TEDxSCS explores 'The Essence of Adolescence'

TEDxSantaCatalinaSchool returned to the Mary Johnson Recital Hall on March 22 with a focus on the one thing all Catalina girls have in common: being a teenager.

The 10th annual event was held in person for the first time in three years. This year’s theme was “The Essence of Adolescence,” which aimed to “highlight the joys and challenges of adolescence, as well as how we can take care of each other and ourselves.” The event was organized and presented by the student-run TEDxSCS club, consisting of about 20 students under the leadership of Michiko ’24 and Christina ’24.

The seven-speaker lineup included two Catalina students and an alumna.

Sara ’24 talked about volunteering with a nonprofit organization that supports children and teens living with HIV in Indonesia, her home country. She shared the struggles and frustrations faced by adolescents with HIV—including stigma, discrimination, and high rates of depression—as well as stories of courage and perseverance. “I also want to emphasize that they are teens just like us,” she said. “They, just like us, want to be loved, cared for, and appreciated by friends and family. They, just like us, want to live a meaningful life.”

Margaret ’23 educated the audience on ways that proper nutrition can ease stress. Margaret is head of the Dining Room Committee and is greatly interested in nutrition. “Learning about nutrition is empowering,” she said. Her talk focused on foods that help reduce cortisol, the stress hormone, and raise serotonin, the happiness hormone. She also offered pro tips on what foods to reach for in the dining hall. “The message here is that I can’t avoid stress,” she said, “but I’m much better at managing it.”

Lauren Selman ’03, an award-winning producer of films and live events, reflected on her own life as a teenager at Catalina. Looking back, she realized that she was so busy ticking off items on a list that she missed opportunities to form deep relationships with others. She encouraged students to live in the “in-between moments” and to embrace the messiness of growing up. “You have this once in a lifetime opportunity to be teenagers: messy, imperfect, gross, amazing teenagers,” she said.

Additional speakers were dermatologist Dr. Julie Kenner, who spoke about helping patients heal on the outside and the inside; anthropologist Dr. Alexis Bunten, who shared lessons learned from charting her own path through life; entrepreneur Tommaso Di Bartolo, who took the audience into the future of the metaverse; and Matthew Chang, a 16-year-old making a difference in his school and city by inspiring action on climate change.

Sara gestures as she speaks.

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