As a way for students to pursue their passions, Falcon Early College High School world geography teacher Samantha Hardwick decided to start a TED Ed Club at the school.

An average of about 25 students attend the meetings, held in her portable classroom building. The gatherings are usually scheduled each Wednesday, but they gathered Thursday due to testing.

TED stands for technology, entertainment and design, its website said.

This was the students’ fourth meeting. Although they were not invited to speak Saturday, Hardwick is encouraging her students to attend. For now, they are preparing for a future TED event, Hardwick said.

The students have selected what they want to talk about and they were fleshing out who their audience is going to be, how they are going to discuss their topics and what they want to leave the audience with, she added.

The talks will last three to 18 minutes, but Hardwick is encouraging them to keep it to 10 minutes.

She said the club came about after she saw an ad on Facebook. Hardwick said she didn’t realize how many freshmen, sophomores and juniors had seen TED talks and knew what they were.

“You have to go through an application process,” Hardwick said. “You have to go through webinar training before you receive approval.”

Topic-wise, she said she’s not allowed to restrict the students in any way.

One of her students chose Kendrick Lamar and is researching one of his songs and its meaning. There is another student who is considering speaking about sexual assault and its effects on teenagers.

“We’re covering everything,” Hardwick said.

Carlos Medellin, a 15-year-old sophomore, Trinity Wambolt, a 17-year-old junior and 16-year-old sophomore Reuben Woods said they are enjoying the club and they all decided to join for different reasons. They added that the club has met their expectations.

Medellin said he was looking for a place where he could talk about things he cares deeply about.

“Usually there aren’t that many programs that allow for such different ranges of interest and I was just ready to talk about stuff that I’m really interested in,” he said.

“Every single TED talk that I’ve seen has a completely fascinating story,” Medellin added. “I just kind of wanted to be a part of it, maybe not in such a big way as some of the people that have talked before, just to know I’ve done something similar.”

If You Go
  • What: TEDx Optimist Park, an independently organized TED event.
  • When: 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
  • Where: University of Texas of the Permian Basin Library Lecture Hall, 4901 E. University Blvd. The theme is “Moonshot Madness.”
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