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TEDxErie Brings Youth Voices to the Stage

TEDxYouth@Erie is giving teens the opportunity to experience a realistic TED talk event, located in McDowell Intermediate High School’s Little Theatre.

TED is a nonprofit organization that is devoted to spreading ideas in the form of short, powerful talks. It began in 1984 as a conference where technology, entertainment and design were covered as topics, but now has expanded to cover all subjects in over 100 languages.

TED believes that there is no greater force to change the word than that of a powerful idea. The organization wants to provide the platform for thinkers, visionaries and teachers to share ideas with the world, so people can strive to create a better future.

Jonathan D’Silva, a patent attorney at MMI Intellectual Property, is responsible for TEDx coming to Erie. “I had some free time, and I figured I wanted to do something, so I got the license,” D’Silva said. “We are inherently storytellers. [TED talks] is not any different. It’s just a little more structured.”

TEDx is a different event from the regular TED because instead of being run by TED itself, it is run by an individual or organization in a particular city. The x in TEDx acts like a variable in a math problem, where you can insert any city to create a TED-like event. This way, TED talks can reach as many people as possible.

After successfully running two TEDxErie events, D’Silva decided to try something a little different. He chose to do another TEDx, only this time it was just for youth. All the speakers are teens, and McDowell students run the entire program.

“When I first saw it, I thought it would be a really interesting way to get kids more involved in the whole program,” D’Silva said. “I like giving young people the opportunity to do what you want. People get this idea that only certain people can do things, and my point is anybody can do this.”

Corey Eisert-Wlodarczyk, a junior at McDowell, eagerly jumped at the chance to be one of the eight selected speakers who will share their ideas of its theme “Don’t Give Up The Ship” at TEDxYouth@Erie.

“I really like public speaking, and I think storytelling is one of the most important things you can do in life,” he said. “[TED] is super reputable and internationally known, so I thought it would be cool and something I would be into.”

Eisert-Wlodarcyzk is choosing to speak about his experience with loss. “Tragedy and loss are universal, but they don’t define you. It matters how you react to it. You have to find the silver lining in every cloud and realize that bad things are going to happen, but you can turn them around and let them impact your life in a different way.”

Other speakers will be interpreting the theme of “Don’t Give Up the Ship” by talking about topics ranging from coming out as gay to parents and the idea of silent bullying, to dealing with grief and being a teen mom.

Tickets for the event on April 29 are available online at or at the Little Theatre at 3022 Caughey Road beginning at noon. The event will begin at 1 p.m.

About Trojan Times Staff

Trojan Times Staff

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