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Murray Rosenbaum

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TEDxYouthDay 2011

Posted: 11/28/11 02:15 PM ET

TEDXYouth -- a global series of events where youth in grades 8-12 gather at locations around the world for a day of inspiring talks and conversation -- happened this past Saturday, November 19th. HuffPost High School was honored to participate as a speaker at The Hewitt School in New York City. The below was written by Murray Rosembaum, 14, who attended the event. Click here to watch HuffPost High's talk!

I was excited for this day for more than two weeks, but for some reason, I couldn't get out of bed. After my dad essentially poured water on my face, we proceed to get ready to go to TEDxYouthDay. There were many changes for the subway lines, which involved two more transfers than required, but we intrepidly moved on. We arrived at Horace, but the event had been changed to a different date, so we moved on to return home. My mom emailed my dad about another event at The School at 110th Street and Broadway. We went over to The School, and asked if we could go to the event even though we didn't have tickets, and she said yes. At TEDxYouthDay, we learned a great deal about TED and how the talks are advancing.

TED is an annual event that invites interesting people from all over the world to speak or to be part of the audience. All of the fascinating talks can be seen on their site, TED.com -- I highly suggest you go and check it out. TED is an organization whose motto, "Ideas worth spreading," tells their mission. They gather people who have original and inspirational ideas and give them 15 minutes to tell the audience about their ideas and projects. TEDx is a branch of TED, and the x stands for independently organized TED event.

While on the way to the city from Horace, my father and I watched a livestream from another event at the Hewitt School at East 76th, and we were amazed. The speaker was a man with Tourette Syndrome. Tourette Syndrome is when a person is incapable of controlling what they say or do, and this is known as a tick. Some ticks are saying curses; others are fidgets like "chomping" or rapid movements of the hands. He explained how some people have said to him that he is incredibly lucky. He replies with, "Why?" They reply with, "Because you have an excuse!" He responded with, "Fine. You want to see what it's like to have Tourette Syndrome, say the N word as loud as you can. That is what it's like." People don't understand how Tourette Syndrome is not a blessing, but a curse, and it is also something for others to understand.

We arrived at the event, and watched a talk about a martial art known as Aikido. Aikido is martial art that does not involve punching or attacking back. It uses peaceful techniques to end fights. If someone tries to punch an Aikido student, they wouldn't punch back -- they would only step out of the way over and over until the attacker gives up or loses interest. Aikido involves healing the world by not fighting fire with fire, but more fighting fire with patience.
After the Aikido demonstration, a man gave a very peculiar talk. He started by telling a story from when he seemed to be a young boy. I noticed that he was telling a story, and it was from his past. He progressed through his story in an invigorating manner, such that I could barely retain his past few lines, let alone the story. The story was so enthralling that when he said that he was a storyteller, I was not surprised at all. He told stories of people in his past who have inspired him in his past, and continue to inspire him.

After the fascinating story, the lights turned off, and everyone was confused. Was there a black out? Then one handheld light was turned on, and I heard, "Light: we take it for granted, but almost all of the world has no electricity. It is because of this one problem that others arise." The lights turned on, and this man was holding a little handheld lantern that had an LED bulb. He then said, "Children in Haiti and other countries can't afford electricity, and they have to use kerosene lamps. These lamps emit a gas that causes diseases such as pneumonia and other deadly illnesses." He then explained that he started an organization called Lit! Lit's goal is to supply children in Haiti and other poor countries these lamps. What makes these lamps so special is that they get their power from solar panels on the back. Not only did Lit! stop pneumonia from reaching children who would study in the night with kerosene lamps next to them, but Lit! also saved these people money because the kerosene lamps were expensive and they had to be bought on a weekly basis.

All of these examples of extraordinary people helping the world show how simple events like TED bring people together to change the world. Some people's ideas are complicated and strange, but others are simple and life-changing in more than one way. TED's motto, "Ideas worth spreading," truly shows how TED will change the way people will react with each other and how we react with our environment.

Check out my photos from TEDxYouthDay: