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Students inspiring others at TEDxHonoluluED

By Yunji de Nies
Published On: Apr 10 2013 06:11:49 PM HST

Some of the state's top students are about to stage a groundbreaking event while teaching a lot of us about TEDx.

HONOLULU -

Brittany Amano is preparing for one of the biggest performances of her young life.

"For those of you who are older, I know you can remember times when you were younger and were told you couldn't do something because you were too young," said Amano.

The Iolani sophomore is spending hours on the stage getting a lot of feedback for her TEDx talk.

"Whenever I tell people I'm donig a TEDx talk, they all kind of stare at me and go, 'What's TED?'" said Amano.

TED started 25 years ago in California as a 4-day ideas conference and is now an international non-profit dedicated to "ideas worth spreading."

TEDx talks are held around the world.  Speakers have included Bill Clinton, Bill Gates and Bono.

"The nice thing about TED is that it bring people together and it sparks discussion," said Punahou School senior Shawn Rodan.

Rodan is organizing this entirely student-led event.  The theme is education.

"Hopefully, they'll gain a lot of new insights about how the idea of school and education and the classroom can be both redesigned and reimagined," said Rodan.

"This is like joining a cult, agreeing to do a TED talk," said Punahou School teacher Kris Schwengel.  "It's hours of preparation and they really want to make sure you get it right."

Schwengel is a teacher who will also be on stage knowing full well he could be upstaged by speakers half his age.

"I want youth to know that they have the power to do anything, and I want adults to know that they should believe in kids and support them, when kids have ideas that might sound crazy because they're kids," said Amano.

The 15 year old knows all about that.  She started volunteering at age 9 and by 12 had started a non-profit -- Hawaii's Future Isn't Hungry.  It has raised more than $500,000, but it hasn't always been easy.

"Have you gotten a lot of encouragement from the adults in your life?" said Yunji de Nies.  Amano responded, "Not in the beginning.  When I was 12 and I said I wanted to start my own non-profit, they were like, 'Yeah, you can do that -- after you graduate college.'"

But Amano didn't wait and she's hoping through this talk others won't either.

"It's fun but it's also stressful, but I know that after I do my talk, it's gonna be really rewarding," said Amano.

TEDxHonoluluED is on Saturday, April 13 at Punahou School from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.  The tickets are sold out but you can watch it for free online.

Click here when you want to watch the TEDxHonoluluED webcast on April 13 at 4 p.m.

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