TEDxIB@YorkSchool a smashing success!

TEDxIB@YorkSchool 2012 – Taking on the World in our own Backyard

After much preparation and anticipation, close to 350 IB Diploma students, teachers and other interested adults gathered in our Coliseum to attend TEDxIB@YorkSchool this Wednesday, and they were not disappointed. “Stimulating. Thoughtful. Touching. Surprising. Enjoyable. Inspiring.” was one participant’s response. And so it was, as twenty-five speakers, including nine IB Diploma students, helped us explore the theme, “Taking on the World”.

Highlights of the day included one of our own alumni, Adil Dhalla, who, inspired by Jane Jacobs, urged us to “take on our neighbourhoods”. Equally compelling was Peter A. Singer, of Grand Challenges Canada, who presented a recipe for reducing poverty in developing countries. Perhaps, the most fascinating for the students was the story of Corey Vidal, a young entrepreneur whose single YouTube video garnered 17.5 million views and helped “save his life”. Gwynne Dyer, well-known Canadian journalist gave students much to think about in his analysis of the uprisings in the Middle East. And finally, our very own York School parent, Maureen Holloway, of Q107 fame, touched the hearts and funny-bone of us all, as she related her life as a female comedian, and inspired us to use laughter as one of our tools to ‘take on the world’.


Participants were particularly inspired by the well-spoken and passionate Diploma students who shared their own ideas and life stories. Student speakers had come from as far away as Florida and Michigan, and explored everything from the potential for vegetarianism to save the world to the beauty of mathematics. We were thrilled to present Kate Gwozdecky with an IPad, donated by the York Parents Association, for her poised talk about the significance of space research.

In addition to the many talks, participants were entertained with music and spoken poetry, including the lovely voice of Nina Vasu, a Diploma student at the American International School in Chennai, India, and the combined musical talents of our very own Alex Sigel and Willis Dallenbach.

As with past TEDx events run by the school, our students had the delightful experience of sharing their own ideas with other students from a diversity of IB Diploma schools. This was especially true for the few students who stayed on for the Thursday, when they participated in ‘Taking on Toronto’, touring through Toronto under the guidance of our own students.




All in all, TEDxIB@YorkSchool 2012 highlighted the school’s dedication to creating engaging educational experiences.

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Join the Livestream of TEDxIB@YorkSchool

TEDxIB@YorkSchool 2012 – Official Programme

Apathy is Boring, speaker Ilona Dougherty tells us why

By Alex Sigel, Grade 11 student at The York School

Ilona Dougherty insists that students have the power to change a country. How is this possible, one may ask? Her response: through democracy. Ilona grew up in a home where community involvement was very important. Her parents instilled this fundamental principle in her and it stayed with her for her whole life ultimately inspiring her to create Apathy is Boring, a youth run, non-profit organization based out of Montreal with the mission of helping Canadian youth to get involved in democracy.

With the belief that youth have a tremendous opportunity to influence our daily lives through involvement, she brings her dream of finding “creative ways of engaging young people who are apathetic or just ‘don’t seem to care’.”

This issue became important to her when she realized that there are 5.5 million young Canadians and that, as she puts it, “youth have an amazing ability to make a difference they often don’t take advantage of… that could change an election.”

Yet only 38.8% of Canadians aged 18-24 voted in the 2011 Federal Election continuing the trend that Canadian youth aren’t voting.

In her TED talk at the upcoming TEDxIB@YorkSchool she will stress upon IB students the importance of voting, and how their vote can lead to the change they want to see in the world. She will be talking about why voting actually matters to all of us, how voting can solve youth concerns, and the diverse ways youth can make a difference.

Her enthusiasm and passion for the topic on a personal level through having “never been afraid of standing up for what [she] believes in and standing up to those people in positions of authority” will resonate at the upcoming conference and leave a permanent impression on students about the ability they to influence their own lives.

To Ilona, “voting is one way of ‘taking on the world’. Democracy is a tool we can use to change the minds of those in power. It is in fact the only direct way to decide who gets into those positions of power in the first place. If that isn’t ‘taking on the world’ I am not sure what is!”

Getting to Know Corey Vidal

By Stephen Dodge, Grade 12 student at The York School

Corey Vidal is the president of Apprentice A Studios, a video company which operates entirely on YouTube.  The company, as well as Corey’s original, and current, main YouTube Channel, takes its name from Corey’s love of Star Wars.  The name had originally been a shortened form of “Apprentice Anakin.”  Corey entered the world of YouTube while still in high school by making dance tutorials and videos with his friends simply because he loved the process.  He had no expectations of number of views, and no idea of the popularity YouTube could bring.

