The TEDxYouth@SHC student-leaders recently announced the speakers for the highly anticipated April 9 event. The second annual event features high school students from across the Bay Area including Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory, Oakland’s Bishop O’Dowd High School, San Rafael’s Marin Academy and San Mateo High School.
TEDxYouth@SHC celebrates the voices of the youth who struggle, flourish, grow and learn in the unique Bay Area landscape. As an independently organized TED event, TEDxYouth@SHC is entirely produced and presented by SHC students.
Student-leader Chris Sauvageau ’17 shares, “By hosting an all-teen TEDx event, we’re not only giving SHC youth, but students from across the entire Bay Area a chance to live our event motto, “Share Your Idea. Change the Conversation. Shape the World.”
Fellow student-leader Shalina Bulchandani ’17 reflects on the ways in which TEDxYouth@SHC connects Bay Area high school students with the global community, “TEDxYouth@SHC provides each speaker with the platform to share their message through their experiences, passions, beliefs, ideas and concerns. It allows for an increased ability for each speaker’s message to be heard by those across the globe. Through TEDxYouth@SHC, voices of teens and young adults from all over the Bay Area to share their concerns about the world with adults and peers who may not have otherwise have an opportunity to learn from their perspective.”
Jackie Foti is a senior at SHC and has lived in San Francisco her entire life. She participates in the track and field and cross country teams at SHC. She enjoys sports, hanging out with friends and reading—especially spiritual and self-healing books. She has a strong interest in the concept of happiness and fulfillment. She intends to continue her passion for this topic by majoring in psychology in college.
Kinga Hope Csikszentmihaly ’18
Kinga is a sophomore at SHC. She loves soccer, photography, music and solving the problems she sees in the world. When her little brother was diagnosed with autism, she developed a passion for changing people’s views on the disorder. Her family’s journey has not been easy. They worked hard to receive the diagnosis, jumping through the hurdles of the school system and therapy, and ultimately dealing with the barriers in communication that make relationships difficult. Throughout her family’s struggles, Kinga has developed a wonderful relationship with her brother and other amazing people in the autism community. She hopes her talk shows the world the often overlooked, unique, incredible side of people on the spectrum. She believes that raising awareness about the beauty of autism is the first step to opening opportunities for all people who are on the autism spectrum.
Janani Krishnan-Jha is a senior at San Mateo High School. At SMHS, she has served as captain of the Mock Trial Team, president of the Model UN Team, founder and president of the Speech & Debate Club, Club & Class commissioner, choir president/student director, executive member of the Renaissance Leadership Team, and publicity chair of the Writing Club. Outside of SMHS, she was honored with a 2015 National Scholastic Award in Writing at Carnegie Hall, she has interned for Congresswoman Jackie Speier, appeared in many local musical theatre productions (both on- and offstage), she has earned multiple awards in the realm of public speaking, and has performed in various venues across the Bay Area as an avid jazz vocalist. A passionate public speaker and practicing Hindu, she is thrilled to bring the issue of religious bias in high schools to a larger spotlight, and hopes to raise awareness about the growing problem while illuminating possible solutions. Janani plans to continue her advocacy next year as a member of the Class of 2020 at Harvard University.
Eric Wang is a senior at San Mateo High School where he has worked as the captain and secretary general of the San Mateo Math Team, executive manager of the Green Team, and both the founder and problem coordinator of the Middle-School Mateomatics Competition. He teaches problem solving techniques at his local middle school, contributes code to open-source software projects, and has conducted original research in stellar evolution and hyperdimensional geometry, currently in the process of publication. He has also participated in national-level competitions in linguistics, algorithms, and mathematics, performing strongly in each. In his free time, he writes in books, plonks around on his piano, and rambles at length about literature. As an agnostic, Eric has always been interested in how humans’ perceptions of the world are shaped by internal and external factors. He hopes to encourage people to examine the interactions between themselves and society.
Dylan Brown is a junior at Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland. Empowered to speak up about the effects of racism on not only his own life, but the effect it has on countless lives of black youth around the country, Dylan will share a message about the complexities of racial tensions youth of color are forced to confront in American society.
“I want my story to be heard, to not only resonate with my audience, but to call them to re-examine the role racial bias plays in their life. I want them to walk away with an understanding of what it is like to live in a society that will define who you are, and judge what you say, before you have even spoken one word.”
