x = independently organized TED event

This event occurred on
May 4, 2018
Columbia, Missouri
United States

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized (subject to certain rules and regulations).

West Middle School
401 Clinkscales
Columbia, Missouri, 65203
United States
Event type:
Youth (What is this?)
See more ­T­E­Dx­West­Middle­School events


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

Adam Brietzke

Adam Brietzke is a Client Success Specialist with the non-profit group Institute for People, Place, & Possibility. He is also an actor and a writer locally. You can see him on stage at the community theaters here in Columbia, or read his monthly column in Inside Columbia Magazine.

Angela Speck

Dr. Angela Speck is a professor of astronomy at the University of Missouri, as well as serving as the astronomy department’s director. She likes bright colors, is a nerd at heart, and has wanted to be an astronaut since she was 5 years old. Originally from Yorkshire, England, she went to college in London where she was able to pursue her childhood dreams by majoring in astrophysics and later completed a PhD in astronomy. Today, she continues to research, teach astrophysics, and share her passion for all things extra-terrestrial.

Ayla Mehr

Ayla Kian Mehr is a 14-year-old student at West Middle School born and raised here in Columbia, MO. She is an introvert who spends her days creating art and writing music in her bedroom.

Benjamin Middleton

Benjamin Middleton is a student at Lange Middle School in Columbia, MO, who has participated in Quiz Bowl and the COlumbia Public Schools Tetons trip. While on a trip to the United Kingdom to visit family he also visited the grave of Longfellow at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Ireland, and Shakespeare’s grave in Stratford-upon-Avon. These overseas experiences have made Benjamin realize how important diversity is.

Caitlin Cunningham

Caitlin Cunningham spends her weekdays working to get her 8th grade students at Gentry Middle School to think critically about science and their place in the world. Today she joins us to share why she believes we should also be thinking critically about our happiness and pursuing our own path through life.

Caitlin Sloan

Caitlin Sloan is a dance instructor for the Missouri Contemporary Ballet Company in Columbia, Mo.

Claire Kespohl

Claire Kespohl was born in Columbia, Missouri and has lived here ever since, currently attending West Middle School. She has an older brother and sister who are both in college. A large part of her life for the past several years, and her escape, has been dance. Claire considers the arts to tbe the universal language.

Dana Bocke

Dana Bocke works at the Columbia Public Library as a Library Associate on the Children’s Team, where she can often be found singing silly songs to children. She is active in the local theatre community, where she is less likely to be singing silly songs. She likes softball, cemeteries, comic books, and cats.

Derrone Wilson

Derrone Wilson has been the Director of Columbia’s Boys and Girls Club for over 15 years. During his time at the BGC, he has mentored over 1000 youth and implemented several local and national programs for the organization. Deronne is currently the assistant boys’ varsity basketball coach for Father Tolton Catholic High School. He enjoys traveling, playing basketball, and attending sporting events in his free time.

Effie Lillig

Along with being a student at West Middle School, Effie Lillig is an artist, a musician, a poet, and a feminist. Effie is short for Evelyn, a name she inherited from her great-great-grandma. Effie loves her two cats and her dog Hawk, a beagle mix. She is passionate about issues having to do with human rights.

El Thompson

El Thompson is an 8th grade gender queer student at West Middle School who has lived in Missouri for 12 years. El was born in Portland, Oregon and moved to Missouri at the age of two. El lives with their parents and sister. El hopes to someday work in the props department of the Star Wars franchise.

Elias Calvin

Elias Calvin is a 14-year-old 8th grader at West Middle School. He was born and raised in Columbia, MO, where he lives with his parents and his older brother.

Emma Kingsley

Emma Kingsley was born in Kansas City and then moved to Columbia at a young age. She is now 13 years old and a student at West Middle School. Emma has grown up around many people who are younger than her, her favorite of which is a 9-year-old girl with Downs Syndrome. Please welcome Emma Kingsley with “Just the Same as You and Me.”

Emma Willis

Emma Willis is a 14-year-old student at West Middle School. In her downtime she likes to draw, read, and occasionally write. Emma also plays trombone, and is slowing teaching herself guitar. Please welcome Emma Willis with “LGBTQ are People Too.”

Grace Remelius

Grace Remelius was born and raised in Columbia, Missouri and currently attends West Middle School. Grace was raised with an older sister who has a handicap, and loving parents who brought her up with the knowledge that bullying is not okay.

Henry Huff

Henry Huff is a 13-year-old student at West Middle School born and raised in Columbia, MO. He enjoys playing baseball and golf, math, and creative problem-solving. He’d one day like to go to Europe, but so far has not been out of the United States.