After high school Corey fell onto economic hardship, and after some time his only permanent possession was a laptop.  He didn’t even have the money to print résumés at the public library.  Nevertheless he continued to make videos.  When times were at their worst Corey released a video entitled “Star Wars (John Williams is the Man) A Cappella Tribute Medley Song.”  The video received millions of views overnight and today has just over 17.5 million.  He sums up his own story to this point in a video aptly titled “YouTube Saved My Life.”

Today Corey is still releasing videos on his original channel and seven more.  His company, Apprentice A Studios, hosts eight full-time employees and during large projects, can boast up to twenty including freelance and part-time workers.

Corey’s entire life is on the internet.  As he says, the Vlog (the video-blog his company produces daily which acts as a production diary and a glimpse into their lives) sees all, and he has nothing to hide.

“It’s what happens when you’re a YouTuber,” he says.

Everything Corey does and every video he puts on YouTube is instantly critiqued by the community.  The instant gratification videos receive from viewers all around the world is humbling to him, but also very exciting.  The videos Corey releases have been tweaked for hours upon hours and are at Hollywood video quality, and because of that the audience rarely has anything bad to say.

Corey’s company is still growing and in order to stay relevant he knows that they must continue to evolve in content and in style.  He has big plans for his company, and though he has achieved his life’s dream of making YouTube his job he isn’t planning to stop any time soon.

Laugh Away the Troubles – An IB Student Chats with Speaker, Maureen Holloway

Jamie Perlmutter, Grade 11

Laughter is uplifting. It raises our spirits and reminds us that there is always hope. Maureen Holloway has always been inspired by the idea of laughter and believes that it is an integral part of life. From TEDxIB@YorkSchool host in 2011 to speaker in 2012, Maureen will remind young IB students all across the globe about what it means to laugh. Her path to this speech however is not as simple as her topic.

Maureen has spent her career in the public eye (or ear). Beginning as a traffic reporter for Mix FM in Toronto, Maureen has flourished in the business after 20 years. She is known specifically for her nationally broadcasted segment “The Last Word” where she updates Canada on the latest celebrity gossip. She has also made a few appearances on TV but truly enjoys the consistency that radio offers.

In 2005 Maureen was diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer to her disbelief. Through her perseverance and support from her family, Maureen was able to overcome this misfortune and is now cancer free. She is widely known for her great charity work, specifically with Women’s College Hospital located in Toronto. Her charisma and humour are what make her such a widely sought-after speaker.

The use of laughter in our lives is what really drives Maureen’s curiosity. Through her experience of battling cancer, she is really interested in how we use laughter to cope with troubles. Specifically focussing on women, Maureen believes that laughter is the best method of dealing with difficulties. She will also focus on the two types of people: those who laugh and those who make people laugh. “I see humour as an incredibly challenging and creative occupation,” she explained as she went over her speech topic. “Whatever you are doing you are creating something—it is how we find meaning.”

Through TEDxIB@YorkSchool Maureen hopes to convey the message to the IB students that laughter is an important part of our life and the way we live. The idea of speaking to this audience motivates her and she is eager to speak to young IB students of the world. “I love what TED does and I’ve been to TED and it just inspires me and nourishes me—younger people are more open to humour.” We look forward to being inspired by Maureen when she stands on our TEDx stage on November 14th.

New speaker added – Adil Dhalla

Adil Dhalla, Co-Founder of My City Lives

Adil Dhalla is innovating how we learn about the world through My City Lives, a local video platform that he co-founded in 2009 and that now operates in over 170 cities globally. Belonging to one of the first graduating classes at The York School (Class of 2001), Adil went on to receive his undergraduate degree in History from Queen’s University and his MBA from Wilfrid Laurier University, although he admits to never being a “great student”. Always restless, Adil’s story is one filled with great risks and great adventures, such as when he worked on the Barack Obama campaign in Brooklyn or when he travelled to rural Tanzania to work for a technology-based non-governmental organization. It was while in Tanzania that Adil realized the potential for technology to disrupt the information space and his work has since led him to many successes including now working with publishers to change how we access the news. Adil has spoken at TEDxQueen’sUniversity about the future of online video and is constantly called upon to give talks about entrepreneurship, social innovation and his love for the ukulele.

Calling all IB Students – We want your ideas.

IB Diploma Students,

Looking for an opportunity to share your ideas with the world?

TEDxIB@YorkSchool is coming up…and we want you to be a speaker!

Each year TEDxIB@YorkSchool invites adults from around the world to share their ideas and passions. Our event is unique in that we also call on students to do the same. Interested students submit videos of their talks and we select the ten best and let them present during our full day TEDx program. This year the theme is “Taking on the World” and we are encouraging IB Diploma students to submit a 7 to 10 minute talk that fits within this theme.

