It’s just an aggression | Mya James | TEDxYouth@ShaftesburySchool

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The event, a first for Shaftesbury School, was called ‘Louder than Words’ and it more than certainly lived up to that name! At midday, in front of those famous scarlet, red TEDx letters, skilfully crafted by Mahta Rezvani and her team in Design Technology, a global audience from Ghana, Sweden, Finland, New Zealand, Japan, Australia, Canada, USA, Fiji, Botswana, Brazil, Germany, Switzerland, and Argentina were all connected and listening to sixteen inspiring voices. They came on a blustery day in November to share their insight, knowledge, and passion on a wide variety of topics close to their hearts
The sponsorship for this event also had a world-wide connection too; with thanks to Epson and GF Piping Switzerland for making it possible. Clive Harris, Head of Catering at Shaftesbury School, along with sixth form student Georgia Denton, added to the international flavour providing everyone with fantastic Asian inspired cuisine throughout the day and, of course, copious cups of British tea!
Not only was there an international audience, food and sponsors, but also speakers from around the world too: Leah Wang, Rayyan Ahmed, and Fatimah Hussain all delivered inspirational talks from the perspective of ‘Gen Z’ and enlightened all that listened on how we can harness the power of debate, break free from negative mind-sets and fulfil our potential. Most particularly moving was Rayyan, from California, realising a dream of delivering his first TEDx Youth talk in the rural beauty of Shaftesbury.
Equally our youth speakers closer to home: Nadia Chapman, Mya James, Gwen Hamblin, Henrietta Love, Archie Friend, James Joshi and Olivia Bowditch spoke with such conviction on a variety of issues which challenged the audience and made them consider how we can be pro-active in destigmatising body types, challenge the misconception of micro aggressions and confront and change some truly shocking statistics about the gender pay gap.
A special mention must be made for Kimberley Hendricks, a Shaftesbury Boarding student, who stood in, just a week before the event, to not only give us a heartfelt talk on the benefits of music, but also to sing the aria ‘O Mio Babbino Caro’ by Giacomo Puccini. This really was where ‘Louder than Words’ reverberated from the Shaftesbury Arts Centre, our wonderful venue for the day. People from around the world were able to watch the talks via a live feed on YouTube supplied by Compass Video. It was estimated that 1000 people tuned in on the day, from Ghana to Japan.
These young inspirational voices certainly set the bar high for our more experienced speakers, yet unsurprisingly, their words spoke equally as loud as Simon Constantine, Joseph Russo, Sam McLaren, Ffinlo Costain and Antoine Walter delivered talks on how we can reform the prison system to stop punishing the already wounded, to key environmental messages on how we produce food and use and save water so all on the planet can have clean access to this life giving resource. All spoke with such passion, knowledge and with too many humorous anecdotes to mention, which delighted yet informed us all.
If ‘Louder than Words’ was the foundations on which the event was built then the legacy this has created is already more than in motion. Mr Alex More, SAST CPD and Pedagogical Learning Lead, who was instrumental in the organisation and facilitation of the event announced that over 120 speakers, globally, had expressed their interest to speak at next year’s TEDx Youth event.
In a world where sometimes, messages become lost in soundbites and spin; this was a day where our young people spoke out from one tiny part of our world and were heard and embraced by a truly global community, a day where words, passion and ideas were shared and a day, indeed, where everything felt ‘louder than words’.
Mya James is a Year 11 student at Shaftesbury school with great ambitions. She is highly outspoken and opinionated when it comes to topics she is passionate about. She wants to be a voice for people who may not have the confidence to speak out on social injustices.
She is currently studying History, RE, Spanish, and PE however, she is especially enthused by History and RE, as those subjects give her more of an insight into the world and what goes on in it. The past shapes the present and she sees history as an opportunity to learn more about why the world is the way it is now and why aggressions are still overlooked to this day and age. With an immense stage presence due to many singing and acting performances, Mya has grown the confidence over the years to become a mesmerising speaker. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

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