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SBS Talks

Communications Fellow Cameron Kelley ‘22
SBS juniors walked the halls in an array of suits, blazers and dresses over the course of three days as they presented various topics to their classmates, teachers and administration. In AP Language and Composition with teacher Shannon Brooks, students were charged to choose a topic over which they would give a TED Talk. Students had one month in which they planned and prepared for this exciting project.
Meet Mrs. Brooks!
AP English teacher Mrs. Shannon Brooks is known for her kindness and ingenuity. Her creative projects and engaging teaching methods make her classroom an enjoyable place to learn. She has challenged me this year to become a better writer and a more critical thinker. I know her classroom is a safe and welcoming environment where her students can express our opinions as she pushes us to grow as people and literary critics. 

The Process
Mrs. Brooks challenged students to pick topics they were passionate about in order that we may give a genuine presentation and be able to connect with our audience. We had to do our own research and provide citations for our sources. Next came the speech itself. We wrote our TED Talks in class over the course of a week and were required to cite six sources, demonstrate 15 literary devices, and display three different types of sentence structure. This process compelled us to think critically in order to create a complex and concrete argument. 

Once I completed my final draft, I spent days memorizing and practicing my speech. Reciting to our families, friends, mirrors and even our walls, myself and my classmates worked hard to deliver a well-rehearsed speech that sounded conversational and confident when performed. Next, we created professional and visually engaging slideshow presentations to go alongside our words. These slideshows included graphs, statistics and images to drive our points home. Finally, we presented our topics. Each of us had approximately seven minutes in which we attempted to change the way our audience thought about red meat, gymnastics, sports and delayed gratification (to name a few). 

The Result
Topics ranged from the “Psychology of Laughter”  and “The Inconvenient Truth about Convenience” to “What Does Your Style Say about You?” and “The Key to Success.” These ideas were insightful, impressive and eye-opening. As a student, it was an incredible way to connect as a class because I listened and learned as my classmates and friends shared their passions, stories and interests. Each speech was unique to its presenter and although I originally believed the presentation would be terrifying, after much preparation I was able to actually enjoy it! My classmate Emma Wentz ‘22 shared after her presentation, “I actually want to go again, it was surprisingly fun!” This project worked to improve and develop my own public speaking capabilities. Not only do I now know the details behind a great speech, I also know how to calm my nerves when speaking in front of a large audience. Though challenging, this project forced me to employ skills that will be necessary to master in college and the workforce.

As the next generation of leaders, experiences and teachers like these at SBS prepare us to make an impact on our world. On behalf of the juniors class, I can say I am extremely grateful to gain an education in an environment that is developing me to lead courageously and think critically as I strive to live out my life for Jesus. 

To everyone who came to watch and listen, thank you for coming to our TED Talks, we hoped you learned something small from a project that taught us so much!
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