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Student Voices: Stepping on the Red Carpet at TED Headquarters

Josefino Rivera has shared via the AASSA blog his and his students’ journey with TEDx before:

Beginning of December, three of his students were invited to present at the TED Headquarters in NYC. Take the time to listen to these young women and hear their voices, their insight and their ideas.


“The ‘F’ Word”, Analia Wu: In this talk, Analia Wu offers an alternative interpretation of the word “failure” arguing that too often we attach a taboo to failing and instead failure should be something we embrace. She starts her talk with three vignettes of people that seem like failures–one that was expelled from school, one that studied for a PhD for three years but never received it, one that had learned a language for five years as well but still not speaking it fluently–and proceeds to unpack their failures arguing that they helped to lead to their successes, the last of the vignettes being herself on the TEDx stage giving that talk. Analia Wu (@wuanalia) is an Argentine-born Chinese girl who lived half of her life in Argentina and the other half in China. She speaks Chinese Mandarin, English and Spanish. She graduated from the IB World School Asociacion Escuelas Lincoln in 2016 and currently attends the University of Michigan.


“Feminism Starts with You”, Gabriela Shimako: In this talk, Gabriela Shimako debunks stereotypical ideas of feminists as angry women with hairy armpits and argues that we all can and should be feminists because inequality between the sexes continues to exist.

Gabriela Shimako (@GabiiShimako) is Brazilian but moved to Argentina a few years ago. She speaks Portuguese, Spanish, and English. She graduated from the IB World School Asociacion Escuelas Lincoln in 2016 and is currently applying to universities in South America.


“Language and Thought”, Petrina Nomikou: In this talk, Petrina Nomikou explicates the inextricable link between language and thought, claiming that we can’t conceive of ideas without the language for them. She provide several examples from multiple languages around the world.

Petrina Nomikou (@petrinanom) is Greek but has been living internationally for most of her life. She speaks many languages including Greek, Spanish, French, and English. She currently is a senior at the IB World School Asociacion Escuelas Lincoln.

Quote from Petrina: “Giving my talk on the iconic red circle was a dream come true. The minute I stepped on stage, I was greeted with curious faces eager to listen to what I had to say. The atmosphere at TED HQ, as well as during the intense content seminars in the months prior to the event, was absolutely incredible. Going into this experience, I always felt that by being 17 I didn’t really have much to offer to the world around me; I didn’t really think that any of my ideas could make an impact. TED Ed Weekend changed my mind; from day one at the headquarters, TED staff would approach us during the day and ask us about our talks with inquisitiveness, wanting to learn by us. Experts who had been working at TED for years were interested in our ideas. At TED I felt valued, like my opinions and ideas mattered, which made me realize one simple thing: everyone out there is an expert in something you know little or nothing about. It is imperative that instead of waiting for our turn to speak, listen to each other and substantiate each other’s ideas. Only in this way can we make a difference. Here’s to ideas worth spreading! ”


Josefino has over 9 years of experience in international school settings including California, USA; Rome, Italy; Bonn, Germany; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and currently Sofia, Bulgaria.

For Josefino, TED-Ed and TEDx brought three important realms of his life together: developing student voice, sharing ideas worth spreading, and making global connections. He has organized 4 TEDxYouth events, facilitated 3 TED-Ed Clubs with students from grades 4-12, and is a TED-Ed Innovative Educator. Three of his students were invited to speak on the TED Stage.

Originally from the Philippines, Josefino grew up in California and received his BA in English at the University of California, Santa Barbara and MA in Education at Stanford University. When not teaching, he enjoys playing the cello, taking photos, and learning languages


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