Irvine Talks brought passionate students from all over the district together on Dec. 9 at Portola High School to celebrate, explore and speak about what it means to be human.
In collaboration with IPSF and IUSD high schools, the event showcased a night of creativity—stories, art, music, poetry and engaging performances—centered around human interaction and core values.
“The performances were truly amazing,” junior Britney Zhang said. “Every speaker had a different aspect on what it meant to ‘Be Human’ and exuded confidence and bravery, especially in front of a new and different crowd.”
Northwood’s senior Carah Hwang and juniors Marly Sammy and Selena Lui were among the 12 performances featured that night.
“Before going up there, I was really scared,” Lui said. “But when I walked onto the stage, I heard a bunch of my friends screaming my name, so I was really happy to have many people supporting me. My speech was centered around disabilities in general, but I also talked about my personal hardships and overcoming appearances. Irvine Talks gave me a chance to raise awareness and to thank those who gave me a chance such as the Halops.”
Sammy gave a speech entitled “Light of the World,” which shared her life experiences that have kept her humble and not take anything for granted.
“We’re so fortunate to live in Irvine and we have amazing schools, so I wanted them to acknowledge the blessings that they had in their lives,” Sammy said. “Irvine Talks gave me the perfect opportunity to deliver my message to a big audience. Even though I’m young, I’m glad that the audience was able to trust me with my story.”
Hwang spoke about “Romanticizing Death,” where she personified death as a dark, brooding person to highlight the amount of jokes about death from the current generation of students and the resulting unappreciation of life.
“This talk meant a lot to me because I am just as guilty of joking about death,” Hwang said. “Verbalizing this concept made me more appreciative of life and forces me to be more conscious of my words and actions.”
Before the main event began, there were outdoor activities held to exhibit the talents of students, ranging from an art maze gallery to student films and bands. There were also interactive activities such as two-person conversation tents and “be human” reflection tables held to get people to connect with one another.
“The event united all five high schools and was an opportunity to share their stories and empathize,” Zhang said. “I left the event with an open mind and happy heart for all the performers.”
Students that enjoyed Irvine Talks “Chapter 1,” or missed it, can look forward to seeing Irvine Talks “Chapter 2” sometime in the near future.