Jacob Schmidt is a senior at Metro Academic and Classical High school in St. Louis, Missouri. He is the second of six children. He lobbies for Planned Parenthood through the Teenagers for Sexual Health program, and has a weekend job keeping City Garden clean. He plays center defense for the Metro soccer team and was elected team captain as a junior. The summer of 2012 he envisioned a project that aimed to bring art to urban environments. He raised and managed over $4,000 dollars through a Kickstarter campaign, organized a team of 25 artists, and got the city’s cooperation to paint 28 construction dumpsters. Jacob was interviewed by Fox, NBC, Stltoday.com, and had articles in two local newspapers. This project was successful in bringing vibrant colors and beautiful designs to the streets of St. Louis, as well as energizing city officials, local artists, and raising international awareness. Jacob is passionate about soccer, art, and the search for knowledge. He plans to attend college in the fall and continue beautifying urban environments.
Wade Colwell-Sandoval is a performance and teaching artist who engages communities as a Creative Catalyst for Leadership and Learning. Wade is the Co-Founder of the educational hip hop program Funkamentalz and Co-Creator of the production "Borderless," with New Wilderness Project. Since graduating as an honors athlete from Stanford University in 1992, Wade has focused on producing inspirational arts experiences for youth and educators. Wade develops programs (Spectrum of Life, Express Yourself), designs curriculum (Wisdomseekers, Nican Tlaca/ Abya Yala Studies), coordinates conferences (Youth Action Project/White Privilege Conference, Leaders of P.E.A.C.E.), and performs as an MC/Spoken Word artist. Raised in a family tradition of socially-minded artists which include his grandfather Anthony Quinn (actor), mother Catalina (painter), and father Paul (songwriter), Wade is dedicated to the legacy of imagining and discovering the functional potential of creative expression. Some of Wade's keynote topics include Mixed-Heritage People: From Anomaly to Awakening and The MC as a Music Catalyst for Positive Change. For more information, visit Wade's website: www.wadeintheworld.com
Yadira De La Riva is an artist/educator from El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz and was an intern for Theater of the Oppressed in Brazil in 2002. She has taught theater workshops for young people in California, New York, Mexico, Brazil and Cuba. Yadira recently obtained her Master’s Degree from NYU: Gallatin School of Individualized Study in Artivism: Performance Art as a means of Cultural Resistance. “One Journey: Stitching Stories Across the Mexican ‘American’ Border” was performed as part of Emerging Identities Solo Performance Collaborative; Emerging Artist Theater: One Woman Standing Theater Festival; and Gallatin’s Master’s Thesis Showcase in Spring 2010 in New York. This year begins the tour to California, Illinois, Georgia and Wisconsin among other states to be announced. Yadira is an intellectually fierce and multi-‐faceted performer whose passion is to create/perform/produce performances that represent and empower marginalized voices nationally and internationally. http://www.yadiradelariva.com
Keith Jensen is a creative director in the advertising industry, an artist, photographer, and adjunct college instructor. He leaves original paintings along the streets of New York for people to find and keep for free. A sign attached to the paintings says “FREE ART. If having this art will make your day better, then it’s yours.” At least one painting per week is left on the streets and can be found by following @paintpenart on Twitter. For as long as the free art project lasts, Keith will not accept any offers for commissioned artwork. The project is a way of giving back to the community and making strangers’ day just a little bit better. Keith’s portfolio website featuring advertising, art, and photography is www.ClearlyK.com
Laura Sjogren (show-grin) is a fashion designer living in NYC. Since graduating from the University of Cincinnati, Laura has opened an art gallery, pursued a childrenswear-focused career, and designed costumes for bands and a ballet. Her body of work is always inflected with a sense of joy, humor, and irreverence. Laura is currently studying improv comedy at the renowned Upright Citizens Brigade. She loves this new challenge as it teaches, equally in life as on the stage, the importance of listening to others, saying yes to experiences, and paying attention to your world. Laura also has a great love of music and can be found singing any chance she gets. Her love of music and pursuit of fun led her to develop the class “How to Kill at Karaoke”, a popular lecture offered through the indie learning center, The Brooklyn Brainery. The class covers such crucial topics as choosing the right song for you, getting over stage fright, and choosing the right karaoke stance. Laura’s current favorite song to sing at karaoke is “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke. Laura believes in the importance of continuing to learn all your life. Learn more about Laura at http://laurasjogren.tumblr.com
Bree Person is a senior at Washington Irving High School in New York City. She is an aspiring journalist, currently participating in WNYC’s Radio Rookies, a program that teaches young people how to produce their own radio stories. Bree is reporting on her battle with Sickle Cell Anemia, and hopes to bring more awareness to this disease. She is also a Y-Scholar at the McBurney YMCA, a program that builds leadership skills and prepares high school students for college. In all her aspirations Bree hopes to be a successful and strong voice in the multimedia world.
The School's Concert Choir, led by Rachel Klem, was formerly known as the Honor Choir, and it started as an after school offering for the students of the middle school in 2005. Over time, the Concert Choir and other performing arts ensembles, have been integrated into the school day, allowing for the choir to grow into what it is today: 40 boys and girls working on music spanning many genres while learning about choral singing and performance etiquette. The choir has performed at Columbia University's Miller Theatre and Rye Playland's High Note Music Festival where they were awarded Superior ratings for choral singing.
