"Great minds discuss ideas," a line commonly attributed to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, captures the ethos of the 8th graders' TED Talks. At the end of their second trimester Language Arts studies, every eighth grader presents a four-six minute TED Talk on a topic about which he or she feels passionately. True to the TED Talk format, students confidently and candidly share their beliefs and passions with their audience without reading from notes or memorizing a script.
Some students explored questions of philosophy and human psychology with their presentations entitled, "The Importance of Happiness," "The Power of Kindness," "The Meaning of You," "Why Laughter is the Best Medicine," "Self Love," and "What is Human Nature?". Other students addressed critical issues of the 21st century including "Gun Control," "Poverty," "The Dangers of Plastic," "How We Can Change Our Genetic Predispositions," "The Sickening Reality Behind Puppies," "Kneeling During the National Anthem," "Single Sex Education," and "Global Warming: What Does It Mean To You?". Students also shared and even demonstrated their specific passions for baseball, basketball, Philadelphia sports teams, dancing, acting, gymnastics, Irish Dance, competitive cheer, and the outdoors. Some shared how personal experiences of traveling to places like New Zealand or to Japan to visit family gave them new perspectives, while others candidly shared difficult personal experiences and how they helped them grow in resiliency and empathy. One TED Talk even simulated what to do during a Zombie Apocalypse attack!
Beyond exhibiting confidence as public speakers, the Class of 2018 beautifully demonstrated the school's tenets of respect, responsibility, and compassion; students treated each other and their disparate perspectives with respect, challenged each other to take responsibility for addressing the challenges our society currently faces, and showed compassion for others, even to the point of tears, when touched by a personal story or compelling fact. As our eighth graders enter the last trimester of their St. Anne's education and prepare for the responsibilities and opportunities awaiting them in high school and beyond, it remains abundantly clear that these "great minds discuss ideas" that have the power to change the world for the better.
Not all of the presentations were recorded; the videos are a sampling of those that Mrs. Bromley was able to record.