Irvine Talks Chapter Three: a movement for growth

ORIGINS%3A+Seniors+Saghar+Rafie%2C+Akshita+Agirishetti+and+Nelly+Safi+plot+a+point+on+the+map+to+represent+the+place+they+are+from.

Rachel Kang

ORIGINS: Seniors Saghar Rafie, Akshita Agirishetti and Nelly Safi plot a point on the map to represent the place they are from.

Mihir Kulkarni, Staff Writer

A night of captivating speeches by IUSD students, the third annual Irvine Talks was hosted at Portola High School on Nov. 23. The event featured a variety of performing arts to complement the speeches as well as an outdoor experience complete with live music and artwork.

Northwood was represented at the event by sophomore Shreya Shankar and senior Amirta Srinivas. Both of them opened up about the struggles in their lives and how they were able to get through their tough times. The vulnerability they showed was a common theme throughout the night, and their emotional stories captivated the audience.

“I thought the event was really interesting and inspiring,” sophomore Ritwik Kumar said. “It was surreal to hear the stories of students who we go to school with and how they’ve overcome hardships in their lives.”

The event also featured dance and vocal performances, several of which were student-composed. A talk was even given in American sign language, creating a night that highlighted the talents of a wide variety of students.

Held in collaboration with IPSF, Irvine Talks is an event revolving around a theme that relates to the human experience. This year’s theme was “Movement,” relating to the aspects of growth, change and self-discovery that is common to all. Since every speaker’s own interpretation of the theme was unique, it made for a fascinating night of sharing personal stories.

“As children, it’s not often when people choose to actually listen to us, but it’s clear through Irvine Talks that we all have something meaningful to share with the world,” Shankar said. Outside of the theater, there were murals, photo booths and interactive exhibits such as a world map with location pins created for the guests’ enjoyment before the speeches began. Live music and various works of art on display added to the relaxing ambience of the outdoor event and several food and drink options were available for attendees.

The event concluded with the Irvine Talks board and all the performers coming on stage to deliver an impactful message. They explained that when the audience grows as human beings, Irvine Talks fulfills its purpose. The eye-opening stories about students within the district showed the importance of human connection, and Irvine Talks will continue its mission of enhancing the human experience for students at Irvine Talks Chapter Four next year.

“The opportunity to share your story with so many people is a rare one,” Shankar said. “Stories have the ability to spread messages and change lives, and the fact that I was able to make even the smallest difference to someone means the world.”