Local Students to Speak at TedxYouth@Wilmington Conference

Ursuline Academy will host “Agents of Change” on Sunday, April 2.

Seventeen young people and one Ursuline faculty member will “spread ideas worth sharing” during the TEDxYouth@Wilmington conference “Agents of Change,” on Sunday, April 2, at Ursuline Academy.

The speakers are from five area schools, including Ursuline Academy, Mt. Pleasant High School, Tatnall, Delcastle Technical High School and Burlington Township High School. All were chosen from a large pool of applicants.

“It’s been extremely validating to Ursuline’s leadership initiative to see a completely student-driven event of this magnitude,” says Susan Kampert, leadership advisor at Ursuline. “Every aspect of the conference—staging, marketing, speeches—has been managed by students. We can’t wait for April 2.”

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Agents of Change was organized by the team from TEDxWilmington. Partners include Ursuline Academy and TeenSHARP, an organization that connects students of color with transformative opportunities.

Agents of Change is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Ursuline’s Anna Raskob Auditorium, 1106 Pennsylvania Ave., Wilmington. For a full list of programming, visit www.tedxwilmington.com.




Chase Reid: Will They Replace Us or Enhance Us?

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Chase Reid is both a dreamer and a creator. He’s a junior at The Tatnall School and is active in all facets of high school, ranging from Science Olympiad and Model UN to Coding Club. Chase considers himself an artist, his art being technology. First exposed to the computer at the age of four, he began programming at the meager age of nine. Now fluent in over five programming languages, he has created a wide range of tools and applications including Lyre, a web application that detects emotion within your face and recommends songs based on how you’re feeling. Now, he finds himself both captivated by the intersection between humanity and machine intelligence and motivated to make it a reality.


Jane Lyons: Second Chances to Save Our Community

Jane Lyons is a sophomore at Ursuline Academy. Growing up with a strong faith and the security of a loving family, Jane recognized her many blessings and the need to help those less fortunate. Jane has chosen to fight for the rights of adjudicated youth through Youth Overcoming Obstacles and to raise awareness for those most vulnerable, including the residents of the House of Joseph, another of her special service beneficiaries. Jane has added philanthropy to her tool kit for community change, and whenever possible, Jane combines her love of sports with her community endeavors. At Ursuline, Jane plays varsity lacrosse, field hockey, and winter track. After college, Jane plans to follow her dream to become a psychiatrist.


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Jessica Falasco: Solve the Cube, Solve Your Life

Jessica Falasco is a sophomore at Ursuline Academy. At school, she participates on the varsity volleyball and soccer teams and is involved with clubs including Project Unify and Math League. In her free time she enjoys volunteering with local organizations including Friendship House and Westminster Presbyterian Church and spending time with friends and family. Jessica plans on attending college after high school and is still looking into what she wants to do in the future. She hopes to travel the world and live in New York City one day. Jessica also wishes to help people and the planet wherever she goes.


Maya Showell and Morgan Thornton: The Black Girls that Aren’t Black Enough

Maya Showell is a freshman psychology major at Drexel University in Philadelphia. She aspires to soon include a Spanish minor. In 2016, Maya graduated from her alma mater Ursuline Academy. Upon graduation, Maya received the Neilia Hunter Biden award for qualities shown through service to her country, community, and fellow Americans.  Through volunteering with organizations such as Special Olympics Delaware, Girls on the Run, and the Dude Be Nice Ambassador program, Maya is able to spread her message of acceptance, unity, and expression. Making a positive impact on someone’s life is always the main goal!

Morgan Taylor Thornton is a freshman at Delaware State University where she majors in mass communications. As a young child, Morgan has always had a passion for people and being an agent of positive change. Through her community service and leadership initiatives, she has worked to promote a message of compassion and unity among all people from all different communities in our world. As Tupac Shakur once said, “I am not saying that I am going to change the world, but I can guarantee that I will spark the brain that will.” Morgan is a proud alumna of Ursuline Academy as well as a devout volunteer with Special Olympics Delaware.


