high school students and co-directed the Freshman Outdoor Orientation Trips. After Yale, Claire worked at a dude ranch; spent several months in the National Outdoor Leadership School’s Outdoor Education semester; and apprenticed at the High Mountain Institute in Leadville, Colorado. She also spent two years as a teacher and one year as the Academic Program Director at the Traveling School. Claire has a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and studied citizenship at the Tufts Summer Institute of Civic Studies.

Jean Maginnis

Five years ago, when riding her bike near the oil tank “farm” in South Portland, Jean Maginnis, Executive Director and Founder of the Maine Center for Creativity, didn’t see industrial clutter, she saw the world’s largest blank canvas ready for an artist’s touch. Thus was born the idea for Art All Around™ project, an international design competition created to put Maine on the map for creativity and innovation. Art All Around™, which received 560 proposals from 80 countries to paint art on the above ground storage tanks owned by Sprague Portland, is the largest public art painting project in the world and the first public art project planned with satellite view in mind. In addition to her work on Art All Around™, as E.D. of the Maine Center for Creativity, Ms. Maginnis is responsible for creating professional development programs to support creative industries and future growth of creativity here in Maine. Recently, her organization was presented with a special award for Creative Enterprise by the advertising club of Maine. In 2011, Jean was asked to speak at the National American for the Arts Convention in San Diego and in New York City at Lincoln Center Institute for the Imagination Conversation initiative. She lives in South Portland, is married and has two sons.

Matthew Braun

Matthew Braun is a 2008 graduate of Cape Elizabeth High School. He played on the tennis team and was a strong student, particularly in science and math. Matt is now a student at the University of Southern Maine, where he is majoring in Biology. While at USM, Matt has twice participated in whale studies on research vessels in the Gulf of Mexico. Matt is planning to become a doctor.

Fritz Grobe

Fritz is one of the founders of Eepybird. From their first online video featuring the explosive combination of Coke and Mentos that Advertising Age called the most important commercial content of the year, to their viral campaigns for OfficeMax, ABC Family, and more, EepyBird’s videos have been seen over 150 million times. EepyBird has received four Webby Awards, two Emmy nominations, and was voted “Game Changer of the Decade” on EepyBird’s founders, Fritz Grobe and Stephen Voltz, have appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman (twice), Ellen, The Today Show, Mythbusters, and more. They have performed in Las Vegas, New York, Paris, London, and Istanbul. Fritz studied mathematics at Yale University until he dropped out of school to become an award-winning circus performer.

Zoe Weil

Zoe Weil is the co-founder and president of the Institute for Humane Education ( and is considered a pioneer in the comprehensive humane education movement, which provides people with the knowledge, tools, and motivation to be conscientious choicemakers and engaged changemakers for a better world. Zoe created the first Master of Education and Certificate Program in Humane Education in the U.S. covering the interconnected issues of human rights, environmental preservation, and animal protection. She has also created acclaimed online programs and leads workshops and speaks at universities, conferences, and events across the U.S. and Canada. She has taught tens of thousands students through her innovative school presentations, and has trained several thousand teachers through her workshops and programs. Zoe’s most recent book, Most Good, Least Harm: A Simple Principle for a Better World and Meaningful Life, won the 2010 Nautilus silver medal in sustainability and green values. She is the author of several other books including Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times for parents; The Power and Promise of Humane Education for educators; and Claude and Medea: The Hellburn Dogs, winner of the Moonbeam gold medal in juvenile fiction, which follows the exploits of two seventh graders who become clandestine activists in New York City, righting wrongs where they find them. Zoe received a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and a Master of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania.

Piper Otterbein

Piper Otterbein is a senior at Cape Elizabeth High School.  Piper was born in New York, but she has lived in Cape Elizabeth for the past eleven years.  When Piper was in first grade, she was diagnosed with a learning disability.  While Piper struggled throughout elementary school, it was not until 7th grade that this disability was identified as dyslexia.  Piper and her family spent a great deal of time and resources trying to fix her dyslexia; during her middle school years, Piper spent countless hours after school in tutoring programs.  Although she was determined to be successful in school, work took a long time to complete, and she frequently found herself frustrated and exhausted.  When Piper entered high school, she had a revelation; rather than focusing all of her energy on the challenges in her life, she decided to alter her outlook and focus instead on her strengths.  While she remained a conscientious student, Piper threw herself into what she loved most: the arts, event organizing, and community involvement.  Today, Piper has a strong presence in the CEHS community.  She juggles painting, ceramics, and drawing with her involvement in student council, SEED, the planning of the TEDx youth conference at CEHS, and her part-time jobs working in a furniture store and babysitting.  All of Piper’s talent and hard work has paid off; next fall, she will be attending the Savannah College of Art and Design, where she will study interior design and accessory design.

Organizing team


Portland, ME, United States


Portland, ME, United States
  • Chelsey Whynot
  • Isabel Johnston
  • Abby Donnelly
  • Kim Connell
  • Lauren Tarantino
  • Mark Pendarvis
  • Mary Townsend
  • Sally Newhall
  • Sam Earnshaw
  • Sara Lennon
  • Spencer Sisselman
  • Austin Andrews
  • Nick Shedd
  • Mark Dvorozniak
  • Sally Newhall
  • Zach Culver
  • Ginger Raspiller
  • Jeff Shedd
  • Zach Hindall
  • Alex Johnson
  • Brent Staples
  • Amanda Barnett
  • Meaghan Monaghan