WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.
- Feb. 7, 2014
-- TED Talks have been inspiring people for 30 years and on February 5, 2014, TEDxOaksChristianSchool inspired the OCS high school community—thanks to the vision of junior Blake Bryan. With the assistance of OCS Director of Academic Services Laura Mason and parent Shelene Bryan, Blake and a group of student leaders presented a five-hour program with eight dynamic, nationally known speakers sharing on the theme, “Breaking Boundaries.”
New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury was the first speaker, sharing her desire to change the world through her writing. Next was America’s Got Talent 17-year old magician superstar and Conejo Valley resident Collins Key. He engaged students by performing feats of illusion, bringing students Lexi Greene and Ariana Koch to the stage to “read their minds.” He engaged the students and stayed afterwards to be photographed with many of his new fans. Invisible People Founder Mark Horvath shared with students the ongoing problem of homelessness in America and how the problem continues to be addressed with a failing, age-old model. He shared how providing basic housing offers human dignity that fuels hope and change. FarmVille creator Sizha “Zao” Yang spoke about analogies and out-of-the-box innovations, which his career exemplifies. In 2009, his FarmVille social media game became the largest and fastest growing social media game ever. Today, he continues to develop virtual-reality games using social media and mobile device applications. After a lunch break, the speaker extraordinaire parade continued with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) survivor, CF Foundation Alex Award recipient, and activist Stacy Motenko. She shared how she has broken boundaries by striving to be a survivor and defying the odds that her life would end at age 18. She is now 27 years old and despite multiple surgeries and setbacks is an advocate for other CF survivors at the local and legislative levels. Actress and producer Candace Cameron Bure (TV’s beloved DJ Tanner of Full House) spoke about her efforts to share the love of Christ in the entertainment world. NFL Super Bowl Champion Chris Thomas spoke of how he rose to NFL fame through an uncommon path of determination. “I discovered the huge capabilities of the human spirit that allowed me to break boundaries,”
Thomas said. American Idol’s 5th Season superstar Mandisa closed the program with her poignant testimony of life that led her to breaking boundaries on American Idol, despite her issues with weight and body image. She has gone on to share her message of hope and faith through these past eight years, making four albums and winning two GRAMMY awards. “Earthly boundaries make us feel overwhelmed, but God’s boundaries make us overcomers,”
she proclaimed before ending the program with her song, “I’m An Overcomer.”
Students were truly inspired by the speakers and their call to action. “It meant a lot to us to hand pick speakers we thought the students would enjoy,” said TEDxOaksChristianSchool student leader Brynna Mason. “This TEDx experience has been one of the most amazing experiences of our lives.” Student team leader and event emcee Blake Bryan agreed and shared that his mother, Shelene Bryan, was the inspiration for this event as she was a previous TEDx speaker who shared about founding the Skip1.org ministry to serve children and families around the world. With the success of this event, OCS students are already planning to bring TEDxOaksChristianSchool back as an annual event.