Sixth Annual TEDxYouth@RVA Event Encourages “Fusion”

The sixth annual TEDxYouth@RVA will take place on Saturday, Nov. 16, in Collegiate School’s Hershey Center for the Arts. The general public is invited to hear a wide range of local speakers reflect on the theme Fusion.
Since last May, a group of Collegiate students enrolled in the senior Capstone class TEDxYouth@RVA have collaborated to plan this year’s free event, which will be held from 5-9 p.m. Students from Richmond-area high schools, including Highland Springs, Deep Run and Thomas Dale, will volunteer on the day of the event.

This year's theme, Fusion, reflects the blend of speakers and their experiences.  

Collegiate senior Rishika Pal, who is in charge of procuring the speakers, said developing the event, though challenging at times, has been worth it.

“It’s important that we’re creating something from scratch,” she said. “It’s hard, but it’s rewarding.”

Her classmate, senior Mary Grace Fleming, is responsible for the public relations and has reached out to nonprofits and area high schools to encourage people to attend the event. 

“It’s a lot of responsibility to plan something that will actually happen and impact people,” she said. “This experience has taught me things I’m actually going to do in the real world.”

Rhiannon Boyd, Collegiate’s senior Capstone coordinator, who co-teaches the senior Capstone class with Erica Coffey, Collegiate’s director of global engagement and inclusion, said she is excited for attendees who have only watched a TED talk on YouTube to see several in person. 

“There is an energy in the room that is hard to describe,” Mrs. Boyd said. “You can’t get that from a screen. Some things are better in person.”

Rishika agrees.

“The curatorial team worked really hard to have people leave the event with one speaker who resonates,” she said. “We want people to leave inspired.”

The individuals students researched and invited to speak are:
  • Douglas Powell/Roscoe Burnems, spoken-word poet
  • Jill Ware, movement artist and embodiment virtual reality researcher
  • Angelica Garcia, singer/songwriter
  • Charlotte Harrison, poet
  • Michael Roth, firefighter
  • PhotoSynthesizers, musicians
  • Charisma Jamison and Cole Sydnor, interabled couple
  • Ava McHugh, senior, James River High School
  • Alfonso Perez Acosta, visual artist
  • Austin Miles, artist
  • Reggie Gordon, director of human resources, Richmond 
  • Ali Safavi, CEO
  • Mayme Donohue, corporate attorney
  • Chris Cassella, University of Richmond senior
In addition, after the talks, attendees can participate in interactive sessions with astrophotographer Tyler Hutchison; dancer and choreographer Kevin LaMarr Jones; embodiment virtual reality researchers Embodied Empathy; and Collegiate junior and musician, 3D print guru and photographer Ethan Clark.

Mrs. Boyd and Rishika were interviewed by NBC12 reporter and Collegiate alum Jasmine Turner Perry ‘11 about the event. Watch the interview here.
Attendance to TEDxYouth@RVA is free, but registration is required here. For more information about the event, click here.