Orange Coast College hosts annual TedxYouth Bommer Canyon conference

Child writes on the “Before I Die Wall” at the conference

On October 19, Orange Coast College hosted the third annual TedxYouth Bommer Canyon conference. In relation to this year’s theme, “Mind the Gap,” local speakers talked about topics which they had developed a personal connection to and their efforts to address them in their community–everything from the importance of music as a universal language to the effect of eliminating Facebook from our lives. The conference was divided into two acts, each comprised of six speakers.

Out of the twelve people giving speeches, three were high school students, including University High School student Staphany Hou (Sr.). Hou spoke about the importance of being a well-rounded person, referencing the novel Outliers, which says 10,000 hours are needed in order to achieve mastery in a certain field. Some noted speakers following Hou, who received a standing ovation, included Jake Ducey and Gabriele Eggerling.

Speaker Jake Ducey, 21, is a Southern Californian author and activist whose recently published his first book, Into the Wind, has already received several positive reviews from acclaimed entrepreneurs and athletes including Steve Wozniak (co-founder of Apple, Inc.), Frank Shankwitz (Founder of Make-A-Wish Foundation) and Laird Hamilton (World Surf Champion). Ducey’s Ted Talk was about his efforts to overcome his personal struggles with depression and the trip that made him realize the importance of life. Ducey said, “The purpose of life is to just take your gift and share it.”

Speaker Gabriele Eggerling, who created the non-profit organization HERO (Helping Others Read Out loud) at the age of eight, spoke about his efforts to collect and provide books for underprivileged kids. Now ten, Eggerling is an actor, was featured in the documentary Heroes Don’t Wear Capes and has been featured in the book 100 Making a Difference alongside First Lady Michelle Obama. When Eggerling was seven, he met a girl who could not afford to buy a book. Since that day, with the profits he raises through HERO, Eggerling has funded the construction of local libraries and read to young children at local schools. Eggerling said, “I’ve learned that superheroes and capes don’t have the power. WE DO. The power is in all of us. It’s in our brains and our hearts. We just have to find something special and share it!”
Staff Writer