This week’s Lion’s Roar is brought to you by Michael Guinness, who has supported students over the last five years with the organisation of TEDxBritishSchoolManila conferences.
Coming up on 30 March is the fifth TEDxBritishSchoolManila conference. Six years ago, two Year 12 students Jan Sy and Maddy Teh raised the idea of organising a student led TEDx conference at BSM. From that point on, this student led initiative has continued to flourish and grow. Now with the conference in its 5th year, it is just one of many remarkable legacies create by BSM students that have and will continue to have a positive influence on not just the school overall, but on the individual students involved within it.
Many of you may be familiar with TED talks through their presence in both the news and on social media such as YouTube. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design and the TED talks are held at conferences around the world with the mission of spreading ideas. TEDxBritishSchoolManila is one of many independently organised TED-like events. The students who organise the event have to apply for licence from the TED organisation to host the event themselves and it therefore belongs to them and not BSM, a truly student-led initiative.
To become a member of the TEDxBritishSchoolManila team, students from Years 10 and 11 are invited to take part in an interview process. This takes place in Term 3 ready for the next academic year’s conference. They go through a rigorous process in which students have to apply for particular roles on the team and then in the interview are expected to think on their feet about how they would confront a challenging situation, such as a speaker withdrawing or a member of their team not doing their work. This questioning encourages students to be reflective, holistic in their thinking and consider their own and others wellbeing. The aim of the process is to find those students for whom organising the conference will have a real impact on the school, other students, but most importantly themselves.
Hosting a TEDx conference is a fantastic opportunity for our students. It gives them the chance to take on responsibilities, handle challenging situations and act as a team in a real-world setting. Students are divided into five teams each led by their own vice-president: finance, brand, experience, production and speakers which are then managed overall by the president of the event. Each team member has their own job description and responsibilities, just like they would in a real-world organisation. That is mostly because in the case of TEDx this is real world. The conference is real, the attendees are real and the speakers delivering the TEDx talks are all experts in their field. Students are therefore challenged to help the experts in the crafting of their TEDx talk, raise sponsorship with both local and international companies and run a selection process to narrow down the applicants and find the 100 attendees they are allowed to have at the conference.
Running a TEDx conference is a demanding experience but the rewards are great. The students who have been involved in TEDxBritishSchoolManila over the last five years have been able to use their experience to stand out from the crowd in college applications and job interviews. They speak highly of the lessons they learned: the value of developing skills in managing events, understanding the need to have contingency plans ready, adjusting the language used when speaking to different stakeholders and, perhaps importantly time management and organisation.
This year’s conference has been led by Amanda Dee, a Year 12 student who also worked on the 4th TEDxBritishSchoolManila conference. She and her team have pulled together some outstanding speakers who will help the attendees to embrace this year’s theme: Break the Box. To fund the event nearly Php 200,000 has been raised in sponsorship and the long list of applicants has had to be carefully whittled down to the 100 lucky attendees (who come from both inside and outside the school community). This year’s speakers include:
Brian Cu – President of Grab Philippines
Lisa Mauja – CEO of Ballet Manila
Mon Garilao – Awarding-Winning Film Director
Eric Dee – COO of Foodee Global Concepts
This year we also are very excited to welcome back an ex-member of British School Manila staff – Roderick Peñalosa who having left the school just over three years ago, will be sharing the work from his PhD that he completed last year.
Running and attending a TEDx conference leads to great personal growth through the sharing of ideas and the networking of minds. For those not fortunate enough to be involved with this year’s event, we look forward to your application to either join the team or attend the conference in 2020!
Next Week is Week A.