MOTIVATION: Twenty moving speakers participated in a TED Talk at the Fox Theater.
By Emily Hughes, Staff Writer
The historic Fox Theater was one of Riverside’s claims to fame for much of the mid-20th century, featuring the first screening of Gone With the Wind, appearances from the world’s major movie stars and music to last the ages. Unfortunately, economic problems caused the once-great theater to collapse in 1992. Within 20 years it decayed, its doors locked and theater lights turned off. In 2010, however, the improved Fox Performing Arts Theater was unveiled to the world, and since then, it has hosted numerous plays, comedy shows and concerts. In addition to these performances, the Fox Theater recently introduced something new: a TEDxRiverside event with the theme “Ovation for Innovation” that attracted students and adults alike from all over the city.
TEDx events consist of a series of stimulating presentations that are independently organized and feature inspiring people from local areas. This TEDxRiverside event highlighted a Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, an animatronics designer for Disney and a performance artist who painted an upside-down picture of John Lennon on stage.
Poly French teacher Mrs. Kristin Kund made it possible for many Poly students to attend this event. Kund obtained tickets for select Poly students, and each of those students were able to attend for free. “We had a variety of topics that were covered, so there was something for everyone,” she mentioned.
Subject matter varied from speaker to speaker, but all presenters attempted to inspire or leave an idea with their audience. Kermit Alexander, a former NFL player and a father of five adopted kids, told the audience that they “had the opportunity to learn from [his] mistakes.” Garner Holt, a man who described his job as making dreams come true, ended his speech with the life lesson to “never give up.” Artist Gregory Adamson asked the audience an invigorating question: “Who wants to be a grownup? I used to be one and it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.” Lastly, Giovanni Dubois, the founder of Latin American Media, ended his speech with this advice: “Don’t let fear dominate your path. Instead, say ‘yes’ to that voice in your heart.”
Although students missed class for the day, Poly student Nicole Vargas (11) believed that visiting this TED Talk was an entertaining alternative form of education. “I though it was a very great learning experience,” Vargas said, and she later mentioned that she enjoyed the speech by Grammy Award-winning artist Melissa Manchester. “She’s a songwriter, and I thought that what she said was very inspiring to me because I am also a songwriter,” Vargas explained.
Vargas wasn’t the only student that loved this TED talk; Poly student Jolie Carreon (11) also truly enjoyed it. Carreon could not choose her favorite speech, but she said that she loved hearing everyone’s stories.
There were also two Poly alumni who gave presentations at this TEDxRiverside event. One of the alumni, Jennifer O’Farrell, gave a speech on modern human trafficking. O’Farrell’s demonstration was one of Kund’s favorite presentations, and many students stated that they were moved by her talk. The other alumnus was Adam Young, a dancer with Cystic Fibrosis who has been in and out of rehabilitation for prescription drug abuse throughout his life. Young shared his story, stating, “I couldn’t change the fact that I was in pain, but I could choose whether or not to suffer.” Carreon found Young’s story the most motivational out of all the presentations.
At the end of the day, everyone gave their ovation for innovation.