Last year’s winning student video received over 54,000 views after the event. Click here to watch winners from 2010 and 2011 speak. For even more inspiration click here to watch some of last year’s student speakers:

To be considered, students must submit a video of themselves presenting their 7-to-10-minute talk by 11:00 p.m. (EST), Thursday October 25th, 2012.

Please follow these instructions here to submit a video: http://tedxibyork.com/speak-at-our-event/

Videos will be selected based on the following criteria: http://tedxibyork.com/student-speaker-criteria/

The top 10 selected students  will have a chance to present at the event on November 14th and the chosen winner will receive an amazing prize. Click here to watch past winners.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to speak in front of other IB students from all over the world as well as hundreds of professional adults.  We strongly encourage you to submit a video to maximize what you take away from this event.

Your school does not need to attend the event to be considered as a speaker. Selected students will receive complimentary entry to the event.

We can’t wait to see your videos and hear your ideas!

David Hamilton
Organizer, TEDxIB@YorkSchool.
Senior School Principal  | THE YORK SCHOOL

Have questions?  Send them

The new school year begins

Dear Diploma Coordinators and TOK teachers,

We are excited to announce the third annual TEDxIB@YorkSchool. This one of a kind event is specifically designed for IB Diploma students from around the world and we want your school to be a part of it.

On November 14th and 15th, we expect to be joined by over 300 Diploma students and interested adults who love to talk and hear about ideas.  This event gives students a forum for giving their own 10 minute TED talks on a topic about which they are passionate, while also listening to TED talks given by up to 10 accomplished speakers.  The event’s theme - “Taking on the World” – will give IB students the scope to explore different ideas and areas of knowledge in a setting that encourages open-mindedness, inquiry, communication and reflection.

Sending up to 12 students and a teacher to join us in this gathering of Diploma students.

How to Get Involved:

  1. Have your students speak at the event (video submissions, up to 10 minutes must be submitted by Thursday, October 25th).
  2. Having one of your school’s music or dance ensembles perform and ignite our audience’s passions! Click here
  3. Share photos of IB Visual Arts students’ art.
  4. If you’re coming to Toronto for the first time, consider joining us on November 15th, when our students will lead you on a “Taking on Toronto” tour of our great city.
  5. Join our Facebook community  -  http://www.facebook.com/TEDxIBYork
  6. Post the attached poster at your school.

Please go to our website, www.TEDxIBYork.com, which gives you all the details with respect to attending, speaking, performing, registering, accommodations and travel.  If you have any questions regarding the event, please contact us at tedxib@yorkschool.com


We look forward to hosting your students in November.


Yours truly,


David Hamilton

Organizer, TEDxIB@YorkSchool.

Senior School Principal  | THE YORK SCHOOL


New Speaker added – Will Amos

William A. Amos
Director, Ecojustice Environmental Law Clinic, University of Ottawa

Will heads up a unique academic-NGO partnership , where he teaches law and science students how to research, prepare and present evidence that will result in precedent-setting legal victories. His mission is to help groom Canada’s next generation of environmental leaders so they can more strategically engage in  environmental litigation and law reform debates. From Parliament Hill to the Supreme Court of Canada, Will practices law bilingually with a view to defending his clients’ right to a healthy environment.  Whether it’s in relation to offshore oil drilling in the Arctic or the Gulf of St. Lawrence, protecting endangered species, monitoring enforcement or pursuing environmental tort claims, Will is in the middle of it all.  He has litigated before all levels of court, most recently representing interveners in a Supreme Court case concerning contaminated site remediation in a bankruptcy and insolvency context.

Will is passionate about helping Canadians hold governments and politicians to account. With law students and web designers he created an easy-to-use collection of House of Commons debates about Canada’s environmental and natural resource issues, available online and updated weekly. Check out www.envirohansard.ca to find out what your Member of Parliament is saying.

Prior to joining Ecojustice, Will practiced law at a large Montreal firm and with the federal broadcasting and telecommunications regulator (CRTC).  He has worked extensively on trade and environment issues, in both Canada and Mexico.  Prior to becoming a lawyer, Will worked on Parliament Hill, both in the federal Environment Minister and the Prime Minister’s offices. Will did his undergraduate degree at McMaster University, his graduate studies in political science at UBC, and his civil and common law degrees at McGill University.  He is called as a lawyer to the bars of both Ontario and Quebec.  Currently, Will is a Member of the Barreau du Quebec’s Environmental Law committee.  He has published numerous op-eds, articles and reports in academic and non-academic journals.

Will lives in Chelsea, Quebec, with his wife, two children and three dogs, and he dreams of opening a law practice that is situated in the stern of his canoe.