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BHS student adopts a unique approach to senior project

Belmont High School senior Kaleb Brown and Principal David Williams sat down last week to review Brown's plans for a TEDx Talk he will be hosting for the public on Saturday, May 26. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
May 09, 2018
BELMONT — Belmont High School student Kaleb Brown's senior project will be a unique informational opportunity for people of all ages to enjoy, as he hosts a TEDx Talk later this month.

The mission of the TED programs (Technology, Entertainment and Design) is to present "ideas worth sharing" and the TEDx Program was then created to bring communities together through the sharing of ideas and information on a local level.

Brown said he attended a TEDx Talk in Bedford a few years ago and took away so much from the experience that when it came time to develop a senior project last fall, he decided to try and bring TEDx to Belmont.

"I polled around to find out topics people would be most interested in then started lining up speakers," said Brown.

He first had to apply for a licensing agreement with TEDx though and he said that in itself was a true learning experience.

"I had to fill out an application that explained the direction of the talk and who I was in leading it so no one misuses the platform of TEDx," he explained.

Typically a TEDx Talk has six to seven presentations of approximately 18 minutes each, which address a variety of topics. There will also be a few pre-recorded TEDx talks shown from previous presentations made all across the United States and beyond. Brown is in the process of confirming all who will be presenting live that day but so far, his event will cover Creativity in the Arts and Education, Mindfulness in Communication, Climate Change in the Ski Industry, and Mental Health.

While most of the presenters are professionals in their field, Brown will have classmate Jacob Bowser speaking on Mental Health.

"He's been involved in raising awareness about mental health here in school, and since he's involved in that initiative I thought his would be a good perspective to present on the subject," Brown said.

BHS Principal David Williams is quite proud of Brown's work to bring such an innovative community-based event to the school.

"This has been impressive. Kaleb contacted TED and went through the licensing process all on his own," Williams said. "For me, as a principal, this is also exciting because it opens the school up to the broader community as an educational event. Schools today seem to be isolated but they really should be more attached to the community as a whole and TEDx helps do just that."

And while TEDx licenses are for a one-day only event, Brown has laid the groundwork for future TEDx Talks at the school.

"Once you get a license, they encourage you to apply for a renewal to hold other TED Talks. I'll be off at college though so I've been speaking with the juniors to see if any of them may be interested in carrying this on," said Brown.

Nearly seven months of planning will culminate on Saturday, May 26, when the public is invited to join him from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the Belmont High School Cafeteria to hear the presentations. Under the licensing agreement TEDx Belmont is limited to 100 attendees so Brown asks that people register in advance through www.ted.com/tedx/events/29086 or visit the TEDx Belmont Facebook page where information on speakers and a link to the registration page is also available.

"No matter what someone's background is, I think they'll find something of relevance between the subject matters being presented and their own lives," said Brown.

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