In the style of the world-renowned TED Talks, the majority of the senior class of Mount Paran Christian School created their own brief TED-Ed Club Student Talks presentations as a mandatory capstone project for Senior English. The talks were the brain-child of high school English teachers Emily Wynn and Greta Zefo.
Though much was required of students during the preparation phase, the key objective was to present an idea worth spreading, using story to engage the audience. Ms. Wynn and Ms. Zefo narrowed the 98 submissions down to seven finalists, judging the submissions for their creativity and originality, thoughtful design, and effective communication.
Maddie Beckett: Becoming Ripple-Effect People
Anthony Edwards: Creating Happiness
Will Fink: The Value of Breaking Things
Anton Oswald: Wrestling a Catholic Monk
Anaston Ragsdale: Laughing as Medicine
Emmy Roberts: Overcoming Perfectionism
Luke Spinetto: Relearning to See the Colors of Life Through a Video Game
MPCS faculty and staff viewed the videos and voted to select the top three most engaging and illuminating presentations to feature on the school's Vimeo account. The Best in Show talks selected were First Place Luke Spinetto, Second Place Emmy Roberts, and Third Place Anton Oswald. Mr. Spinetto’s first-place winning video cited his personal mental health battles and how the video game GRIS was a visual representation for understanding depression.
Project co-lead Greta Zefo says, “The beauty of this project is that it allows students to explore any area of interest or passion, so it is absolutely interdisciplinary in core concept. Students must be or become masters of their content, explain their credentials, and cover a vast array of topics such as religion, politics and law, sports, physical and mental health, travel/study abroad, self-improvement, dance, theatre, music, education, and social issues/benevolence.” Students learned the art of speech writing, as well as employed storytelling and persuasive language techniques.
This was the inaugural year for the TED-Ed Club Student Talks, an interdisciplinary capstone project for MPCS seniors. While the vision was to create a large-scale, week-long community event for students to present their talks in front of a live audience, the mandated move to distance learning resulted in at-home video presentations. The hope is to expand the event next year to host a public viewing of live talks.
Watch the top three talks below from our winners.