NHS provides interesting topics through Ted Talks

Maya Calderon, Staff Writer

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From an explanation on the seven heavenly virtues to a discussion about caves, students covered a variety of topics at this semester’s TED Talks event, held in the Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, Nov. 8.

“The best experience in doing this was getting really into the topic, getting passionate about it, and learning more about it,” said senior Gabby Ambayec. “Afterwards it felt really great to know that people heard what I had to say.”

Ambayec is President of Vista’s National Honor Society (NHS), the club that organized and put on the event. As one of the speakers, she stressed the idea about “being the first” in her presentation. One of her main goals in addressing this topic was to send out a message: as young high school students, “we are obligated not to be stagnant, but to create new changes.” She further explained that this is an important theme in her personal life. Coming from a background of firsts, Ambayec’s family was the first to come to the U.S. from the Philippines. In fact, she even emphasized her message by being the first one to speak for the TED Talks event.

TED Talks are a fun way to learn new things from fellow students. I’d like to recommend attending or actually doing a TED Talk next semester. It gives an outlet for discussing a topic you’re passionate about.”

— Kyra Asprec

“When I watched Hidden Figures for the first time, I thought ‘wow, Katherine Johnson is a strong, independent woman. She is one of the first to really do what she did.’ That’s where I got the idea from, really.”

While Ambayec utilized and alluded to a historical film in her presentation, others incorporated information that they learned in class. For instance, senior Annabelle Werner used facts from AP Environmental Science and statistical strategies from AP Statistics to demonstrate her presentation on plant-based diets. Joey Rogers, a senior and one of the speakers at the event, also used ideas from AP Physics and AP Calculus to develop his lecture on infinities.

“I chose to talk about infinities because they interested me,” explained Rogers. “I wanted to get more people interested in them.”

In addition to the people who spoke at TED Talks, there were many others who contributed to putting it on. The Masters of Ceremony were Abbey Murray and Cannon Crow, and JJ Gaines and Dana Villanueva committed themselves to being the greeters at the door. Gaines and Villanueva also collected the cans that were brought in for entry into the event. Even creative students were needed to execute TED Talks. While Melia Webster created the blocked letters that symbolized the event, Soleil Hampton designed the flyers. Photographers Kalob Baesen and Dana Villanueva took pictures of the speakers.

All contributors dedicated their efforts to putting on the TED Talks and encourage students to attend in the future.


“TED Talks are a fun way to learn new things from fellow students. I’d like to recommend attending or actually doing a TED Talk next semester. It gives an outlet for discussing a topic you’re passionate about,” explained junior Kyra Asprec, a member of NHS and a speaker at the event.

NHS has been asked many questions about the qualifications for being a part of these TED Talks, but they stress that anyone can speak and/or attend. This semester, even students that are not in NHS–or are a staff member–could have spoken, and it will be the same next semester. One must only be passionate about something, willing to fill out the application, and able to be school appropriate in their presentation.

“I plan on giving another talk next semester, as well,” Ambayec concluded. “What’s going to be different next semester is that we will have a lot more talks. We will probably have a staff member or just a guest speaker. From the students, there will probably be even more passion behind them than what we saw on Wednesday.”

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NHS provides interesting topics through Ted Talks