Tomás Saldaña-Mitre ’17
Tomás Saldaña-Mitre is a junior at SHC and has a developing passion for cycling and engineering which he hopes to combine in the future to make something really awesome. As a member of SHC’s Inquiry & Innovation inaugural class, he enjoys collaborating with his peers. Tomás spends a large portion of his free time riding bikes and researching cycling in the hopes of coming to a greater understanding of the sport that motivates many bicycling enthusiasts. He is also one of the few students who actually commutes to SHC via bike.
Carolyn Scott ’17
Carolyn Scott, a junior at SHC, has always possessed a passion for imagining, designing and building. She is drawn to both science, math and the arts, and she loves exploring the places where they overlap. Her talk will explore how the physical aspects of construction and design intersect with society and family. Carolyn has performed onstage as a singer and actor in SHC’s chorus and drama productions. She is a member of the cross country and track teams, and enjoys drinking tea and reading newspapers or novels in her spare time.
Riley Chagniot ’16
Riley Chagniot is a senior at SHC and was born and raised in San Francisco. She is a member of the softball team and the Spirit Rally Board Club at SHC. Riley enjoys listening to the classics, hanging out with friends, and watching classic comedies. She has found herself in comedy, and aims to make people happier and change the world through her comedic skills.
Vita Solorio-Fielder ’17
Vita Solorio-Fielder, a junior at SHC, spends her time obsessing over the college admissions process and analyzing the sexual implications of everything as much as she can. She is an editor of her school’s literary magazine, the host of their spoken word event, and is a member of the robotics team. For the past year and a half, she has developed an interest in sex education. She hopes to share her passion for the topic with all and perhaps teach a thing or two along the way.
Liliana Steeg ’16
Liliana Steeg is a senior at SHC. Deeply passionate about the prevalent social justice issues of poverty and homelessness, Lily will share her experience of actively working to address the issue through Warm Corazones, an organization she co-founded that distributes sleeping bags to those in need. Through this incredible experience Lily has learned not to be overwhelmed into inaction, but rather how to strive to make a difference in her community.
Carter Pauline Roa ’17
Carter Pauline is a junior at SHC who performs for the theatre and the choir programs. Her passion for the performing arts started when she was very young and hopes to perform professionally in the future. As a young girl was always described as independent and strong. This was an amazing compliment and she always questioned why some girls aren’t told the same. Her talk is inspired by the events that she witnessed growing up, and she’s thrilled to share the importance of developing strong, independent young women.
Michael Legon is a junior at Marin Academy in San Rafael, California. He is a dedicated jazz pianist who starting at the age of 9 and quickly took up the styles of great jazz musicians. He currently plays in a jazz trio called Blue News and performs at concert venues and parties all over Marin and San Francisco. It was through his work in his trio that he began teaching music at Cascade Melody Music School in San Rafael, teaching jazz to students of a variety of ages and skill levels. In his free time, he enjoys playing jazz piano, as well as discussing foreign films, classic literature, fashion and political philosophy.
Andre Menchavez ’17
Andre Menchavez is a junior at SHC and serves as the captain of SHC’s Dance Team. He is an advocate for HIV/AIDS education and volunteers at many events. Andre is currently training to become an ambassador for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. With this talk, Andre hopes to fight ignorance through education and challenge the stigmas around HIV/AIDS.
Rachel Yuen ’16
Rachel is a senior at SHC where she is actively involved in student council. Rachel’s friends describe her as a ball of non-stop energy. She spends much of her time outside school with her fencing club, and has had the opportunity to broaden her global outlook through national and international competitions. This year, through some of her classes such as Living and Dying and Prayer and Spirituality, she has learned to look at life in new and positive ways. Like many of her peers, she has endured ups and downs and is learning to love herself more and more everyday, and she hopes to inspire others to do the same. Aside from fencing and school, Rachel enjoys perfecting her skills in the kitchen, especially her bruschetta recipes.
Kelvin Sanders III
Kelvin Sanders III graduated from SHC in 2013, and he played football throughout high school career. He is currently taking classes at CCSF. He played football at City College for one year before being diagnosed with End-Stage Renal Disease (kidney failure). Thanks to Christine Buell, he is a kidney recipient and hopes to continue his daily young life. He enjoys sports, listening to music, and hanging out with family and friends. He hopes to spread awareness of kidney disease and similar illnesses while highlighting the importance of organ donation.
Christine Buell has been a teacher at SHC for twenty years. Originally hired as SHC’s speech and debate coach, she has taught in the Social Studies, English and Visual & Performing Arts departments. She currently serves as Assistant Principal for Student Life. When she is not attending SHC athletic events, performances or retreats, she is shuttling her two young daughters to and from their various after school activities.