TEDxYouth hosted by Abbey Park High School

TEDxYouth hosted by Abbey Park High School
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Mashaal Effendi

Mashaal Effendi is a postgraduate student at Sheridan College pursuing Public Relations - Corporate Communications.Mashaal has worked as a writer in film, television, theatre, advertising, communications, and even in speechwriting during his time as a Toastmaster.An avid reader, video game enthusiast, and musician ( who presently plays drums for a band called "The Downgrades"), Mashaal enjoys gathering experiences around Oakville, and is ecstatic to be on the team covering events that breathe life into the community.

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It was all about big ideas on Thursday as Oakville’s Abbey Park High School hosted it’s very own TEDxYouth conference.


Andrei Adam, organizing member grade 11 student at Abbey Park High School.Executive team of student organizers from Abbey Park High School. Photo Credit: Mashaal Effendi

There were 14 speakers on hand to give the well-known 15-minute talks that have made TED, which stands for Technology, Education and Design, famous.  Topics included everything from biases, body shaming and storytelling to gratitude, overcoming ADHD and even careers in STEM.

One such speaker was Alyissa Sheechoria, a senior at Craig Kielburger Secondary School.

“TEDx Youth really takes the opportunity to highlight important perspectives of different people in all communities,” said Sheechoria, who delivered a presentation on gratitude in the face of difficulty. “Most TED Talks are by adults and professionals but by attending a TEDx Youth conference, one would see speeches and stories otherwise unwitnessed on a daily basis.”

TEDxYouth differs from regular TEDx conferences in that the speakers are all students. Five high schools and two elementary schools took part in the conference officially titled TEDxYouth@AbbeyPark and roughly 100 spectators came to watch the diverse array of phenomenal presenters.

The theme for the event was “Innovative ways of thinking in an ever-changing world.”


Ellie Xu and Ariele Ainabe, senior students from Garth Webb Secondary School speaking about STEM. Photo Credit: Mashaal Effendi

The conference speeches were judged by the Optimist Club of Oakville and Ethan Parikh and Isaac Boutin received an award of $600 and $400 for first and second place respectively.

Andrei Adam, a Grade 11 student at Abbey Park organized the day-long event in tandem with his team of Abbey Park students.


“We’ve been working throughout the year to make this conference a reality,” said Adam. “There’s so many high achievers and teenagers that have a story to tell and what better way to share those than a TEDx stage?”

Dana Stubbard, Canadian world studies teacher and mentor to Abbey Park’s Model UN program was happy to talk about the phenomenal success and impressive feats of these high school students.

“TEDx is a natural medium for sharing expectations, academics, interests, and tapping into a base of latent curiosity that exists within students,” said Stubbard. “The students at Abbey Park are really inquisitive. Me and all the teachers are very proud of the team, and although I act as a facilitator and guide, this event was all them.”


Dana Stubbard, World Studies teacher at Abbey Park High School with TEDxYouth organizing team. Photo credit: Mashaal Effendi.

The conference had an impact on many students and schools around the community and as Ellie Xu and Arielle Ainabe, seniors at Garth Webb Secondary School put it: “TEDx provides a platform to effectively share ideas, and it puts students at the forefront of this intellectual discussion. It’s a great workout for ideas.”

To follow more news about the TEDxYouth@AbbeyPark, you can follow their social media accounts on Instagram and watch the speeches on their Youtube Channel.



Alyissa Sheechoria, a senior at Craig Kielburger Secondary School speaker on the topic “Ungrateful Gratitude.” Photo Credit: Mashaal Effendi



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