For seven years, TEDxDeerfield has provided residents of the Pioneer Valley with the chance to share topics they are passionate about with the community. This year’s event is in the works, as organizers and speakers prepare to present on their topics under the theme of “entanglement.”
This year’s event was organized by a committee of ten students and advisors including English Teacher Elizabeth Mott and Spanish Teacher Jaime Correa, as well as Assistant Head of School for Strategy and Planning David Thiel, who helped organize the first TEDxDeerfield event in 2012.
To prepare for the event, the committee is working with the speakers, communicating with the community, and coordinating the technicalities of the event. The event allows communities to understand complicated, relevant ideas, and develop their perspectives by listening to the experiences and opinions of others. In the past, Deerfield community members have broadened their horizons, listening to discussions ranging from “The Risk of a Dying Cosmopolitan Ethic” to “The Power of Kindness.”
All talks are in-depth discussions on specific topics, presented in under 18 minutes. Speaker Angelique Alexos ’20, who will discuss the intricacies of journalism, commented, “Limiting [talks] to under 18 minutes really allows an audience to focus in on a certain topic… then glean a lot from listening.”
This year, the organizers are anticipating a high turnout that will exceed last year’s. They’re hoping to attract at least 600 listeners.
According to organizer Mr. Thiel, “The Academy sponsors the event and provides a lot of resources, but it’s designed to be by and for the entire local community.”
For this year’s event, TEDxDeerfield is welcoming twelve speakers: four members of the surrounding community and eight students from Deerfield Academy. In addition to the talks, TEDxDeerfield will also host four hands-on workshops led by career professionals and other engaging leaders. The diverse lineup of topics includes clandestine online trading in Cuba and the process of talking about suicide.
After the speakers were selected from a diverse pool, with an all-time high of 71 applicants, they began submitting a series of documents leading to the final script, including a researched outline, and several rounds of drafts.
Valerie Hetherington ’19, who delivered a talk about the Blockchain and Bitcoin under last year’s theme “re:define,” said, “I think it’s important for people to understand exactly what they’re talking about when it comes to new and exciting technology like that.”
She continued, saying that there is also value in learning how to express what you’ve learned: “There is a large difference between writing about a subject and communicating [it] verbally, facing an audience.”
As soon as the final scripts are submitted, students will begin to memorize and rehearse in preparation for the real event. The final presentations are similar to speeches, with slides permitted as visual aids.
TEDxDeerfield offers audience members and speakers an unparalleled opportunity for development of knowledge and growth. The event encourages members of the community to share ideas they are passionate about with the public, brings together diverse groups of captivated audience members from the Academy and the surrounding community, and enriches the community with varying perspectives and ideas.