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The Arcade

The Student News Site of North Hollywood High School

The Arcade

The Student News Site of North Hollywood High School

The Arcade

The Lessons of NHHS Youth


It’s safe to say that the very first TEDxNHHS Youth event of 2023 will go down in North Hollywood High School history. 

TEDxNHHS Youth was simply just an idea that soon blossomed into a live-broadcasted motivational event that would change the lives of all who were involved: the audience, organizers, and volunteers.  

Rishabh Garg

Rishabh Garg, the curator of TEDxNHHS Youth, designed this with the intention of displaying the various perspectives and personal stories of his fellow peers. He realized this was “the thing” to do to honor the impactful stories of the diverse crowds at NHHS. 

Garg states,“The chance to contribute to the inspiration of change in our school community through our live event and the rest of the world through our eventually edited and published talks is something I value very much.”

The event took place in the practice gym, housing approximately 100 attendees, including staff. All organized on account of Garg’s team members, they were divided amongst themselves by event manager, design, communications, finances, and video production. 

Angel De Leon

Creating a close-knit relationship with his production team, Garg says, “I thought of the hundred hours from December 2022, when TEDxNHHS Youth was just an idea, were worth it, and my team and I had done it. This pride in my team and my efforts gave me the confidence to march on stage and kick off the inaugural event.”

Not to mention, Garg set up audition dates over 6 days afterschool and rehearsals one week before the event, “…staying after school till 8:00 PM the day before to set up all the decorations and 9:00 PM the day before that to rehearse.”

Alongside them were core volunteers that helped ensure everything would run smoothly the day of. One of them being Marlene Henriquez an HEA junior at NoHo: “I took the opportunity to sign up and volunteer. I didn’t expect it to be such a special event…and you know, meeting new people and finding your ‘treasure.’ ”

When asked how significant this event is to Noho students, Henriquez elaborated, “It’ll open new perspectives into the world…maybe they’ll be encouraged to speak on their own [stories].”

As part of the volunteer committee in design, Henriquez discussed the process, “It was a little bit difficult at the beginning because…we figured the room is very huge and what we had wasn’t enough, so what we kind of came together were these little [strips of red paper] and it signifies looking for treasure.”

Michael Isayan

She continues, “On a treasure map, you will have the little footsteps guiding you to your treasure chest, just as how it connects to the speaker.”

Overall, Henriquez hopes, “this event will carry on when [the class of 2025] we’re gone and newcomers come to the school… and hopefully they’ll look forward to it as much as we do now.” 

The organizers of this event weren’t the only ones a part of this milestone for NHHS; of course, so were the student speakers. 

First in line was freshman HGM student, Daisy Luke, who confidently and effortlessly shared her experience in “Searching for Eureka.”

Daisy Luke

To begin, she reflects on the process of preparing for her speech. “When I started looking at the script, I realized this event is crazy and I should be giving it as much effort as possible. I started going through it [her speech]… even if words failed me, I could still describe what I wanted to say.”

Moving forward, Luke describes her emotions surrounding the event, “I’ve always watched [these events]… so I suppose it was always on the back of my mind that I wanted to do something like this and I’m really really grateful that North Hollywood was able to give me such an opportunity like this where we could come together as a school to have [an event like this].”

When asked what she wanted to communicate to the audience, Luke said, “ I hope I’ve given them something to think about.”

She continues, “If we all focus on what we can learn from our adventures throughout life, then maybe we could be a little bit happier, rather than focusing on whatever reward is at the end.” 

From another perspective, SAS junior Elly Duarte says, “ I’m happy I was able to talk about such a difficult experience.” That being said, Duarte proudly shares, “I’m proud of myself for not only putting myself out there, but also for being one of the few non-HGM students in the entire TEDx programs [TEDxNHHS Youth]…as one of the few latinas in the entire organization as well.”

Elly Duarte

Moreover, she says. “I feel like I not only represented SAS, but Latinas as a whole.”

Duarte expresses her gratitude for being offered a platform to speak on her experiences, “being offered a platform for me to tell my story about what I had to face growing up, I’ve always wanted to do that.”

She recounts, “I see little kids – my cousins and siblings – go through the exact same thing I went through and it hurts me so bad.”

Furthermore, Duarte hopes current high schoolers don’t have to suffer like she did, that is “feeling trapped in a shell… where [she] couldn’t be any version of [herself].” 

She shares that as she was rehearsing, reading her script to her friends, “Every time I would look up there would be tears in their eyes…I asked if they were ok and they would say ‘No, because I either am, or going through the same thing.’ ”

Not only for that reason, but Duarte reiterates, “To represent Latinos and non-HGM students; to prove to them you can hold yourself in an environment that’s not catered to you.” 

“I had to remind myself that it’s fine if you are the odd one out…someone has to step up [to represent the latino community at NHHS].”

Roanne Lee

Speaking on identity, Roanne Lee, a junior, speaks on finding her treasure, AKA finding her identity as a Korean-American. “That’s what defines me.”

She hopes to communicate to the audience with her speech that, “Each one of them is unique, whatever identity they hold. They [the audience] don’t have to be just one [identity]. I just want to bring them confidence.” 

And the speakers did just that. With their eloquent “talks” and inspiring words, all who attended left with lessons of identity, love, passion, and confidence. 

We learn from Lee, as well as the other talented speakers that,“We’re all story shaped people.”

Check out more information about TEDxNHHS Youth at www.ted.com.

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Sofiya Vasquez (She/Her)
"I am a senior at NHHS and love anything related to music, film, or literature. I aspire to be an accomplished writer when I grow up."
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