Blayke Talks


Lindsey Faust, Spotlight Editor

Over the course of high school, most students will watch at least one TED Talk. You know the ones: the first time your teacher pulled one up on the projector, you groaned just taking in the talk’s setting. Scholarly looking adults in business attire stand on a stage, aided by PowerPoints and scientific facts, and you can’t wait for the class period to be over.

That is, until they begin to speak.

TED Talk presenters have the remarkable ability to take an often complex subject and detailed research, and make it accessible and incredibly fascinating to even the viewer of most average intelligence. In a TED-licensed but independently organized event, TEDxSMU offered middle- and high-school students the chance to participate in TEDxKids, and senior Blayke Drury benefitted greatly from this opportunity.

Drury’s journey to TEDxKids began in her academic decathlon classroom.

“Mrs. Lynch had our entire academic decathlon team send in videos as practice for our competition in January, and both [junior] Kevin Kim and I were picked as finalists,” Drury said.

Each AcDec member submitted a short clip of a speech on a topic of his or her choosing. Drury chose the physical effects of habitual lying as the subject of her talk.

“I chose this because I was looking for a topic that would be relevant and impactful,” Drury said. “I felt that with today’s technology and social media, our generation lies a lot, so I wanted to tell people what that might do to their bodies.”

This topic was clearly as impactful as Drury had hoped; she won her spot in the lineup despite stiff competition. The TEDxSMU members chose seven finalists out of all the entries they received, and the public voted for their favorite talk out of the chosen seven. Drury’s success came as a shock to her as she had never experienced anything quite like the competition, where she spoke in front of thousands of guests.

“I was very surprised to find out I won,” Drury said. “It was my first opportunity to speak in front of such a large audience.”

What does the bright future hold for Drury?

“TEDxSMU has been known to invite past speakers back to give another,” Drury said. “So I hope that they liked me enough that they’ll invite me back.”