Think Big club hosts fourth annual TEDx event


Riley Hurr

The TEDx event is a Churchill tradition, hosted by the Think Big club.

By Jackson Resnick, Features Editor

On Saturday, Feb. 23, the Think Big Club hosted the fourth annual TEDxChurchillHighSchool event. The event was held in the auditorium and featured a few guest speakers, which included some of Potomac’s leading thinkers, entrepreneurs and innovators.

Lobbyist Abby Smith, entrepreneur Andy Richman, and WCHS’ own science teacher Jonathan Lee were among the guest speakers who shared their experiences, advice, and stories with the audience.

“The speakers were local community members and we found them through personal connections as well as community outreach,” president of the Think Big Club and senior Ryan Needle said.

While this TED talk did not feature a world famous speaker like Bill Gates or Stephen Hawking, the night was full of enlightenment and inspiration. In attempt to educate and inspire an audience of young students preparing to go off into the real world, The Think Big Club chose speakers whose words were applicable to a young person growing up in Potomac.

“I wanted the audience to understand that in a close-knit and well-sheltered community such as Potomac, there are certain realities that aren’t evident unless the ‘big picture’ is considered,” Lee said.

The Think Big Club is a student-run entrepreneurship club that promotes creative thinking. This year’s TEDx event was the club’s fourth time organizing it.

Senior Ryan Needle is the club’s president, who helped run the event, but he also had help from club sponsor and WCHS teacher Yuri Achille. Club officers Riley Hurr and Alec Velikanov also contributed to making the night possible.

“My role was organizing and running the event which included finding speakers, working out logistics, and marketing and hosting the event,” Needle said.

Whether the speakers were current WCHS parents or a WCHS alumni, they all had a connection to WCHS.

“One speaker who was a former Churchill student talked about his struggles with bipolar disorder and how he overcame it,” Needle said.

Students in attendance also got to listen to a teacher they most likely had some sort of relationship with–Jonathan Lee. However, this time he was not talking about chemistry or science.

“I spoke largely about perspectives learned from experience,” Lee said. “I told stories from my past military career, my former staffing in Baltimore County Public Schools, and from anecdotes that taught me life lessons I felt were worth imparting.”

The speakers told stories from multiple perspectives and talked about different kinds of struggles or experiences. Some were personal while others were stories of important business actions.

“Another speaker talked about her experience as a lobbyist for Boeing and how she worked through the barriers of government regulation,” Needle said.

The event supports and promotes messages of success and is a unique yet enlightening opportunity to listen to interesting stories from interesting people.

“I met a lot of influential people from around the DMV area and I heard a lot of interesting and important stories from people that I normally would not have met were it not for this TEDx event,” Lee said.