Brown County Schools to host TEDx event, community invited to be inspired

Students in Brown County Schools are gearing up to press play and inspire their community next month when they take center stage during the district’s first-ever TEDx event.

All are invited to the 2,000-seat Brown County Music Center on May 18 to hear from inspirational speakers and support the community’s youngest residents during this free event. The theme is “Just press play: YOU hold the remote control to life.” 

“We need as many people to fill that music center as possible,” Superintendent Emily Tracy said.  “It is an opportunity for our kids to share ideas they are passionate about and it instills confidence at a young age. TEDx is a constant reminder that we all can do big things no matter our age.”

In addition to student TEDx talks, Kenny Moore II from the Indianapolis Colts, Founder of the STARTed Up Foundation Don Wettrick, Butler Professor and Neuroscience expert Dr. Lori Desautels, and Sister Jeanne Hagelskamp will all speak at this thought-provoking community event. Regional Opportunity Initiatives is one of the event sponsors. 

What began as Tracy visiting Cajon Valley Union School District in San Diego transformed into Brown County Schools hosting its first TEDx event, the first officially licensed K-12 school TEDx event in the Indiana Uplands.

“I was inspired that a low-income, incredibly diverse school district was able to provide these (TEDx) opportunities to students. I thought, if they can do it, we can do it,” Tracy said.

Using grant funding, Tracy and other district educators visited Cajon Valley schools last spring to experience its TEDx event firsthand. 

“One of our teachers asked me, ‘How do we do this for kids at Brown County?’ I knew I had a green light,” Tracy said.

Planning for Brown County’s own TEDx began last August. In June, all five schools were licensed as TED-Ed schools. Tracy then became a licensed TEDx host and organizer.  

Forty students volunteered to be members of the district’s TED-Ed clubs. Auditions were held for students interested in giving speeches on the big stage.  

“Presentation literacy isn’t an optional extra for the few. It’s a core skill the State of Indiana has identified as one of the top five characteristics that all students should leave K-12 with,” Tracy said. “TEDx can teach you how to communicate with others effectively, articulate your ideas clearly, and speak with confidence.”

The fun begins at 8:30 a.m. outside of the music center with an immersive outdoor experience where all attendees will get the opportunity to contribute to a collective mural by local artist Kurt Eagleman, make friendship bracelets, and enjoy a performance by the Brown County pep band. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. and the first 300 attendees through the door will receive a gift bag. The event will run from 10 a.m. to around 1:30 p.m. Food trucks will be available after the show, too. 

“I am just so proud to be able to put this on for the state, and I hope to help other school districts scale an event like ours across Indiana,” Tracy said.

To reserve your free tickets, call the Brown County Music Center box office at 812-988-5323 ext. 1.