Alex Thoms is 16 years old and a sophomore at Lake Forest High School. Besides extracurriculars such as Scholastic Bowl and Ping Pong Club, Alex is a linebacker and lacrosse goalie for Lake Forest High School. He plans on continuing his lacrosse career in college. Alex is an avid outdoors person and loves spending time in nature. He enjoys taking his great dane lab mix for walks in the forest preserves. Alex has always loved the ocean and is now working in his free time to learn more about it and the creatures that live in it.
Lake Forest High School junior Anafrancesca Curry learned the impact that negativity in social media can have on not only the people posting, but in the world viewing these posts. Rather than spreading negativity through social media, Anafran believes that social media should be used to encourage, inspire and accept. She has a passion for social justice, running, and having her own unique sense of fashion.
Anna Skaleski is a junior at Lake Forest High School and loves to ponder thoughts about making a positive impact in the world. She also has a passion for swimming and is a member of the LFHS girls’ swim and water polo teams. She enjoys being a Wellness for Life TA because it allows her to mentor freshman about adapting to high school in a healthy manner. She also loves her fourteen year old yellow lab named Charlie and is known for driving around town with her friends listening to country music a little too loud.
Antoinette Pompe van Meerdervoort
Antoinette Pompe van Meerdervoort is currently a sophomore at LFHS and is very involved in tap dancing, music and theater. Antoinette is a part of chorus, band (clarinet) and AP music theory this year. Antoinette also enjoys acting and has participated in more that 20 shows. Antoinette has a strong passion for tap dancing. She has been tap dancing for 4 years and is very excited to share her passion of tap dancing along with her passion for music theory, and show how they correspond with mathematics, at the TEDxLFHS event. Outside of Antoinette’s busy schedule, she enjoys playing tennis and sailing.
President-CEO of CAUSEGEAR
Brad is the President-CEO of Causegear L3C. His background includes 32 years of sales, marketing, design, leadership, and business development. Brad has had the opportunity to lead and manage a variety of areas including: sales management in complex industrial environments, marketing green technology brands, and creating compassion outreach and giving programs that result in an energized work force with higher levels of performance and care for the greater good.
Charlotte is an honors student at LFHS who developed a passion for science. At school, she has taken three science courses in her two years so far, which include biology, chemistry honors, and environmental science honors. In addition, she participates in environmental club, science olympiad, and two jazz bands. Similarly, Charlotte loves animals of all kinds, which is what inspired her to become interested in environmental sciences and of course, giving a TED talk! She loves to share her knowledge and passion about animals with just about anybody who will listen.
Connor is a junior at Lake Forest High School. He is believes with hard work and commitment anyone can reap the benefits of sailing.
Elizabeth is a junior at Lake Forest High School, where she can usually be found running to class carrying a camera in one hand and a large bag brimming with loose-leaf paper and an assortment of colored pens in the other. She is constantly driving to and from the barn, enjoying the company of friends and family, or striving to help those in need. She hopes that sharing her story on the TEDxLFHS stage will remind us all to seek the value in the little moments life has to offer and to truly enjoy the company of those around us.
Isabella Mancini is your very average, very busy teen from Lake Forest, Illinois. This year as a junior at LFHS, she is involved in Art Club, Yearbook, Mandarin Club, New Media, and TEDx. Throughout her high school career and involvement in these numerous clubs, Isabella has learned the importance in being true to yourself and to collaborate with others. She has recently invested her time in discovering the meaning of “cool”, which is a concept completely foreign to her.
Jack Bailey is an aspiring 3D artist with a fascination with the idea of multi-dimensional theory. Beyond the 3 dimensions that we inhabit, some scientific theories suggest that 10 different dimensions may exist. Although this is just a theory, it's certainly one that has fascinated him as well as captured his imagination.
President and Co-founder of BRDG
Dr. Katherine Jeffery is a culture-shaping leader, coach, and visionary with over 20 years of experience developing and studying leaders in a variety of holistic environments including both workplace and university settings. Her doctoral research focused on the Millennial generation as emerging adults and their view of leadership and collaborative teams. This research was fundamental in creating formative and successful leadership development programs. is known for innovation, transformation, and team development. Katherine loves to envision and create a path to the big picture and connect each step along the way for the good of the whole.
Mady Kung is a junior at Lake Forest High School. She is passionate about public speaking, meditating, and running. One of her greatest fascinations is genetics - specifically personality-related genetics - since genes can work to shape human behavior and thus life outcomes. In her talk, she explores the heritable aspect of happiness and its implications for public health policy.
I play basketball for the Lake Forest High School and was on the sophomore team last year. My favorite school subject this year is English because we are reading Catcher in the Rye which is my new favorite book. Outside of school I love my spending time with my brother Max, who is now attending University of San Diego. Max has always been my role model in life through sports and academics. Academics have led me to becoming a big fan of Ted Talks because of the way they enrich your intelligence and open up your mind to new ideas.
Riley Walters is a senior at LFHS and an aspiring Firefighter Paramedic. I am coming to TEDxLFHS to talk about my passion for the Fire Service & EMS, as well as my vocational/trade school, the Tech Campus.
Tommy Block sees the world through his own emotions and tries to feel it through others’. This usually means observing, analyzing, and discussing the movies, music, and other works of art that collectively solidify our voices as people. He’s been writing for Lake Forest High School’s own Forest Scout newspaper throughout his senior year, where he’s pushed forward the majority his thoughts through reviews and other features. After giving a TEDx talk over at Lake Forest’s Gorton Center last year, he’s beyond excited to get back on the stage and spread his ideas to those willing to listen.
Whitney Perschke is a junior at LFHS who loves the outdoors, film, reading and a bunch of other random stuff. She loves to be a part of the New Media program at the high school and wants to go into the film world when she’s older, which all stems from her want to showcase all the amazing things she saw during her wilderness expedition trips she has attended since she was 10. She gets a little too excited about the outdoors, so bear with her constant enthusiasm as she talks about her trip she took last summer.