One Million Lights speaks at TEDxGunnHighSchool

[See the program for this event]

TEDxGunnHighSchool to Bring Together Students and Community

“Some of the best minds of our community will be on one stage. What more does one want?” ~Soham Tikekar, TEDxGunnHighSchool event coordinator.

On Thursday, May 26th prominent members of the Palo Alto community will join together with teachers, parents and students from Henry M. Gunn High School to kick-off the inaugural event. The program will run in the school’s Little Theater from 8:00am to 5:00pm. Admission is free and a select number of seats are available to the community at . Throughout the day, student presenters are scheduled to speak on topics ranging from biology and Bach to making friends with natural disasters. These presentations will be interspersed with talks from a diverse group of speakers including tech pioneers, a Stanford Director, the Mayor of Palo Alto and an organic foods entrepreneur.

“Our event will ignite the flame you didn’t know existed inside of you,” describes, Jessica Sun, a member of the student planning team.  “Or at the very least involve some sort of combustive, poignant effect.”

TEDxGunnHighSchool, an independently organized TED event, began when PAUSD librarian, Meg Omainsky, applied for a TEDx license as a way to promote a culture of collaboration and idea sharing for students.  Gunn High School strives to foster knowledge, creativity, integrity and personal excellence in its students. TEDxGunnHighSchool provides a platform for students to get inspired and encourages them to think big about their ideas, their future and their community. The TEDx platform also provides the opportunity to showcase the innovations and inspiring stories of the broad Palo Alto community.

Gunn High School student leaders and TEDx enthusiasts, Soham Tikekar, Jessica Sun, Takuto Sasajima, Yona Ran, and Sarah Dukes-Schlossberg have led the planning of this first time TEDx event for Henry M. Gunn High School .

The following innovators have been selected to present at TEDxGunnHighSchool:

  • Anastasia Vavilina and  Jasmine Vahidsafa, Henry M. Gunn High School
  • Andrew Liu-Henry M. Gunn High School
  • Axel Clavier- International School of the Peninsula
  • Clint Wilkins -Director, Heroic Imagination Project
  • Derek Lee- Henry M. Gunn High School
  • Emmanuel Mayssat and Sierra Fan- One Million Lights
  • Gunjan Sinha- Chairman, Metric Stream
  • Hilda Huang- Palo Alto High School
  • John Bruggeman- Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Cadence Design Systems  Rachel Phelps- CEO, Mighty Mouth Foods
  • Shantanu Narayen- CEO, Adobe Systems
  • Sidney Espinosa- Mayor of Palo Alto
  • Takuto Sasajima, Henry M. Gunn High School
  • Theresa Diola- SF SMILES
  • Uwe Bergmann- Deputy Director of LCLS, Standford Linear Accelorator Laboratory
  • William Paris- Not In Our Town

Visit the TEDxGunnHighSchool website for detailed descriptions of each talk.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 26 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. At TED, the world’s leading thinkers and doers are asked to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Talks are then made available, free, at TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Benoit Mandelbrot, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Two major TED events are held each year: The TED Conference takes place every spring in Long Beach, California (along with a parallel conference, TEDActive, in Palm Springs), and TEDGlobal is held each summer in Edinburgh, Scotland.

TED’s media initiatives include, where new TEDTalks are posted daily; the new TED Conversations, enabling broad conversations among TED fans; and the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as the ability for any TEDTalk to be translated by volunteers worldwide.

TED has established the annual TED Prize, where exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world are given the opportunity to put their wishes into action; TEDx, which offers individuals or groups a way to host local, self-organized events around the world; and the TED Fellows program, helping world-changing innovators from around the globe to become part of the TED community and, with its help, amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

For information about TED’s upcoming conferences, visit
Follow TED on Twitter at, or on Facebook at

Media contact:  Meg Omainsky
[email protected]