By Ginni Spencer
Change and new perspectives appear to be the order of the day in Bedford lately, whether it’s what’s happening at The Bedford Marketplace, the coming of NPR’s esteemed Story Corps to the library, or a local twist on the highly regarded TED Talk. Two enterprising seniors from Bedford High School, Connor Catanzano and Justin Yannix, working with a committee of other interested students, will host a TEDx event in Bedford on Saturday evening, October 17.
TEDx Bedford High School is free and open to the public, starting at 6:30 pm in the BHS auditorium. The event is sponsored by MITRE, Middlesex Savings Bank and iRobot.
Bedford’s TEDx (Technology-Entertainment-Design) website explains that TEDx is a nonprofit foundation devoted to spreading “ ideas worth sharing”, usually in the form of short, powerful talks.
The line-up for Saturday night reflects this call for diverse points of view. Those attending will hear from
- Ted Werth, Bedford businessman and entrepreneur named by Ernst and Young as 2011 Entrepreneur of the Year for the New England region;
- Adrianne Haslet-Davis, ballroom dancer who lost her left leg following the Boston Marathon bombing;
- Gus Morales, president of the Holyoke Teachers Association and social justice education advocate;
- Regi Gibson, spoken word poet named Chicago Tribune’s artist of the year in poetry;
- Sara Seager, MIT professor and astrophysicist;
- Shree Bose, co-founder of Piper, a Minecraft toolbox for aspiring engineers; and
- Stacey Sargison-Shawe, life coach and entrepreneur.
Many of the TED talks that readers may be familiar with are given at the annual TED Conference held in California which are subsequently widely circulated via social media and YouTube. Devotees know that TED has been successful in bringing onstage speakers with experiences and perspectives that run the gamut from individual personal turning points to the introduction of innovative thinking from the frontiers of the arts and sciences. The TED website sums it up: “Our agenda is to make great ideas accessible and spark conversation.”
TEDx was created in the spirit of TED’s mission to support independent organizers who seek to emulate a similar event in their own community. Organizers must secure a license (free) through TED and agree to the TED ground rules, which include among other requirements that no speakers can be paid, and any sponsors cannot also be presenters. First and foremost, the gathering of speakers must allow for a multi-disciplinary, wide-ranging array of topics that are intellectually provocative and/or emotionally resonant; the TEDx event cannot be single-topic driven.
Bedford’s TEDx Team
In addition to Catanzano and Yannix, the committee of self-described “passionate students” includes Otto Altmann, Chris En, Michael Barkan, and Vishnu Varada.
The faculty advisor for the event is Christine Larimore, assistant principal at Bedford High School.