Bekah Gerace, 17, was born and raised in Lancaster County. She recently graduated from Manheim Township High School where she participated in cross country and the suicide prevention and awareness club, Aevidum. While at Manheim Township, she participated in the Spanish Immersion program from Kindergarten through eighth grade. Through her high school years, she has faced cancer and many mental health challenges, which have helped shape her into the person she is today. Bekah enjoys writing poetry, photography, listening to music, spending time with her friends, and a number of outdoor activities, such as hiking and canoeing. Bekah is hoping to pursue a career in case management to assist those struggling with an untreated mental health diagnosis. Through her personal experiences, she is aware of the growing need for not only a change in attitude and perception, but also in the quality of care in the mental health community.
Evan Davidson, 20, is studying communications at Millersville University, focusing primarily on broadcasting. Evan’s high school years were filled with a diverse selection of activities that helped to round out and complement his educational experience. He was in the marching band, ski club, and president of the photography club. At the age of 16, he filed for an LLC and in 2016, he launched Evan Davidson Photography, LLC. Evan started making vlogs in high school and is still making them on his YouTube channel. Another one of Evan’s passions is making short films. Evan has been all over the country shooting all different sorts of projects. Evan is very passionate in his faith and spent a week in Haiti working with underprivileged students in the town of Saint-Marc. Evan loves biking, going for walks, trying new restaurants, and making new friends.
Gaurav Mittal, 16, is a rising senior at Manheim Township High School in Lancaster, PA. He demonstrates a strong interest and passion in the STEM field and has received many accolades in various regional and international level Science and Engineering competitions. He is current serving as the Vice President of the Technology and Engineering Club as well as the Vice President of the National Honor Society at his high school. He is also equally passionate about creating instrumental music. He recently released his very first fingerstyle guitar album on all leading music platforms featuring cover songs from famous artists. His other interests include attending car shows and sharing his car photography on social media. He hopes to be able to pursue a degree in biomedical engineering with an eventual career in the healthcare field.
Hannah Logue, 14, is a rising freshman at Ephrata High School. She was a captain of both her middle school soccer team and Quiz Bowl teams. She enjoys playing year round soccer with her club team, Penn United Force. Hannah also plays saxophone in the school band. She was the Public Relations officer for the middle school student council, and has been elected as a member-at-large for the high school student council. Hannah also has discovered an enthusiasm for video production, and her group recently won the regional “Outstanding Creativity” award in the statewide What’s So Cool About Manufacturing video contest. She has interests in public speaking and politics as well. She has taken part in the county-wide Oratory Invitational at Cocalico, acted in various plays and musicals at both the middle school and high school levels, and loves to derail her teacher’s lesson plans with debates on current events and other topics, just for the sake of argument.
Hannah Wheeler, 17, is a recent graduate from Solanco High School. During her senior year, she attended Lancaster County Career and Technology Center for their Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Program. She will be attending Ithaca College in the fall for Occupational Therapy. She fell in love with the profession by attending Occupational Therapy for her pain disorder. Her pain disorder has revealed her passion for helping people in the midst of their pain. She has worked with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and A.I. DuPont Children’s Hospital to raise money and make cards for children with pain disorders. She has enjoyed being a summer camp counselor for the past two years and hopes to continue working with children and people with special needs. In her spare time, she also enjoys being outdoors, running, swimming, biking, and spending time with her family. She has two siblings, a twin sister and a younger sister.
Janyssa Berrios, 17, is a senior at JP McCaskey High School. She is involved in her high school as a certified peer mediator, a teacher’s assistant for a 2nd and 4th grade class at a local elementary school, a junior captain on the High School Varsity soccer team where she started as a freshman, a member of the wrestling team, and a member of the National Honors Society. During her junior and senior year of high school, she converted sports and became a female wrestler after playing soccer for 10 years. She enjoys poetry, music, yoga, heavy lifting, reading, spending time with her little brother, eating chocolate, and expanding her very interesting collection of panda collectibles as she is a big fan of pandas. Janyssa will be continuing her education at Gannon University as a member of the female wrestling team, member of the Honors program, majoring in Criminology, and getting certified for her personal training and nutritional license.
Madison Lucey, 16, is a rising senior at Commonwealth Charter Academy. She accumulated extra credits during her sophomore year in order to skip her junior year. Madison serves as President of her school’s National Honor Society, President of the Youth and Government delegation, and President of the Future Business Leaders of America chapter. She invented a life-saving device for children. She has done extensive legal research and wrote a public safety bill which is on its way to becoming Pennsylvania state law. She led a robotics team while doing an internship at AgWorks. Her team invented an automated plant seeder robot using artificial intelligence and machine learning. She is an autodidact who is proficient at six computer programming languages. As an entrepreneur, she started a business. Madison has a passion for tutoring and doing volunteer work helping disabled people to achieve a higher quality of life. She also enjoys dancing, playing her guitar, writing songs, and singing.
Olivia Eichler, 13, is a student in the Penn Manor School District. Some of her interests include dance, musical theater, and American Sign Language. She enjoys working at various theaters including American Music Theater and Dutch Apple. Throughout her talk, her goal is to give people a different outlook on unique situations and moving past hard starts in life. She wants to thank all of the people who supported her through the process of this talk, and specifically the TEDxYouth@Lancaster program for giving her this opportunity!
Raif Groves, 13, will be an 8th grader at Solanco Middle School. From a young age, Raif has shown a passion for history, especially military. He had the privilege of writing and giving a speech the past three years on Memorial Day to honor veterans at a service in his hometown of Quarryville, PA. He has been playing violin since he was 8 years old and enjoys bluegrass and fiddle music. He plays with his school orchestra, as well as the Lancaster Intermezzo orchestra. He also had a lead role in the school musical. Raif sings in Smith Singers, a group at his middle school, which competed in Boston and earned gold awards in all ensembles. He was one of nine boys to be selected for the barbershop group at school where he sang baritone. Raif also loves sports. He is a member of the wrestling team, and throws the shot put and discus in track. One of his favorite after school activities is weight lifting. When he is out of school, Raif loves helping with projects on his grandparents’ farm.
Valerie Kosson, 20, is a Music Performance major at Lebanon Valley College. She began studying piano, snare and bells, and marimba during elementary school, received the “Outstanding Band Student of the Year” award in middle school, and went on to play with the York Junior Symphony Orchestra at Penn State York. Valerie traveled and competed with her award-winning high school marching band for four years. During her last two summers of high school, she competed in Drum Corps International, performing with the Raiders Drum and Bugle Corps. Valerie was inducted into the National Honors Society in her sophomore year. She graduated from Susquehannock High School Magna Cum Laude in 2017. Val won first place in both the Keystone Indoor Drumline Association solo percussion competition and the Tri-M Music Honor Society Concerto competition playing marimba. Valerie is currently a member of the Lebanon Valley College marching band, choir, hand-bell choir ensemble, and percussion ensemble.