x = independently organized TED event

Theme: The Pursuit of Happiness

This event occurred on
May 29, 2015
4:00pm - 8:00pm EDT
(UTC -4hrs)
East Brunswick, New Jersey
United States

Throughout high school, students often question how they will get through the next four years; between homework, tests, and extra curricular responsibilities, it is very easy for students to lose sight of their own happiness. At TEDxEastBrunswickHighSchool, we will explore happiness from all angles, aiding students in their quest to achieve euphoria even during difficult times.

East Brunswick High School
380 Cranbury Road
East Brunswick, New Jersey, 08816
United States
Event type:
Youth (What is this?)
See more ­T­E­Dx­East­Brunswick­High­School events


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

Chengkai Hu

Chengkai Hu is an educational consultant who works with high school students to realize their potentials. In his work, he expanded from being a purely academic tutor to being a motivator, counselor, and mentor. While doing so, he had to expand his interests to include child development, mental health, and decision-making mechanisms. Today, he continues his work alongside his studies in Mathematics and Statistics at Columbia University.

Hakeem Rahim

Hakeem Rahim, Ed.M, M.A. had the distinct honor of being the first African- American male valedictorian in his high school’s history. He went on to graduate with a BA in psychology from Harvard University, and dual masters from Teacher’s College, Columbia University. In 2012, Hakeem began openly sharing his journey with mental illness. Since then he has testified in front of Congress, been featured in USA Today and has shared his journey with over 16,000 college, high school and middle school students. Hakeem is a certified National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) In Our Own Voice speaker, the NAMI Queens/Nassau Let’s Talk Mental Illness TM presenter, and a member of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance’s national board. Hakeem is the owner of Live Breathe, LLC as well as a poet and recorded spoken word artist. You can find more about him at hakeemrahim.com, more about LTMI at btslessonplans.org, and his first book Magenta Your Conscience at http://bit.ly/1yx37Ah.

James Lyons

James Lyons is a student at East Brunswick High School. His interests range from activities such as music to writing to politics. After graduating high school his goal is to enter into the field of either law or genetics.

Joyce Lentz

Born and raised in North Carolina, Joyce A. Lentz received her undergraduate degree in history from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and her Masters in the Art of Teaching degree from Duke University. As part of the Masters program, she was assigned to teach in East Brunswick, New Jersey, where she has remained for the past forty-two years. After teaching history for 17 years in the junior high and 24 years in the high school, Miss Lentz retired last June. While readily admitting that she dearly misses the daily contact with students and other staff members, she has enjoyed this first year of retirement --- no longer responding to the demands of the school bells, enjoying her crafts, reading for pleasure, and traveling to visit family and friends.

Kathleen Elle

Kathleen Elle is a singer/songwriter who combined her talent for writing music with the power of the internet to fill a void she saw in anti-bullying. By using the Internet, she sought to empower bullying victims with her original song “Don’t Let Them In,” which encourages victims to stay true to who they are. She has been recognized by Seventeen Magazine and Abercrombie & Fitch, both of which chose to include her song in their anti-bullying PSAs. She has received messages from victims around the world that she has changed lives and saved lives. She tours local schools and has been interviewed by NPR radio, local radio, and internet radio. Kathleen is a 2015 National YoungArts winner in the singer/songwriter category. She has explored various ways to use her music to inspire, move, support, and bring about positive change in ways she feels no other medium can. She is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in music composition and education.

Kenneth Saroka

Ken Saroka graduated high school in 1979 and was supposed to be a journalism major at Northwestern. Instead, he got sidetracked into working as a manager fast food restaurants (5 years) and video rental stores (5 years) before going back to college and graduating as a History-Education major from Trenton State College in 1993. He later went on to receive his Master's Degree in History from Villanova University in 2000. Ken has been employed by the East Brunswick Board of Education as a Social Studies and Economics teacher since 1994.

Kevin Ma

Kevin is an undergraduate at Harvard studying Chemical & Physical Biology with a minor in Global Health & Health Policy. Within global health, he is particularly interested in efforts to expand capacity building and health systems strengthening in low and middle-income countries as well as opportunities to utilize the emerging tools of bioengineering to better understand infectious diseases. He has worked on research projects in synthetic biology and malaria and is involved with global health community organizing with the nonprofit Partners In Health.

Lior Ben-Zvi

Lior Ben-Zvi has grown up in a youth movement that works toward peace and social justice through alternative education. She is 17, and hopes that her future allows her many more opportunities to spread awareness.

Maria Cisnero

Maria Cisnero was born in Cuba and began teaching Calculus at the early age of 18 at Havana University. Mrs. Cisnero has been a resident of NJ since her arrival to United States, and for the last 15 years she has been a mathematics teacher at East Brunswick High School. As part of her experience teaching at a high school, she has discovered her passion for teaching young adults. In addition to teaching math, she recognized the importance of communicating important social skills to her students as they move into the “real world”.

Paul Kimmel

Paul Kimmel has a Ph.D in chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley. He taught at East Brunswick High School for 42 years, and is now lecturing and administering the general chemistry course at Rutgers. He enjoys bicycle riding, riding a tandem with his wife, and is also an active pianist.

Roshni Thyagrajan

Roshni Thyagrajan is a graduating senior at East Brunswick High School. She will be continuing her studies in the fields of neuroscience and behaviorism in Northeastern University Honors College.

Sheryas Parab

Shreyas Parab is 14, and a Freshmen at Archmere Academy. After years of competitive spelling, Shreyas ended his spelling career having ranked 13th in the Metlife National Spelling Bee and tied for 43rd at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. After interviews with CNN, NBC, and dozens of media outlets around the United States, Shreyas has been given the opportunity to give presentations and speeches at events such as TEDx and events. Some events including the Scripps National Spelling Bee where he delivered a keynote in front of almost a thousand people and at the Consulate General of India addressing noted politicians and officials. He has also spoken at TEDxPSUBerks and TEDxWilliamPenn.

Simran Bhatia

Simran Bhatia is a student at East Brunswick High School in New Jersey- and a student of the world. As a rising junior, she is working on creating her own legacy through community service, whether it be by giving talks on topics special to her or volunteering through Girl Scouts. In her own pursuit of happiness, Simran enjoys meditating, breaking cultural norms of picture taking, and playing with babies and animals.

Vivien Chen

Vivien Chen is a graduate of East Brunswick High School. She will be continuing her studies in Environmental Science at Boston University, where she aspires to encourage others to find their own unique and sustainable niche in the world.

Vivien Chen

Vivien Chen is a graduate of East Brunswick High School. She will be continuing her studies in Environmental Science at Boston University, where she aspires to encourage others to find their own unique and sustainable niche in the world.

Organizing team




  • Ansuman Das
    Executive Producer
  • Abheek Pandoh
    Executive Producer
  • Tanvi Parikh
    Event Manager
  • Hersh Patel
    Website Developer