Boomerang: Brentwood TEDx 2019

Thursday, October 31, 2019 - By: Sarah R, Mackenzie ‘20; Photo by Holly B, Mack '21

Last Saturday, students all gathered in the Killy Theater to be educated and inspired by an incredible lineup of speakers at this year’s annual Brentwood TEDx event. The 2019 theme was Boomerang - What Goes Around Comes Around, and this presented a template for many thought-provoking and intriguing speeches. The speakers list this year was comprised of three students, one alumni, one staff member, and three industry leaders, which provided an incredible diversity of ideas and presentations.

Excited to break the regular routine of Saturday morning classes, students gathered in the Bunch for 9:30 am, and the speaker sessions began shortly after.

The first speaker of the day was one of our classmates and Assistant Head Prefect for Academics Amelia H, Allard ‘20 who presented a critical and well-prepared analysis titled Convenient Environmentalism, about “what happens when we accept marketing as sustainable innovation and complacency as activism”.

After the thunderous applause following her final words had died down, our student MCs introduced the next speaker: Ken Wylie. An experienced IFMGA mountain guide, Ken contributed a humbling and thought-provoking personal story, and the lessons it taught him about social courage, and that “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the process of stepping into situations even when their is fear”.

Following him was a passionate presentation by Gord Billsten, Brentwood’s energy and water systems technician, urging students to invest in sustainable energy technologies, and to not be afraid to investigate previously unheard of ideas, and to explore and innovate in the area of sustainable energy, before it is too late. This concluded session one, and after a break for snacks and opportunities to take a turn in the famous Brentwood TEDx photo booth, session two began.

In the second session, we heard from Karla Ferster, the developer of the sustainable Frog Friendly Coffee brand, about “Living Your Values Out Loud” through business. Another Brentwood student, Mahir A, Rogers ‘22 followed with his well-informed speech about karma, how we create it, and his personal experiences with the topic. Finally, an emotional speech by Eric Harrison, a cancer survivor, author, mind-set coach, and mother, concluded the session by encouraging us to own and appreciate every second of our lives.

After another brief break, session three began, featuring our final student speaker, as well as Brentwood Alumni Milo Shandel. Our Head Prefect Didi O, Hope ‘20 captured the attention of the audience effortlessly, with her passionate and relatable speech about her personal journey to redefine the relationship between strength and vulnerability. Concluding the day was well known actor and director Milo Shandel, speaking on “inspiration, action, and execution in the creative arts”, and reminding students to be unafraid to pursue the ideas that inspire us.

Before we knew it, another incredible Brentwood TEDx had flown by. I would like to extend a huge thank you to the team of student and staff volunteers whose behind the scenes work made the event run smoothly, and, of course, to Mr Ian McPherson, the mastermind and primary organizer behind the exciting evolution that is now the annual Brentwood TEDx.

If you did not have the chance to witness the speeches first hand, please do not hesitate to visit the Brentwood TEDx website at, to access video footage of this year’s event, as well as speeches from previous years!

Sarah R, Mackenzie ‘20

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