Finding Green NYC is a student initiative led by middle school students at The Mandell School to raise awareness of green space in our urban environment. Through digital activism, Mandell Prep students hope to collaborate with others in the creation, care, and enjoyment of urban green space. They are seeking partners within the city and in other cities around the world to grow the initiative. For more information about Finding Green NYC, please visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i50ETIVBQ_w and follow @FindingGreenNYC on Twitter, Foursquare, and Instagram.
Devin Carthan, aka "The Poet," is a force to be reckoned with on the SLAM POETRY SCENE. He is one of the youngest poets to win a spot on the historical Nuyorican Poets Cafe slam team. He is New York Knicks 2006 Slam Champion, Urban World NYC 2006 Slam Finalist and all of this was accomplished before approaching his 20th birthday. He has shared the stage with some of NYC's top artist as well as accumulated various honors in the process. Devin has opened up for and collaborated with a long list of artist, here are some of the more notable ones which includes Drake, Ainsley Burrows, Jesse Boykins III, Juelz Santana, Amy Jade Winehouse, The Last Poets, and Saul Williams. His light hearted and powerful style has resonated with people who have seen Devin perform. Today, his goal remains the same: “Engrave his words into the psyche of history, to never be forgotten.”
Matt Vorzimer's passion for jazz inspired his foray into what he calls "eCussion". His idea was to bring jazz to a contemporary audience through the use of traditional jazz improvisation on the drum set combined with samples from contemporary music, but all played in real-time, percussively. Recently Matt secured a slot in New York City's prestigious Music Under New York program, and played special events for the likes of NBC and Samsung. At the urging of his fans, he has also self-released three albums, "Soundtrack For A Short Film," "Vortex: Chronicles From the Underground," and "Big Nose Strikes Again," which infuses Detroit/Chicago and Contemporary Techno. He has also released “Aaliyah Eternal” which was released on the anniversary of the R&B singer’s death in 2012 as his tribute to the late great singer. These projects showcase his skills as a drummer, producer and most importantly as an eCussionist.
Rebecca Marratta is an eighth grader at The School At Columbia and is President of the Student Government. She is passionate about bringing the students an experience they will enjoy by encouraging them to dream big and bring those ideas to the Student Government. Rebecca believes people should be enthusiastic about many things so they can make a difference in the community while doing the things that they love. Rebecca’s passions are theatre, writing, sports and photography. She is excited about this years’s TEDxYouth@TheSchool theme, Dream Big… Then Do It!
Aidan Ryan is an eighth grader at The School at Columbia University and Vice-President of the Student Government. At 13-years old, Aidan is co-captain of the cross country team and plays sports throughout the year. He loves music and has been playing the guitar for eight years. Aidan's favorite class is Science because he loves to learn about the world around us. His favorite band is The Beatles, and Aidan hopes to meet one of them some day. (If you read this Sir McCartney, please visit us at The School!)
Hannah Sachs is a senior at Ethical Culture Fieldston School. She has traveled extensively to many developing countries, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa. Through her parents work in many African villages, Hannah has learned how cost effective and science-based interventions can lift a community out of extreme poverty. She has brought these lessons back home to her own community, by speaking to classrooms and writing Time For Kids articles. This summer she worked as a marketing intern at a restaurant-and-arts complex in Shanghai, China. Hannah is passionate about exploring the world around her and learning and discussing the pressing issues that face her generation.
Sophia Edelstein is a senior at The Dalton School. She is passionate about developing scientific research that helps tackle large global issues. While traveling in Colombia and Mexico, two impoverished countries with an abundance of sunlight, Sophia realized that despite the enthusiasm surrounding solar energy, the people who needed solar energy the most could not afford the high cost per watt. Sophia has been developing a new kind of solar battery modeled after the system used to create energy, ATP, in our bodies. Currently, Sophia is a research intern at a pharmacology lab at Weill Cornell Medical School where she has been working on her independent bioengineering project. Previously, Sophia interned at Carnegie Hill Radiology where she co-authored a scientific paper on cardiac dyssynchrony in patients with left bundle branch block. Sophia is a recipient of the 2012 Child Mind Institute Rising Scientist Award.
Gabriella Singh is a fourteen year old freshman attending Friends Seminary. She went to The School at Columbia University from Kindergarten to eighth grade. Gabriella is a vegetarian and is passionate about animal rights. She is an active participant at the annual Taking Action for Animals conference in DC. She is currently volunteering at an animal shelter and is also participating in a program called Cultural Awareness Reaching Everyone (CARE). At her graduation from The School in June, 2012, Gabriella was one of the two student speakers. She is delighted and honored to be speaking about her participation in the InsideOut Project and how it has an impact on promoting global awareness through innovative artwork. Gabriella puts into practice her group's chosen theme for their InsideOut Project: See! Hear! Speak!
Moranda Rasmussen is a senior at Sheldon High School. After her adoption at the age of eight, she moved from Ohio to Oregon. Moranda has had one dream for her entire life: to sing and write songs. She wrote her first "song" when she was seven. It was 15 seconds long and was about blue sky. She started really songwriting in the 7th grade. Since then, she's been working hard to grow her writing skills and become a better songwriter. Moranda got the chance to put her skills to the test when she entered a Rocket21 "Shoot for the Stars" songwriting contest to write a song about how NASA inspired her to follow her dreams. Moranda landed a trip to Orlando, Florida, where her song was introduced at NASA Kennedy Space Center. She learned more about the music business in a recording session in Nashville, Tennessee, collaborating with country music artist Ansel Brown. The song is called “Flying,” and it is available now on iTunes and benefits Shriners Hospital for Children in Portland, Oregon. Moranda was honored to be part of such an incredible and inspiring experience.