I was sitting in the balcony in the Town Hall theatre, surrounded by teachers, students, and TED staff who were there to celebrate some of the brave thinkers taking on the “Education Revolution” head on. Speakers included principal Nadia Lopez, who became an important figure in education reform when one of her students was profiled by Humans of New York and the student cited his high school principal as the most influential person in his life, Former White House Chef and food policy advisor Sam Kass, and Andrew Mangino from The Future Project.
Perhaps my favorite moment from the evening was when principal Lopez was introduced by host Baratunde Thurston and everyone around me stood up and cheered. It was the warmth of reception that celebrities usually receive… and it was amazing to be part of a community that is this excited about a principal committed to making change in the lives of her students. She spoke without jargon or false promises, it was purely focused on her students and the community she was building in Brownsville. How she showed up for them every day, and therefore expected them to do the same.
I think the commitment the TEDTalks Live team made to including students and teachers at this event was what helped create such a magical experience for the rest of the audience. My section of the audience positively glowed with warmth for many of the figures on the stage last night, and their love and enthusiasm was infectious.
I left optimistic for the future of education reform… and seeking new places to be useful in my own corner of the world.