By Staphany Hou

major contributors to planning the event and coming up with ideas. Then, Kvon Moezzi, an MTV star, introduced the first speaker, Nancy Aossey, who discussed her experiences as a volunteer for the International Medical Corps in Angola. Her message to today’s youth: “You are our best hope!”

Following Nancy was Saumi Shokraee, a sophomore at Dana Hills, who discussed his passion for space, Carl Sagan’s books, and the interconnectedness that all of us feel when we look at pictures of our world from outer space.

Next came Emma Simons-Araya, a singer and guitarist who began her speech with a punk rock performance. Emma touched on what the core of punk rock is – mischief and liberation, and proceeded to share the idea of “killing our idols,” making our role models human, removing our templates of how we should act or speak or think, and simply being ourselves.

Nigel Nisbet then came onstage and prompted everyone with the question: why do we learn math? He proceeded to explain how learning math should be rewiring our brain by looking beyond the surface and seeing what lies underneath and introduced a software for math education that he and others had developed called MIND Research Institute.

The next speaker was Akbar Khan, a junior from Salt Lake City, Utah, who started his own non-profit organization called Bags to Riches, which collects extra conference bags for the homeless, refugees, and underprivileged youth. Akbar’s story teaches us that the youth, too, can make a big impact on the world.
The first half of the conference closed with a pair of young skateboarders, Ethan Hall and Darious Abdollahi, who challenged us with looking at a park bench with a different perspective. While to us it may just seem like a place to sit, to a skateboarder it is so much more. Ethan and Darious went on to categorized skateboarding as an intersection of life, art and science, building upon the conference theme.

With that, the audience broke for lunch and exploration of the Idea Lab, located right outside the theater. The Idea Lab, sponsored by Toshiba, Google and other groups, included several stations where attendees could listen to new ideas and even try some for themselves. Nearby, a temporary skate park had been built, where local skateboarders did tricks up and down ramps and an iconic red X, standing for this TEDx event.

Back in the Yost Theater, the second half began with Morgan Shea, a 12 year old hip hop artist, who then performed with her youth dance grew, DragonBalls. Following Morgan, Matin Eshagi discussed his sudden “mirror moment” and the vigorous physical exercise and diet that he then pursued, teaching us all to have a positive mindset and believe in self empowerment.

Tim Ringgold, a music therapist, came next and taught the audience that playing music during childbirth reduces pain and anxiety in moms and babies during childbirth. His quote: “When the meds fail, the docs prescribe music!” Tim has been able to meet his patients inside music and its lyrics.

After Tim came Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, who discussed our resilience in solving problems and the importance of having diversity in cultures, economies, biology, and emotions. Dr. Nichols went on to show the audience the symbolism of the blue marble that everyone had received at the beginning of the conference’s second half. The blue marble stood for earth and our gratitude towards others; he urged us to pass this marble on to someone whom we appreciate!

Hannah Rose Prendergast, an accomplished musician, then shared her story about learning from Jon Hendricks and Wolfgang A. Mozart to be truly original, take chances, and be creative.

The last speaker of the afternoon was Niko Everett, who has worked tirelessly to empower women and girls around the world. She taught the audience to delete negative thoughts from our mind, to spend time with people who make us feel good, to tell people what we like about them, and to say “thank you” to compliments.

A successful day of idea sharing and speaking concluded with a raffle and rounds of thank you’s to all those who had put in so much time and effort to make the event possible. May next year’s TEDxYouthBommerCanyon be just as successful and just as inspiring!

For more information about this conference and to watch the speeches, please visit

Special thanks to OC Scholar staff members Irene Koo and Wendy Wei for attending this event with me!