TEDx speakers share inspirational words



Erica Koenig and Leanne Wilson


Staff Writers

The first session of the TEDx talks today at Baldwin focused on topics as varied as mental illness, issues within our school, and living with arthritis.

Freshman Mikayla Davic kicked off the presentations with “Oscar the Monster: The Truth Behind OCD.”

Davic discussed her struggles with OCD, and how she found the strength to share with others.

“This was something I only told my closest friends and family … until now,” Davic said. She reminded the audience that “happiness with a mental illness is possible.”

Family and consumer science teacher Beth Fochtman discussed her story dealing with the loss of her son, Logan, and how she became a “medical perfect storm.” She reminded the audience that “You can get through it. You can survive it. You can find joy again,” even after dealing with a tragic event.

Junior exchange student Isabel Bierworth from Germany talked about seeing life through a new perspective. She “put her sunglasses on” and combined her American and German cultures. She left the audience with a German quote, “Der We gist das Ziel,” which means “the way is the goal.”

Sophomore Josh Barone gave his “95 Theses” about the changes the school system should make to create a more positive environment for both students and teachers.

Senior Mikaela Thorne gave a speech about embracing herself, and no longer blending in.

“When you stop blending in, you completely alter the environment you’re in,” Thorne said. She encouraged people to be different and accept who they are.

Substitute teacher Tony Melillo encouraged everyone to make the “stuff” in their life positive. He wants people to remember to find passion and make their lives extraordinary.

“We have control in how we react to things,” Melillo said.

Senior Zach Blanner encouraged people to “Ignore the Noise” of people’s judgments, and do what makes you happy. “Listen to your voice, because that is the voice that’s right,” he said.

Lastly, senior Mackenzie Voelker finished the first session with her struggles with rheumatoid arthritis while continuing to play volleyball. She looked to God to help her, and shared her favorite scripture, Romans 5:3-4: “Rejoice in your sufferings because suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character; hope.” She hopes that audience members won’t give up doing what they love and instead work through the pain.

The final session will take place tonight starting at 7 p.m.