Jane Krukiel: The Power of Depression in Shaping Our Lives

Jane Krukiel is a sophomore at Ursuline Academy, which she has attended since first grade. Originally from Delaware, she has lived in England and Georgia. After high school, she hopes to pursue a globally focused career. With her TEDx talk, she hopes to inspire youth to overcome depression and other mental illnesses with confidence, strength, and power. In addition to doing a TEDx talk, she has competed numerous times in the Delaware Poetry Out Loud state finals and enjoys volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House.


Elijah Jones: High Quality Education for Inner City Kids: Fact or Fiction?

Elijah Jones is a freshman at The Tatnall School, where he is representative of his ninth grade class. His extracurricular activities include varsity football, chess, robotics, culinary and all things STEM. He also studies French and is working to master the French Horn. Elijah was a participant in the LYTE (Leading Youth Through Empowerment) Scholars Program and is now a member of TeenSHARP. His awards include 2012 National Chess Champion, 2015 Fox’s Master Chef Junior Philadelphia Semi-Finalist, 2017 Science Olympiad Delaware top ten winner in electric vehicle.


Yara Awad: Does the American Dream Exist for a Girl like me?

Yara Awad is a junior at Ursuline Academy. Each summer Yara travels to the Middle East where she visits her family in Jordan and goes on volunteer trips delivering food to starving families in the desert. In Jordan, she visits orphanages where she has financially adopted a young girl whom she continues to mentor overseas through social media. Yara has brought back this love for serving others to the states by serving as Junior Class President at Ursuline. Yara has a passion for singing and has been a member in multiple ensembles, including the Delaware All State Choir. Yara finds joy in participating in track and field as well as mock trial, where she has been awarded two gavels for best attorney.


Erin McNichol: Animal Sounds and Other Tales that Teach

Erin McNichol, a 10-year faculty member at Ursuline Academy, teaches art and innovation. With experience in both corporate communications and advertising agencies, Erin combines this expertise in marketing with visual art, specifically painting, design and mixed media.  Erin has been active as a studio artist, teaching artist, and education committee member at The Delaware Contemporary, a board member and CabSummer teacher at Cab Calloway, and shows artwork locally.   She began her art career in Luxembourg, Europe where she started her Face to Face © series of city landmarks.   Her latest work in Innovation came from a partnership with 1313 Innovation and University of Delaware.  Erin designed a curriculum for Innovation that blends both communication arts and an online entrepreneurial course.


Emountey White: Get comfortable with discomfort: “You made a mistake? Great job!”

Emountey White is a junior at Delcastle Technical High School. She is enrolled in the Dental Assisting Program at her school, where she is working towards her dream to be a Pediatric Dentist and have her own practice. She applied to a school that would teach the basis of dental care, which is a very crucial part of the dental field, become a dental assistant and then go on to additional schooling. Dentistry isn’t the only thing that her life consists of… her family is a big part of her life. She is highly involved in her school and community. She is a member of National Honors Society, Student Council, basketball team and track and field.


Alcia Francis: An Unexpected Ripple

As a senior at Burlington Township High School in New Jersey and a TeenSHARP College Ambassador, Alcia is deeply passionate about young people and the opportunities they have to realize their full potential. That is why she launched the inaugural College Application Month at her high school, a project that provided hundreds of students with critical information about the college admissions process. She also enjoyed working as a junior athletic trainer, playing viola, and providing technical support for her school’s theater. This fall she looks forward to embarking on her college journey in pursuit of a doctoral degree in physical therapy.


Grace Nordmeyer: Beyond The A+

Grace Nordmeyer is a sophomore at Ursuline Academy and has lived in Wilmington her entire life. She has grown up with a strong faith that has led her to volunteering at local organizations including the Ronald McDonald House and her church. Grace also is in the school’s club, Project Unify, where she volunteers at Special Olympics events. Starting at a young age, Grace found her love for sports. She grew up playing volleyball, basketball, and softball but recently changed to participating in volleyball, track and field, and golf. Grace plans to attend college and has a goal of being a physical therapist, while continuing to explore new life experiences.


