TEDx Youth talk held at Fonda-Fultonville High School

Fonda-Fultonville High School students Adam DeSorbo, left, and Nicholas Demitraszek, right, organized the Tedx Youth talk which was held Wednesday with the speakers, Superintendent Thomas Ciaccio, second from left, Sarah Hoffman, Special Olympics of New York Athlete, Andrew Senese, intern for Imagine Scholar, Band Director Charles Lenig and Anna King, Mayfield senior, second from right. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

FONDA — With hopes to inspire both students and teachers in and out of the classroom, Fonda-Fultonville seniors, Nicholas Demitraszek and Adam DeSorbo organized a TEDx Youth talk held Wednesday at the high school.

Demitraszek and DeSorbo selected five guest speakers, each who each had a powerful message to convey to the local and school communities.

The guest speakers included band director and percussionist Charles Lenig, Superintendent Thomas Ciaccio, Special Olympics of New York Athlete Sarah Hoffman, intern for Imagine Scholar Andrew Senese and Mayfield senior and heart transplant recipient Anna King.

There were also two pre-recorded TED Talk videos shown of Tim Urban who talked on procrastination and Clint Smith who spoke on the dangers of silence.

Both Demitraszek and DeSorbo said they were inspired by other TED Talks online and wanted the local and school communities to have an event such as the TEDx Youth to convey powerful messages.

“The educational experiences that something like this can bring to community and being able to share these local stories — that not a lot of people hear — around the globe,” Demitraszek and DeSorbo said.

TEDx Youth events are independently organized and designed to empower and inspire young people. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At TEDx events, TED Talks video and live speakers are combined to spark deep discussion and connection. TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, usually in the form of short, powerful talks given by leading thinkers and doers.

Lenig’s TEDx tall, titled “Examining rhythm as a universal language” was on how drumming can be a form of communication.

“Drumming being the first tradition of music coming from probably the earliest civilizations that we have reported where people use drumming to communicate and we can first use drumming to communicate by understanding that fast tempo means excitement, slow tempo means intrepidation or holding back, medium tempo means everything is status quo,” Lenig said.

Lenig said he has met people all over the world who can’t speak English, but they play drums together. “And because we start to speak the language of the drum, we can communicate and have a conversation,” he said.

Superintendent Ciaccio’s speech titled “Your Mind, Your Most Powerful Tool” was on how the way people think can affect their attitude and whether people succeed or fail.

“The power of your mind, if you can harness it, is extremely powerful,” Ciaccio said. “It’s the things that we say in our head all the time, things happen to us, it can be positive, it can be negative, but their words. 800 to 1400 words a minute. Conscious, unconscious, out loud, silent, it’s the way that we talk and things we say between our ears that help us be the people that we are today. It brings our attitude to things, it helps us determine what our mood is. It helps us to succeed or it can take us down a road where we’re going to fail.”

Hoffman, who is an Special Olympics of New York Athlete gave a speech on not letting her disabilities overcome her when it comes to learning and succeeding in school and defeating her challenges. This June Hoffman will be a high school graduate with a regents diploma and after high school she will attend Transitions and will be taking college courses at Fulton-Montgomery Community College.

“I am differently abled, not disabled,” Hoffman said “Every day I [live] my life by these six important and compelling words. Those six words helped that people with disabilities can do anything they put their minds to like everyone else in the world.”

Senese, an International Development intern for Imagine Scholar based in South Africa gave a talk titled, “The Question We Should Be Asking” on all the pressure students have to make a decision on what they want to be when they get older, their future and the toll it takes on students to spend their lives making those decisions.

Senese said there is one question every student is asked in their life and they’re asked more than once and that is “What do you want to be when you get older?”

“We’re constantly bombarded with this question and few of are actually able to answer it with confidence,” Senese said. “More time is spent worrying about who we want to be in the future than who we want to be in the present moment.”

The question that should be asked is, “Who do you want to be right now?” Senese said.

The final guest speaker, King, a senior of Mayfield High School gave a presentation on “Humor Heals the Heart” and how she stayed optimistic while waiting for her heart transplant and how she became an organ donor advocator.

When King was 12-years-old she was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy which is when the heart’s ability to pump blood is decreased because the heart’s main pumping chamber is enlarged.

“As a 12-year-old I obviously knew I was very sick, but I also felt confident that I would be okay,” King said. “I always believed that a heart would come. Optimism was my life preserver.”

King said she waited 832 days for a heart. By the time she was 14 by day 832 King got her new heart. King learned her heat donor was a girl named Klarissa Russell who died in a car accident and wasn’t an organ donor, but her father made the decision for his daughter to be an organ donor.

“With terrible things in life comes tremendous gifts,” King said. “Organ donation saves lives.”

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