Last night at FHC Inspires, I learned three main things.
Your mental health is very important, and there are many ways to improve it.
Look around your life, discover who is important to you, and revel in your gratitude.
Don’t fit in. It’s gross.
These lessons I gleaned were spun throughout the majority of the twenty presentations I drank in at the second annual FHC Inspires. Some of these lessons were the main message of their talks, but often they were mentioned as a way to convey their main message.
The topic choices were very diverse, some more emotional and others more informational. On the emotional side of the spectrum, two talks stood out to me for very different reasons. Rachel Lynch’s talk titled You Are Beautiful explored a heartwarming social experiment that left me smiling and uplight.
However, Zoe Lipke’s talk about her passed away siblings caused a completely different reaction. As she spoke, I battled away the tears—the ones that Megan Cushman’s talk told me were ok to release—and I couldn’t help but faintly smile. Do you have any idea how much courage she needed to have to be able to stand on stage in front of a mass of darkened figures and talk about something that incredibly personal?
In the middle of the topic spectrum, Katie Ritzema’s talk titled Autism Myths left the largest impact on me. Beginning with precious pictures and adorable anecdotes, Katie debunked many of the most common myths about autism. Another talk that did the same kind of thing was Aseel and Hadeel Ayesh’s, the first ever duo-talk.
On the completely informational side, Julia Kirkman’s talk on climate change was by far the best. I loved all the witty jabs Julia made at those who disrespect the environment. The longer she stood on stage, the more her passion grew. I could feel it radiating off her, and it made me want to make a large scale change to the way we treat our environment.
Furthermore, I felt that all the students were exceptionally passionate about their topics, and it certainly showed. From start to finish, the audience was captivated by these sophomore speakers. It was clear how much hard work was put into creating talks and how much hard work was put into rehearsing these talks since they were first given during Honors English 10. Each speaker seemed at ease on stage. Because of their growing comfort level, you could really see their personalities break through the anxious exterior.
One person I really noticed this with was Daci Funaro. During her talk, I not only got a sense of the kind of person she is, but I also learned something about how interesting of a person she is. The topic of Daci’s talk was how self-expression is an important concept and practice. For her, self-expression comes through the unique medium of body art.
Another unique talk was Lily Campbell’s on the art of small talk. I loved how informal and interactive it was. Rather than starting on stage, she walked down through the audience demonstrating small talk. For part of her talk, she stayed off the stage, giving it more of a relaxed and intimate feel.
A few talks even had props. Sukhpreet Singh brought his trombone on stage for his talk titled Me and My Trombone; he even played a little bit of music. I also really like how at the end of Linus Kaechele’s talk about why you should write a letter, he handed out letters for everyone to write on. And, Addison Whitten carried a pair of checkered overalls on stage with her when she talked about trying to fit in. Through these props, their talks became even more inspiring.
There truly is no other name for this grand event. FHC Inspires was absolutely inspiring.