Speakers Chosen for District 228 TedxYouth Event

Speakers Chosen for District 228 TedxYouth Event
By: Melanie Gangolf, Patch
View the original article here. 

Sharing ideas is the mission for the TED organization. If you have never heard of TED, just google it and you will be amazed. TED is a non-profit lecture series whose goal is to spread new ideas. TED Talks as they are referred to, take place all over the world and have been downloaded on YouTube over 1 billion times and counting. The TED corporation allows individuals and groups to host their own "Talks" which they are referred to as TEDx Talks. In order to host a TEDx Event, the organizer must apply for a license and it is not an easy process.

Annais Gangolf, a junior at Oak Forest High School, applied for and received her first TEDx license in early 2018. Her event took place in June 2018 with 6 speakers. "My first TEDx event was so inspiring, I wanted to bring the TEDx experience to my high school," Annais Gangolf said. She has partnered with Bremen High School District 228 to bring TEDxYouth@OakForestHighSchool to the community.

"This is my first year with the District and I had heard from many students and staff about how they'd like to see and participate in a TEDx event," says District 228 Public Relations Specialist, Jamie Bonnema. "Many students told me they first heard about TEDx through the event Annais Gangolf held in the summer and so I was so happy to hear she was willing to bring the opportunity to our District. I'm always amazed by the wonderful ideas our students and staff have. I am excited for the community to have the opportunity to be inspired by them as I frequently am."

In order to pick the speakers for the event, District 228, wanted to give all its students and staff an opportunity at the honor. They advertised for the chance to give a TEDxTalk. The applicants were required to give a synopsis of what their "Talk" would be about and what their "Idea worth spreading" was.

The TEDx Team had a difficult job of picking the speakers because all the applicants were great. In the end, 6 speakers were chosen. They are now preparing for the big event which will take place at Oak Forest High School on February 15, 2019. The speakers will consist of 3 students and 3 staff members all from District 228. They are all amazing with diverse and interesting topics. The official speakers of the TEDxYouth@OakForestHighSchool will be:

  • Nathan Ryan, Tinley Park High School (student) - Evolutionary Anthropology and how more youth can get involved with science
  • Veronica Almazan, Bremen High School (student) - How sharing difficult narratives can help others
  • Melodie Slaughter, Hillcrest High School (student) - How to look at and appreciate disabilities across a broader spectrum
  • Dan Chambers, Oak Forest High School (staff)- The connection between visual arts and quantum physics
  • Mary Rose Bernas, Bremen High School (staff)- The use of failure to build a solid foundation, specifically speaking to technology
  • Selime Baftiri Ballazhi, Tinley Park High School (staff) - How to appreciate Diversity as a whole


TEDxYouth@OakForestHighSchool will take place on February 15, 2019 at 6:30pm in the cafetorium of Oak Forest High School. It should be a wonderful event for the district as well as the community. If you would like to attend, tickets are first come - first serve, but only 100 people will be allowed to attend. This is a TEDx rule. So mark your calendars because you won't want to miss it.

TEDx Event Informational Graphic