Howell High School students and staff spoke, performed, and inspired during their second annual TEDx event.

Nine students held the spotlight, Wednesday night, at the Rod Bushey Performing Arts Center at Howell High School. TED is an acronym for Technology, Engineering, and Design where idea-makers can spread their knowledge in the form of short talks. TEDx events, like last night’s, are organized by the community to spark conversations.

HHS Senior Cas Morris led off the night with a speech about defining generational gray areas that pointed out the core issues of bullying when you look different from others. Junior Madeline Webb, a vegetarian, pleaded to the mankind’s frugavore nature and shared the dangers, consequences, and the non-necessity of eating meat. A frugavore is an animal that lives off of fruits, vegetables, roots, nuts, and seeds.

Sophmore Rya Kirchberg and Senior Paige Van Gorden touched on the topics of cell phone usage and screen-time used in education. Kirchberg encouraged people to try using them less, and how there are many health and mental benefits to be had from doing so. Van Gordon continued the discussion, adding into it the amount of classroom time that is spent working off of Chromebooks, projectors, and smart boards,and how this can be dangerous to kids beginning to go to school.

Speaking on the topic of Empowering Women in STEM was Junior Morgan Carstensen. Carstensen, who said that she was once ashamed of her love for robotics, is now fighting to let girls of all ages know they can break the stereotypes.

Senior Grace Snell in her speech, “Anyone Can Be an Artist,” encouraged the audience and shared how drawing was an escape that helped her get through a difficult time in her life. Liv Roland performed a spoken word performance of her original poem, “Society.”

International student Darko Stavrev talked about the difficulties of moving away from home and your friends, and the small things he does to lift himself when he’s feeling down. Junior Sharon Kwan talked about “The Full Potential of Knowledge” and encouraged attendees to be active learners, to never stop being curious, and to leave the world better than they found it.

The night ended with a speech from Howell teacher Jay McDowell, and his perspectives of life following a cancer diagnosis. His advice? To use each day to try and bring some joy and kindness to the people in your life.

The event was hosted by students Holly Humphries and Allison Mitter, and featured performances from the both the flute choir and percussion band throughout the evening. (MK)