Hilary Myers

Hilary Myers graduated with a Bachelor’s of Music Education from Central Methodist University in 2002, and received a Master's of Education from the same institution in 2011. Hilary is in her 16th year of teaching. In addition to working as the FACS teacher at West Middle School, she serves as an Adjunct Professor of Education from Central Methodist University in Fayette, MO. Along with her teaching duties Hilary is a sought after soloist, performer, and director. Please welcome Hilary Myers with “Music Makes us One.”

Isabella Laird

Isabella Laird is a 13 years old and in the 8th grade at West Middle School. She has lived in Columbia, MO her whole life, where she enjoys soccer, track, making crafts, and spending time with her family as the middle child of three. She is half Ecuadorian, and speaks both Spanish and English. In January of 2014 Isabella began living the experience of having a family member with a life-threatening illness. She hopes to help others who are or have previously lived the same experience.

Isabella McGarity

Isabella McGarity is from Columbia, MO and in the 8th grade at West Middle School. She plays the clarinet, piano, and saxophone. She reads extensively, and Jandy Nelson is her favorite author. Isabella and her older brother, Lucas, are half Brazilian. She believes in standing up for the empowerment of women

Jerrell Jackson

Jerrell Jackson is a personal trainer and business owner who was born and raised in Houston, TX. Jerrell played football for the University of Missouri and was known as one of the top receivers in the Big 12, making a huge impact for the Tigers throughout the 2008-2011 seasons. After graduation, Jerrell continued his football career professionally, playing for the Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Chicago Bears, and Kansas City Chiefs. Since 2012 he has had a passion for motivating others to live a healthier lifestyle. When Jerrell is not training and inspiring others; he enjoys hobbies such as fishing, biking, yoga, poetry and movies.

Jordan Campos

Jordan Campos is 13 years old and was raised in Columbia, MO as part of a family with four children. She enjoys writing poetry and reading realistic fiction. By relating her personal struggle with anxiety she hopes that you will in some way relate to this universal emotion.

Kathryn Myers

Kathryn Myers, age twelve, is a seventh grader at West Middle School. Kathryn is no stranger to the stage, having been involved with many fine arts activities including dance, band and theater. She is also an avid reader. Kathryn has anxiety and struggles with it on a day-to-day basis.

Kavion Jones

Kavion Jones is a 14-year-old student at Lange Middle School who was born and raised in Columbia, MO. Growing up, he has developed an affinity for filmmaking and equality. Kavion loves interacting with people and loves to be social. The last thing he wants to be, or wants anyone else to be, is alone.

Logan Tinsley

Logan Tinsley was born in Columbia, MO and attends Lange Middle School. He has a 16-year-old sister and two labs named Delta and Zeta. In his free time Logan likes reading fiction novels and playing board games such as Monopoly. Logan feels strongly that stereotypes have a negative impact on society. He is tired of the judgements and discrimination that prevail in our world.

Mason Aid

Mason Aid is the PRISM coordinator for The Center Project. Mason is an lgbtq educator and advocate who got started working with PRISM, which is an LGBTQ teen group run through the Center Project. Since then, Mason has done numerous trainings and takes every opportunity possible to help people be more inclusive.

Mike Szydlowski

Mike Szydlowski is science coordinator at Columbia Public Schools. His favorite part of this job is to make science more engaging and relevant for both students and adults through the use of place-based learning. As part of that goal, Mike runs the CPS Grand Teton and Yellowstone program for the district, as well as the middle school science camp program. He works to address science in the community by writing a weekly science column in the Columbia Daily Tribune and organizes a variety of environmental stewardship programs in the community, such as the attack on the invasive honeysuckle plants in Columbia.

Sahba Jalali

Sahba Jalali is an eye doctor with Advanced Vision. His children Jonathan and Jasmine both attend West Middle School. When he’s not working, Sabha enjoys watching football and riding bikes with his wife when the weather is good.

Saruul Jagdagdori

Saruul-Erdene Jagdagdorj is a 13-year-old student in the 8th grade at West Middle School. In her spare time, she enjoys creative activities such as ballet. Saruul has two older sisters, and her family is from Mongolia. Although she was born and raised in Columbia, MO, she has strong ties to Mongolia. Saruul is passionate about air pollution and its negative impact on our planet.

Scott Schutte

Scott Schutte has been in the fitness industry for the past 12 years, including owning a healthy meal company and his current role as owner and trainer at Columbia Strength & Conditioning. His personal mission statement is to lead by example, to teach people to think differently about what holds them back, and to always push for more out of life. Please welcome Scott Schutte with “Redefining Fitness.”

Organizing team