Eighteen sophomore speakers seek to change lives at FHC Inspires

The auditorium milled with thirty-some students, the high-ceilinged space warm with conversation and nerves. Matching “FHC Inspires” t-shirts caught my eye at every turn, each one styled differently at the whims of its wearer’s personality. The friendly conversation and bright personalities mingling with the rainy evening outside the doors created a comfortable atmosphere for the first complete run-through of FHC Inspires 2021. 

FHC Inspires is set to make its third annual appearance on June 1 of 2021 at 7 p.m., hosted at the Fine Arts Center for the first time ever. It will feature eighteen TED Talks presented by a carefully chosen group of sophomores from Mr. Ken George’s Honors English 10 class. 

These sophomores took to the stage last night in a nearly seamless run-through brimming with passion, knowledge, emotion, wisdom, and above all else, unadulterated personality. Each Talk was a five-minute snapshot of the speaker’s soul.

For an hour and twenty minutes, I felt the daunting heights of my worries melt away, and I was fully enamored by the diverse range of presentations. 

From educational TED Talks, like Rasraj Mann’s Talk about Sikhism, to heart-wrenching Talks, like Addi Bunnell’s about the lessons an important person taught her, there was something for everyone, a quality bound to please the audience come June 1.

And as I scoured my extensive notes from the night, endeavoring to pick a favorite, I realized there was no clear “winner.” Every TED Talk possessed unique strengths—opening lines, or lack thereof in the case of Trevor Vanskiver, that grabbed me, captivating stories peppered throughout, and stand-out creative elements, from arrays of pictures to original poetry: shout out to Kam Hawkins. 

The TED Talks that made my personal list of favorites were the ones I related to, meaning my favorites could have been entirely different from someone else’s favorites. This in itself was the overarching strength: the sheer relatability of the TED Talks is sure to foster a connection between the speakers and the audience. 

Even 24 hours later, I can’t stop thinking about my favorite TED Talks: Katelyn Heilman’s about defining her day differently reoriented my perspective, Lucy Mclean’s about being short made me feel seen, and Kyra Thomas’s about how crying is okay made me laugh, ironically. 

While the speakers may be the ones shining under the spotlight, the show wouldn’t be possible without the additional sophomores running the show behind the scenes. The team is headed up by Lydia Bolger and Sarah Bethel, and although my interactions with both of them have been brief, I have been impressed by the kindness and responsibility with which they have led.

FHC Inspires could not be in better hands.

June 1 will likely see me in the hopefully vast audience at the Fine Arts Center—no admission fee required—or live streaming from my laptop via the FAC website, but either way, fully in support of these spectacular sophomore speakers and the team that’s supporting them.