Molly Clark: Stand by Your Sisters

Molly Clark is a freshman at Ursuline Academy. She is a member of Student Council and Project Unify, serves as a Student Ambassador and is on the winter track team and both school and club soccer teams. Molly is involved in various service projects that she participates in with her church and school. She enjoys volunteering for athletic programs like Special Olympics and TOPS (The Outreach Program of Soccer). Both programs work to build confidence for individuals with special needs through sports. Molly is an advocate of equality for everyone. She enjoys researching women’s rights and has done several projects on that topic. One of her favorite projects was on Title IX where she created a website on this very important amendment. Her most memorable moment while working on that project was when she interviewed the “Grandmother of Title IX,” Bernice Sandler.


Alphina Kamara: Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number when it Comes to Change

Alphina Kamara is a student at Mt. Pleasant High School with big dreams and aspirations. Before her dreams were only dreams, but now they are becoming reality due to a change in her mindset. She comes from an immigrant family, who came to America to provide themselves and their children a better life and future. Her family tried their best to inform Alphina about opportunities, but they weren’t aware since they didn’t know the American system. She was lucky to find programs like TeenSHARP, which has a mission to send minorities into top colleges in the country. They gave her the resources to reach her full potential. Most importantly they taught Alphina that her capabilities as a millennial are endless. Before TeenSHARP, she didn’t think that she would have ever be in the same room as Vice President Joe Biden, let alone shake his hand.


Amy Xu: The Power of Each Person’s Story

Amy was born as the only child to her family in Shenzhen China, near Hong Kong. Before she came to America, she was an art student in her high school in China. She now lives in Wilmington with her host family. Amy is in her junior year at Ursuline Academy. She likes traveling and has helped organizations serving people with disabilities and elder care centers during her travels in Europe and Australia. While in Malaysia, she volunteered teaching aspects of the Chinese culture in several elementary schools for a week. At Ursuline, she is a member of the dance and tennis teams and has joined the Global Community Club, Model UN and the National Art Honor Society Club. She is a piano student and also very active in art classes.


Carly Palkon: The Cost of Silence: Defending Music Education

Carly Palkon is a sophomore student at Ursuline Academy. She grew up and lives in Lincoln University, Pennsylvania, where through her local public school, she was exposed to and developed a love for music. When Carly is not busy with TEDx or school activities, she enjoys reading, volunteering at her local youth center, and playing her saxophone. She is looking forward to attending college and plans on becoming either a journalist or a human rights lawyer.


Areeba Khan:  Muslim, American, Female: America’s Future

Areeba is a senior at Ursuline Academy who enjoys tennis, Model UN and traveling the world. This past year, she visited Toronto, Istanbul, and Dubai. Ethnically Pakistani, she is fluent in Urdu, basic Arabic and Chinese, and knows some French. The proud daughter of Muslim immigrants who are Doctors, Areeba and her family are the epitome of the American dream. Her summer was spent at Georgetown University where she enrolled in the Honors International Relations course taught by the Dr. John Davis, where for three weeks, she studied, debated, and met with the nation’s top political and business members. Areeba plans on attending college in proximity to her home state of Delaware, majoring in International Relations, Political Science, and Arabic on a Pre-Law track. Her sense of humor, her kindness, her talent for cooking, and her optimism in the face of adversity are just a few characteristics of Areeba.


Abby Larmore: The Shirtless Man

Abby is a sophomore at Ursuline Academy. She has grown up in a tight- knit family and spends her summers participating in various water sports and activities. Abby is very involved in sports participating in field hockey, indoor track, and lacrosse. She also spends vast amounts of her time volunteering at the Food Bank of Delaware. Abby plans to attend college to pursue a career involving politics and social welfare.

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