TEDxSAS – Breaking Barriers on school grounds

The stigma of mental disorders. The importance of nanosatellites. The intersection between art, science and math. Each of these topics have one thing in common: breaking barriers.

“Breaking Barriers” is the theme for Singapore American School’s first TED event. For the first time at SAS, an independently-organized TEDx event will give students the chance to share their ideas. Held on May 21, TEDxYouth at SAS will consist of seven student speakers and two teachers exploring the theme of “Breaking Barriers.”

Each TED talk is diverse and unique in its own way, but every single one is an idea worth sharing. This is the philosophy behind TED.


TEDxYouth, a more recent offshoot of the original TED talks, takes place in different school communities around the world. Previously, it’s been held at schools such the Tokyo International School and the American School of Bombay. The independently organized events allow students to share their own 10-15 minuteTED talks.

After researching independent TED events, senior Kaelan Cuozzo was inspired to bring the opportunity to her own school.

“I quickly started coordinating with facilities and the administration before submitting my TEDx license application, which was luckily accepted.”

The goal of this first event is to spark discussion around campus and encourage people to voice their opinions on a larger scale.

The poster for the event, which will take place on March 20.
The poster for the event, which will take place on March 20.

“It is important that people in our community feel comfortable to share their ideas and I think TEDx is a perfect platform for that,” said Cuozzo. “I was absolutely amazed by the range and depth of topics and ideas that my own peers and teachers had in mind to speak about.”

The key factor of a TEDx event is its ability to spark discussion within a small group. While there is limited seating in the actual location, additional seating is available in the high school library, where a live stream is being held.

Teachers Bart Miller and Fred Crawford will be speaking, along with the six chosen student speakers. Among them is senior Justin Peterson, who is focusing on the third-culture-kid phenomenon – something many students at SAS will identity with.

“I often notice that there’s a completely different attitude and sense of community outside of our international lives,” said Peterson. His goal is to shed light on the “privilege” of international lives.

Sophomore Vanessa Smiley is speaking about moral relativism, stating that the philosophy is intriguing to her. “I hope the audience gains some sort of insight after my talk and maybe have a different perspective on the issue.”

Cuozzo says that the the subject of each talk will be “pleasantly surprising” to viewers. Each topic relates to the theme of breaking barriers, keeping with the theme while still maintaining diversity.

“‘Breaking Barriers’ lets speakers step out of their comfort zone to expose a personal, intellectual, or psychological barrier while engaging with topics that otherwise go unheard, and then show how the speaker has attempted to shatter it.”

To attend the live-stream, fill out the form here. Follow TEDxSAS on Facebook and Instagram.

Author: Meera Navlakha

Meera Navlakha has been a part of the Eye staff since sophomore year and has taken journalism all four years of high school. Currently a senior, she has been at SAS for eight years but is originally from India. Apart from journalism, she loves reading, going to brunch and re-watching episodes of her favorite shows. She can be contacted at navlakha33816@sas.edu.sg.

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