OHS Talks for Ted

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The Ted Studio, hosted by Sederberg and her father.

Elena Scott, Editor

Eleven Olympia High School students recently had the opportunity to give their very own TedTalks at the TEDxOlympiaHighSchool event; organized primarily by Junior Whitney Sederberg and supervised by OHS Librarian Stacey Udo*. Sederberg gave her own talk at the 2019 event and decided to make it possible again for this school year. Udo places all the credit on Sederberg saying her own job is really just, “signing off on things,” when needed. The talks ranged across a variety of different topics, from coping with comedy, to eating disorders, to growing up as a person of color. 

In her TedTalk, “Let Me Tell You about this Amazing Body”, Phoebe Chartock, a Senior at OHS, opened up about her own relationship with food and body image. Her talk resonated with many people at the school, students and teachers alike. “Her vulnerability and [her] putting herself out there… I just felt really proud of her,” says Udo, who felt a personal connection to Chartock’s talk, as the mom of two young girls. During her talk, Chartock references the popular American Girl Doll book, The Care and Keeping of You. This connection provided a widespread relatability for her female audience, who grew up being impacted by this book. “One comment, from someone I’d never met or spoken to before, saying that she was grateful to me, was honestly one of the most rewarding things in the entire world,” says Chartock. She hoped her talk would bring more attention to this issue while combating the shame commonly surrounding it. “There is so much rebuilding we have to do around this projected narrative surrounding body image and disordered eating, and I believe that it begins on levels such as this, and by steadily just involving each other in the conversation,” says Chartock. 

Destiny Ainuu, a Junior at OHS, gave another powerful talk, “Diary of a Really Brown Kid”. Their passionate TedTalk focused on the experience of growing up as a person of color around predominately white peers, and the racism they have experienced in the school system. “It honestly didn’t hit me until after it was uploaded. I was kind of scared but now I’m kind of proud,” says Ainuu on the ability to speak on such a large platform. Ainuu calls out the school for ignoring the needs of their POC students on multiple occasions, with the hope that this talk will help changes be made in the future. “My voice is louder than anyone I know, but once I am in a room full of lawmakers, full of school board members, full of adults, full of teachers… my voice suddenly goes quiet,” Ainuu says in her talk. 

In previous years this event was hosted in the Performing Arts Center, here at OHS, but due to the pandemic it was instead hosted by Sederberg whose father does live events. Sederberg says the final studio, “turned out much better than [she] could have ever imagined.” With the help of West Fork Environmental, the studio also featured large TEDx letters, creating a professional filming area. “Despite a few bumps in the road, the community and the OHS staff were super supportive in helping us assemble the event,” says Sederberg. Due to the pandemic, the speakers were unable to talk to a live audience and only had a camera to speak to. However, families were able to watch the talks live in a separate viewing room, and all eleven of them can still be found and viewed on Youtube.

Finding hope in immigration, the fight to end malnutrition, and the rise of sleep disorders were just a few of the other topics spoken on. “I think that all of the speeches could have a place in school curriculums, and all of the speeches gave a sense of hope that is desperately needed during this crazy time,” says Sederberg. The students who spoke largely felt that OHS showcased the talks well, and brought attention to the speakers. Not only were many of the speakers grateful to be able to speak about issues they are passionate about, many students and teachers have messaged or approached them with gratitude for doing so.  

*Sederberg also wanted to note that Caroline Crutsinger-Perry, Henry Basanich, Grace Clarke, Andrew McDougall, Dwija Adamala, and Layla Lloyd were all crucial to this event. 

Speakers: Phoebe Chartock, Destiny Ainuu, Celeste Probart, Christine Zhang, Haneol Lee, Hyeseung Song, Liyana Alum, Lucy Mckay, Micheal Zhao, Teagan Youmans, Vindhya Adamala