Kate Amberson-Kate Amberson is a ninth-grade student at Mountain Brook Junior High. Her interests include playing volleyball and basketball, writing, drawing, listening to music, and spending time with friends. When Kate was a student at Cherokee Bend, she was a part of FOAC, a program designed to help children learn valuable skills and how to work together. This experience had such a profound impact on Kate’s life, she believes other schools should have similar programs. So, in her talk, she sets out to help that dream become a reality.
Dicky Barlow- Richard “Dicky” Barlow was appointed Superintendent of Mountain Brook Schools in 2009. Mr. Barlow received his B.S. and Certification in Science Education and Masters of Education in Administration and Supervision from Georgia State University. He earned his Ed.S. in Educational Administration at the University of Montevallo and his doctorate at Samford University. Prior to his appointment as superintendent, he served as principal of Mountain Brook High School from 2001 to 2009 and Assistant Principal from 1996 to 2001. Before joining Mountain Brook Schools, Mr. Barlow served in a number of positions as an educator in Georgia, including Assistant Principal and Student Intervention Specialist. He taught science and coached basketball and cross country.
Emily Bebenek- Emily Bebenek is a ninth-grade student at Mountain Brook Junior High. This is her third time to present at TEDxYouth@MBJH. Her interests include reading, writing, and playing the flute. Emily has always been interested in psychology, especially in the way people think and the way that they treat others around them. This fascination led to two TEDx talks and years of extracurricular research. Her talk this year is about narcissism and how it is currently affecting society.
Lucy Bowling- Lucy Bowling is a ninth-grade student at Mountain Brook Junior High. Her interests include playing guitar, singing, drawing, and writing. After a profound experience at Duke TIP, Lucy started wondering why schools don’t offer more passion-based learning opportunities for students. In her talk, she hopes to convince educators to make time for kids to explore their passions.
Hadley Bryant- Hadley Bryant is a ninth-grade student at Mountain Brook Junior High. Her interests include writing, reading, performing, singing, and playing music. Hadley is no stranger to writing and telling stories. In fact, she was recently awarded first place in the creative writing competition at MBJH’s Art Forms. One day, Hadley, a natural storyteller, started to wonder, “What are the stories hidden in the people around me?” This question led her to interview complete strangers and listen to their individual unique stories.
Virginia Cobbs- Virginia Cobbs is a ninth-grade student at Mountain Brook Junior High. Her interests include playing lacrosse, climbing, and making pottery. Ever since she was young, Virginia has attended Camp Merri-Mac. Like many others who attend summer camp, Virginia believes that camp brings out the best in people, so she started to wonder: Why can’t that happen in school?
Turner Cole- Turner Cole is a ninth-grade student at Mountain Brook Junior High. Her interests include playing softball, listening to music, and photography. Turner’s talk is about the startling truth behind the rapidly decreasing number of mental health beds in the state of Alabama.
Hays Edmunds-Hays Edmunds is a ninth-grade student at Mountain Brook Junior High. His interests include playing music, playing lacrosse, and hanging out with his friends. Hays spent an entire month without technology, and, in his words, “It was very, very, very tough.” But, he learned a lot about himself, his relationships, his family, and what effect technology seems to have on us all.
Isabel Elkus- Isabel Elkus is a ninth-grade student at Mountain Brook Junior High. Her interests include playing tennis, singing, watching movies, reading books, and spending time with her friends. Isabel’s talk is an exploration of why kids should learn how to accept their musical talents instead of hiding from them. As a recurring performer at MBJH’s annual Art Forms, Isabel is no stranger to performing in front of large audiences. One day, she wondered why many of her classmates who can sing very well don’t perform too, and this question led her to explore the notion of why kids hide their musical talents.
Ben Harris- Ben Harris is a ninth-grade student at Mountain Brook Junior High. His interests include Debate, reading, and writing. After listening to two news stations share the same story with two very different perspectives and set of words, Ben started to explore the prevalence and influence of bias in the media.
Amanda Jones- Amanda Jones is a ninth-grade student at Mountain Brook Junior High. Her interests include running and spending time with her family and friends. Amanda’s talk is about how technology is blurring the line between our work and home lives.
Kate and the Howlers- Kamp McMinn, 8th grade, drums; Paul McMinn, 8th grade, bass; Will Hurley, 9th grade, keyboards; Will McCowan, 9th grade, guitar and mandolin; and Kate Howell, 8th grade, lead singer. Chloe Kinderman- Chloe Kinderman is a ninth-grade student at Mountain Brook Junior High. Her interests include Debate, photography, cooking, and reading. Ever since she was very young, she has been fascinated by science-related subjects. Chloe’s talk is about the shortage of females in STEM-related fields.
Lourdes Rodriguez- Lourdes Rodriguez is a ninth-grade student at Mountain Brook Junior High. Her interests include playing guitar, writing papers, and helping others. Many of Lourdes’s teachers note that Lourdes always takes her time with her work, and as a result, she is always the last one to turn something in, and yet, she always produces work of the highest quality. This trait, this desire to take things slowly, this need to think deeply, led Lourdes to wonder what efficiency means in the 21st-century classroom where students are encouraged to rush, multitask, and be as efficient as possible.
Elaine Russell- Elaine Russell is a ninth-grade student at Mountain Brook Junior High. Her interests include playing soccer, listening to music, hanging out with her friends, snorkeling, or playing with her dog, Chelsea. Perhaps the most vulnerable and heart-wrenching talk at TEDxYouth@MBJH, Elaine’s talk is a reflection on the events of her seventh-grade year that shaped her life tremendously. When a student needs help, help with something much more personal than schoolwork, they rarely turn to adults - most often, they turn to their friends, but what if that friend doesn’t know how to help?
John Scalici-John Scalici is an award winning teaching artist, author, internationally recognized facilitator, musician, and a member of the John C. Maxwell Team of certified coaches, and trainers. His Rhythm of Leadership® and Unity Through Rhythm® programs are in high demand and highly regarded at leading corporations, college campuses, elementary, middle and high schools across the U.S.
Justin Scarsella- Master Justin Scarsella is the owner and Master instructor of World Class Tae Kwon Do in Birmingham, AL. He has been teaching for 17 years and has taught over 10,000 students nationwide. He has recently built an 8,500 sq/ft state-of-the-art freestanding martial art school in the country and teaches more than 450 active students from the ages of 4 to 64. Master Scarsella is married to Jessica Scarsella and they have two dogs, Sabre and Tae.
Vann Stewart- Vann Stewart is a ninth-grade student at Mountain Brook Junior High. His interests include writing, listening to music, and learning about history, cinematography, and programming. When Vann was a young child, he heard a statistic about fossil fuel consumption that scarred him deeply. In fact, he’s never let it go. Vann’s talk is about the need for his generation, a generation of students, to amend this issue before it’s too late.
Mark Waller- Mark Waller is a ninth-grade student at Mountain Brook Junior High. His interests include playing music, reading books, and exploring nature. After participating in a math class of 12 students and the feeling that he understood math better than he ever had before, Mark started thinking about the effect class size has on a student’s understanding of certain concepts and courses.