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Harrison H.S. Students Launch Local TEDx Event

Eight students at Harrison High School presented at a TEDx event organized by juniors Valerie Hesse and Madeline Rawson.
Eight students at Harrison High School presented at a TEDx event organized by juniors Valerie Hesse and Madeline Rawson. Photo Credit: submitted

HARRISON, N.Y. -- A pair of Harrison High School juniors are being hailed for organizing a TEDx event that recently showcased several "thought-provoking" student presentations.

A TEDx event is a local gathering featuring unique content that is developed independently, but delivered in a similar manner and tone as larger TED events. TEDx events are community driven and aim to be free of bias, according to a statement from the Harrison school district.

The student organizers, Valerie Hesse and Madeline Rawson, put the event together to complete their Creativity, Action and Service (CAS) project, a requirement for those wishing to receive an International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma.

According to the school district, the girls researched the process of holding a TED event, applied for a license, worked with high school administration and held bake sales in support of their project.

The presentations included:

  • Miwa Goble - "The Future is Female"
  • Emma Abramson - “Potential Therapeutic Treatment for Alzheimers”
  • Mihoko Sakanaka – “Music for the Deaf”
  • Tasha Garayo – “Vitamin B: Cognition & Academic Performance”
  • Maxine Lieblich – “The Gender Gap in STEM”
  • Amr El-Azizi – “Fundamentalism in the Modern Age”
  • Sammie O’Reilly – “Autonomous Medical Choices and Adolescents”
  • Connor Kelly – “The Changing Hetero-Normative Sphere”

The students also viewed two official TED talks, according to the district.

Hesse and Rawson said they were pleased with the event's outcome.

“Young people have a deep interest in many things and it is such a great opportunity for students to explore their interests and have a forum to present their findings,” Rawson said. “The more kids can communicate with others, the closer we can become as a community.”

According to the district, the girls plan to organize a second event next year and hope others will continue the idea once they graduate.

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