Perkiomen Valley High School hosts ‘TEDx' talks

Erin Gambeski talks to students about of feminism, and what it takes to be a feminist at Perkiomen Valley High School Friday, April 25, 2014. Photo by Adrianna Hoff/21st Century Media.

PERKIOMEN — Across the globe, TED has spread to bring together people and ideas. A nonprofit started in 1984, it began as a conference where technology, entertainment, and design concepts came together. Today, TED conferences run the gamut of subject matter, from science, to global politics, to health issues. At the same time, the independently run TEDx helps put together similar events on a local level.

Perkiomen Valley High School put together its own TEDx event Friday, with speakers including teachers, students, poets and artists. Each speaker is charged with sharing their ideas and message to the audience.

“The students planned this, and they worked with the speakers on their messages,” teacher and organizer Toyna Rice said.

The first speaker of the evening was Perkiomen Valley High School art teach Robert Libby, a tall, slender man who spoke of the childlike wonder that follows inspiration, and also of passion.

“Passion is a strong internal drive, it’s an individual cyclical search,” Libby said. “The reason you get up every morning, the reason you keep breathing.”

Libby spoke of his own personal art and the artwork he did while working toward his master’s degree, including the way in which critiques, both good and bad, can lead to a positive outcome.

“All the information you learn has purpose behind it.” Libby said.

Another speaker during the evening was English teacher Erin Gambeski, who declared, “Feminist is not a bad word.”

“Feminism is ingrained into my being,” she said.

Gambeski talked to the audience of her own experiences growing up with a single mother, rebelling against what she considered to be the “norm.” She is now enjoying her life as a mother, wife and teacher, she said.

She also pointed out how strong assertive little girls are being called bossy, and it is never a compliment. With boys, the term is being assertive.

“Bossy versus assertive, punishes girls and praises boys for the same behavior,” she said.

The evening also featured poet Corey Young, a graduating senior at Ursinus College who talked about his personal history and how it affected his work.

“I’ve felt broken since before I could remember,” he said.

A sudden move to the Collegeville area as a child and a history of abuse were reflected in the poetry he shared with the audience.

“I kept my mouth shut, but I kept my notebook open,” Young said.

As a student in middle school, he was introduced to the idea that all poetry is political. It opened his eyes and helped him to form his words into the poetry he is known for today.

“Poetry is not a luxury, it is the battle cry of our revolution,” Young said.

The TEDx event was planned and executed by student organizers. The committee had started to organize the event last October and hopes it’ll become an annual event, student Maddi Gray said.

Follow Adrianna Hoff on Twitter @THPhotoJour.