TEDx Monta Vista partners with Computer Science Club for first speaker event of the year


Claire Chang

Computer Science Club presidents seniors Carol Wang and Ruoyun Zheng pace back and forth in a small corridor next to the theater stage. They’re talking over each other in loud voices, rehearsing their portion of a TEDx talk that, in 10 minutes, will hopefully influence and encourage their audience of peers.

Seniors Ruoyun Zheng and Carol Wang rehearse for their TEDx presentation about developing the app DegreeBee. DegreeBee is an app meant to assist students with the college application and selection process.

“We wanted to make [our speech] inspirational for the audience, because [creating] an app is really daunting,” Zheng said. “We wanted to let the audience know that it was something they could do.”

Their speech highlighted their journey through the app-making process and all of the challenges they had to overcome while making their app DegreeBee, which serves as a center of information for college and career choices, with an emphasis on making the college selection process easier for students.

It was the first of four speeches that headlined the TEDx + Computer Science Club speaker event, which took place after school last Friday, Sept. 23.

“[The event] was important in making sure that the cause TEDx advocates for, which is spreading ideas that are important to the community, are able to be shared with audience members,” TEDx Monta Vista club president senior Shreya Parjan said.

Students of all grades attended the speaker event with notebooks and computers open, ready to learn. TEDx club president Shreya Parjan hopes that they were inspired by the speakers and their stories.

TEDx wanted to bring a topic that was important and relevant to students at MVHS and community members to the auditorium stage while educating them, and were able to do so through their computer science theme.

They presented four different speeches to their audience of MVHS students: Wang and Zheng, Oindril Dutta, junior Saurav Pahadia and Jessica Su. Each told a personal story of hardship but also of success, and outlined how they were inspired to pursue CS even through failure and disappointment.

“We hope that [the students] were able to come [to get] inspired, and that it’s not just because [the speakers] were born with this innate talent. They got there through a lot of hard work,” Parjan said. “And here [at MVHS] we don’t really seem to value making mistakes as much as we should.”

This topic was somewhat touched on by Pahadia, the third speaker,whose speech was centered around the topic of failure. In his presentation, he highlighted ways he has failed, and the ways he learned and bounced back from those mistakes.

Junior Saurav Pahadia speaks about the failures in his academic career. He wanted his audience to understand that learning from their mistakes is what makes you a better person and student.

“I want my audience to understand that it’s okay to fail. Failing is not the bad part,” Pahadia said. “Not learning from your failure is what’s wrong. If you learn from your failures a whole new realm of possibilities opens up for you and you can do whatever you want in your life.”

“Overall, the TEDx officers considered their first speaker event of the year to be a success. Their goal is to become more active in engaging with the MVHS community and with their club members through more theme-oriented speaker events like these in the future.

“Keep an eye out for the new TEDx,” Parjan said. “We want TEDx to be part of the MVHS community and we’re going to keep working towards that.”