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The Fourth Estate

The Student News Site of Laguna Blanca School

The Fourth Estate

The Sixth Annual TEDxLagunaBlancaSchool

The TEDx elective produces the event with a team of dedicated and hardworking students. Together, under the guidance of faculty, the students collaborate to find speakers who would spark inspiration in the audience.

As the 6th annual TEDx event rolled around, students filled the gym in anticipation of the speakers. The TEDx team filled the stage with figures Bridget Kyermateng,  Jim McClintock and Leslie Zemeckis, as well as student speakers including Milton Lopez, Ada Ray and Griffin Rick. The speakers shared their personal stories that furthered the theme of the event, “SPARK.”

“Spark is inspired by how one idea worth sharing can ignite a chain reaction. ‘Spark’ encapsulates our passion for exploring the vast unknown of unvoiced thoughts and ideas. Collectively, as a class, we did a class poll, and everyone came up with themes, and we narrowed it down to ‘Spark’” curation team leader junior Dania Zamudio said. 

One of the three executive producers, senior Regina Lujan said, “We wanted the theme to make our audience feel motivated to make a difference in the world when they left at three o’clock, and the word really encapsulates that. To take the first step towards change, to spark kindness, to ignite something within themselves.”

Speakers are chosen meticulously according to the theme of the event. Since this year’s theme was “SPARK”, each speaker was chosen to spark a change in people’s understanding of the world and themselves. 

Bridget Kyeremateng, a global storyteller, strategist and cultural enthusiast, spoke about her experience as a Black woman in the U.S. 

“I lived in Santa Barbara for 4.5 years during my tenure at UCSB, and I was extremely observant of the racial and wealth disparity of UCSB and the city of Santa Barbara and ​​I wanted to bring light to this community that there is a plethora of people and [unique] identities.” 

Speakers help to promote a certain message in each of their presentations. 

“Try new stuff, don’t specifically cage yourself into one thing, just be open,”  junior Milton Lopez said.

Another student speaker, senior Griffin Rick said, “I aimed to empower my generation to identify and actively contribute to reconstructing a healthcare system that prioritizes equity and inclusion in our society,.”

Both Milton and Kyeremateng appreciate the courteous treatment from the TEDx staff members. “Their energy and enthusiasm for the event and our conversations made me feel so welcomed,” Kyeremateng said. 

“Even though I was a student, I was treated like any other speaker there. Everything went well and they were all nice,” Milton said. 

TEDx is a student-led event where students have the opportunity to connect with their community and have real-world experience through a semester-long class.

“We saw TEDx as a fantastic opportunity to give students a real-world, high-stakes, 18-week project-based learning experience that culminated in a transformational community event,” Head of Upper School Anna Alldredge said. “TEDx aligns so beautifully with Laguna, in that we are a school focused on a balance of STEM and Humanities and a school that emphasizes community and connection.”

 Scholarship, Character, Balance and Community can be found in the TEDx elective. “Having students be the leaders and coordinators of that is a phenomenal experience, and they gain invaluable life skills by navigating the complexities of putting on this event,” Alldredge said.

The students in the TEDx class work over the course of a semester in order to produce the large-scale event. Faculty members who lead the program include 6th Grade Instructor Alison Armstrong, Spanish Instructor and Educational Opportunity Advocate & Dept. Chair Michelle Fink, TEDx Instructor & Summer@Laguna Asst. Director Katherine Niksto and 5th Grade Instructor Jill Sonbudtasan.

Students are split up into teams including the executive team consisting of Regina Lujan, Lily Rice and Danica Damiani. The business development team made up of Jinling Wang, Serena De Ponce, Spencer Hlavaty and Paloma Lujan. 

The design team includes of Siena Wyatt, Cierra Nervo, Lucy Wang, Milla Hirsh and Jack Garcia. The communications team is made up of Caroline Kenny, Carson Stewart, Chloe Gidney and Peyton Gimbel. Members of the operations team are Sarah Woodhouse,Dakota Risley and JJ Stone. The curations team include Cyanne Blabey, Dania Zumudio, Sydney Fisher and Lila Foster.  Each has a specific role in the making of the event.

“Business is really chaotic at the beginning, sending out emails, going to pitches with companies like SONOS, Chevron, Mosher Foundation, SB Womens Club, etc,” Regina said. “Design is pretty busy all year, designing the logo, brainstorming for interactive galleries, stage design, foyer, then they make the lanyards and pamphlets.” Regina said. 

 Curation is also always super busy, they are always communicating with our speakers. Operations is also pretty busy, they do all the logistical aspects of the event, tech, sound, recording, stage, tables, food, booths.”

Regina elaborated on the commitment of her specific role as the executive director saying, 

“The week however, is super chaotic for the execs, I couldn’t even tell you what I was doing but there are thousands of little details that go unnoticed that execs do,” she said. 

“We make the MC script that everyone uses, answer questions, create the greenroom for the speakers, run the dress rehearsal, communicate with the tech team, help design[;] this year[,]  I was the student lead on the 5th-grade dance with the help of [instructors Jenifer Carney, Andra Wilson and Michelle Finck and Laguna parent Jamie Lopes to pick out short films, the list goes on and on.”

Dania shared a rough timeline of the process, “Within the first two weeks of classes, we select a theme collectively as a class.”

The curations team quickly begins to review applications and recommendations. They carefully choose speakers that they think will best fit the theme. They also coach and support the selected speakers as they craft their talks. The day before the event, a speaker rehearsal allows speakers to polish their talks and get comfortable with the stage.

“I think TEDx is really valuable to our community because you hear all new ideas through people’s experiences, trials, errors, and how they maneuvered their way through obstacles and tribulations and everything in between,” Regina said.

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Sofia Ramirez
Sofia Ramirez, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Sofia is a current junior who is in her third year of Journalism. In her second year she took up the postion of Lifestyle Editor and later grew into her role as Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Fourth Estate. Sofia has a passion for writing articles on social justice along with other various opinion articles. When outside of the classroom Sofia loves immersing herself in the world of literature.
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Lyla Bollag, Staff
This is Lyla's second year at The Fourth Estate. They write articles for the web and will now be writing articles for the magazine. Lyla enjoys writing about art, music, mental health, and science. In their spare time, they write fiction and nonfiction, draw, read, and buy new books. play guitar and listen to music daily, and are always looking at ways to better the health of their mind and body.
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