TEDxKids@SMU 2015: Unexpected

Thank you to the middle school attendees, high school hosts, chaperons, volunteers, partners and speakers for making the seventh annual TEDxKids@SMU conference the best yet!  This year we had 15 speakers and 17 lobby exhibits.  When curating the speakers, we asked ourselves what stories do we want to tell. What ideas do we want to spread?  We found some amazing speakers, over half of which are local. Dallas is a community of passionate, creative thinkers and doers; TEDxKids@SMU 2015 is a celebration of this collective.  Talks and performances from TEDxKids@SMU 2015 are posted online on the “watch” tab and hyperlinked below!

Check out pictures from TEDxKids@SMU 2015!

Session 1:

Joaquin Zihuatanejo | Street Poet | Write Club: Art of Teaching Students How to Write Their Wrongs

Miranda Wang + Jeanny Yao | BioCellection

Parish Episcopal School NASA Rover Team | Daunted & Lost? Roll On!!

Ryan Bones | Chiropracter | Dr. YOU: Understanding Your Very Own Superpower

Shaunessy Renker | Evolution of Music

Julia R. Barton | Editor, producer & writer | PRI

Tara Conner | Curiosity Saves the Cat

Trevor Douglas | American Idol and loves science

Session 2:

Brian Luna | Of Shame, Zippers, and Shooting Stars

Eliza Pillsbury | Finding Meaning, not Minotaurs: A Beginner’s Guide to Labyrinths

McKinney Boyd High School Living Roof Team

Lauren Bagwell | Let’s Flip the Golden Rule

Bobby Thakkar | Million Dollar Lemonade Stand

Katherine Allen | Catalyst Arts Movement | Be a Catalyst

Tania Luna | Surprisologist

About TEDxKids@SMU

TEDxKids@SMU is a one-of-a-kind experience and the first ever TED style conference for kids. Middle school students in 6th, 7th and 8th grade from across North Texas come to the Dallas City Performance Hall in the Arts District to engage with big ideas and great conversations. This day is dedicated to kids; adults are asked to sit in the balcony while high school volunteer hosts sit with the students on the main floor. During the breaks the energy and raw curiosity of 550 young minds all in one room is contagious: ideas are presented on stage then debated with the speaker, partners demonstrate the latest technology and teach creative expression, all the while future leaders are being formed. The experience is free of charge and in return each student gives 4 hours of service back to their community. Now that’s an idea worth spreading.

About TEDx conferences

The TEDx and TED model of conferences are an ideal platform to present new, engaging ideas to the next generation of leaders, artists, creators, innovators, and  inventors. Short, bursty presentations by astounding thinkers on a broad array of topics ranging from the science of yo-yo’s to space exploration take students out of the classrooms and into a setting where the teachers are the people actually thinking up and executing these big ideas.

Community Service Requirement

As part of our commitment to the students in the Dallas area, we offer this program free of charge for students to attend, but require that students commit to completing a service learning project. At TEDxKids@SMU, students will have the opportunity to sign up for one of several volunteer experiences coordinated through TEDxSMU, or to propose a service learning project of their choosing.


To reaffirm to the students that this day is really about and for them, we ask that all chaperons to sit in the balcony of the Dallas City Performance Hall; this way teachers and administrators can watch and be in close proximity to students without being in the same row. TEDxKids@SMU Hosts are Dallas-area juniors and seniors in high school who have been selected through an application process to serve as peer mentors to the students and sit with them during the program.



TEDxKids@SMU selects 100 high school juniors and seniors to serve as Hosts to groups of 7-10 middle school students during the TEDxKids@SMU conference.  Hosts greet students as they arrive at TEDxKids@SMU and help them understand the flow of the day.  Hosts sit with the students during the conference, and stay with their assigned small group during the break.

This is a great opportunity that offers training in peer leadership, a free ticket to attend TEDxKids@SMU, and the chance to interact with a diverse group of students from the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. And, it looks great on your resume! At TEDxKids@SMU, you will:

  • Serve as a mentor to a team of 7-10 TEDxKids@SMU attendees
  • Help facilitate conversations about the array of topics that we cover at TEDxKids@SMU
  • Participate in the breaks by guiding your team through interacting with speakers, engaging with the art installations, and experiencing multiple hands-on activities
  • Get the full experience of TEDxKids@SMU by being immersed in every component of the event!

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