I just came back from the second annual Student Speaker Competition at the University of Nevada, Reno and let me tell you, it was a blast. I was running from class an hour late, so I rushed directly to the main theater. To my surprise the theater was completely empty. I thought oh man this year was a short one! When I was ready to walk away, I asked around if they have heard about the Student Speaker Competition, and they said… it has been moved to the University ballrooms. So I ran upstairs and when I got there and opened the door, I couldn’t believe what I saw. The event was absolutely packed!!! There was probably around 400 people listening quietly was these young Nevadans had to say about the world they live in.
But before moving forward, let me back up a little. Around a year and a half ago, on my first year of school I decided to joint the TEDx University of Nevada team. In the first meeting I met Joshua D. Smith and Jacob Capurro. That day Dr. Bret Simmons, the main organizer and license holder for TEDx University of Nevada, was telling us how at UC Davis they had this great student competition event that gives a spot for a student to talk at the UC Davis TEDx event. Without thinking it twice, Josh, Jake and I agreed to take charge and create the student speaker competition. We just had met 5 minutes ago, and we really didn’t know in what we were getting ourselves into.
We worked hard, without any idea of what we were doing, but with passion and tons of creativity we pull it off and the 2014 event was a success. The winner was Tim Grunert who went and did great at the TEDx University of Nevada 2014. Here is the before and after video. Now, let me fast forward to today… So I walked into the room and I found myself in an event of giant proportions. Kylie Rowe, Ziad Rashdan and Shane Wickes really took it to the next level. Just like in the big TEDx, the speakers took us on a journey from talking about the importance of voting to food allergies and sexual education. The event was absolutely amazing, Tim was there, yeah our little Tim had grown to become a judge. Kristin Stith and Paul Klein (the guys who rebranded Reno) were also there judging and selecting the winners. Ziad, the future MC for TEDx2015 did an excellent job as a host, man! It was a beautiful event.
I left the room with Dr. Bret and I was moved. Sadly the project is no longer our baby, it grew up and now belongs to everybody in is this community, “The road to TEDx” slogan that once came from my pen, is out there for you, so you can have a microphone, a stage and a place to go and say what you think about this world. To inspire us and to make us think, to show the world that Reno is more than old casinos.
I might never be rich; I might never be able to claim the corporate ladder and become that guy with that car. But for all of you out there that love creating, let me tell you: while I was sitting in the back of the room, quietly in the middle of the crowd, listening to the thoughts of a young generation, I couldn’t stop thinking, “tonight I am the richest man in the world.”
Now go out there and create something!
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Photocredit Dr Bret Simmons