The first of our “Leigh Talks” happened on Friday, Oct. 21 from 9:35 to 10:35 a.m., during an extended 60 minute tutorial. Students were required to attend two out of three of the unique talks by speakers Jeff Butler, Reema Chitalia, and Amy Cooper. Inspired by “Ted Talks”, our school’s new program aims to inspire and empower the students through the speeches.
Initial notifications regarding the Leigh talks came on Schoolloop in an email and survey. As Schoolloop email-checking is not a normal habit for most students, many felt “it wasn’t well advertised… I didn’t know we had to sign up” and as a result “everyone is being forced to listen to talks they have no interest in,” said Addie Lee, junior.
Opposing the Leigh Talks were those who felt it was a waste of time, as freshman, Kayla Hester stated, because “some students need tutorial to do homework” rather than spend an hour trying to understand the what the speakers are saying among the chatter in the audience.
Others were excited for the Talks and stated, “I think it will be refreshing to have something different to do between our first two periods of the day,” said Haley Malabed, senior.
A day before the event, Talk assignments were handed out to each student as everyone was required to attend two of them, even though there was no formal attendance taken in the end.
Jeff Butler’s Talk, stationed in the gym, centered around his idea that, “you are not who you think you are” and told his life story of overcoming unipolar depression. His story stuck with many students as, junior Emily Tseng stated, “we as highschoolers could connect to [him] and what he was discussing… the whole idea about caring too much about others opinions of us.”
Residing in the cafeteria, Amy Cooper discussed her son dying from a drug overdose and connected it to the idea that “[we] can change the world.” Since her experience with drug overdosing was so personal, Cooper’s story was almost shocking to some, and is a common “way of encouraging teenagers to make a positive change in the world… tell them about a bad experience that one person had and expect them all to change”, said Sophie Hopson, senior.
In the quad, Reema Chitalia briefed her audience about the past experiences she had being bullied in school and how to battle similar bullying experiences by understanding that “you are amazing”. Her message seemed to relate to most students because her anecdote related to social struggles in high school, but “it was just like every other bullying speech,” said Amber McGrogan, junior.