Miami-Dade County

Miami-Dade County students inspire young, old with TED talks

Marnino Toussaint gives his ‘I am a Rapper’ presentation at the TEDx Youth Miami conference, which took place at the Arsht Center on Thursday, February 19, 2015.
Marnino Toussaint gives his ‘I am a Rapper’ presentation at the TEDx Youth Miami conference, which took place at the Arsht Center on Thursday, February 19, 2015. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

There was no shortage of powerful ideas at the TEDx Youth Miami conference Thursday evening, but one rang true throughout: Learning between adults and kids should be reciprocal.

Each of the the 18 student presenters enveloped the crowd at the Adrienne Arsht Center with innovative ideas. These talks ran the gamut from robotics to the power of language.

The conference was the fourth year that Cushman School has hosted local public and private school students to give short, inspiring talks.

“I think we can agree that Miami is lucky to have this group represent this city,” Arvi Balseiro told the crowd Thursday. Balseiro is the TEDx Youth Miami founder and head of Cushman School in Miami.

TEDx talks are independently organized, but are under the umbrella of the TED conferences that have been seen by more than one billion online worldwide. Among the innovative speakers who have presented on the TED stage are Jane Goodall, Bill Gates and Bono.

Some of Thursday’s speakers may have been smaller in stature, but their ideas were just as big.

Brandon Goldberg, known as ‘The Little Piano Man,’ spoke of the ways his love for music enriches his life.

“Music is universal and I believe we should all have a chance to find our instrument,” said Brandon, who was outfitted in a tuxedo for his talk.

The 9-year-old pianist said he believes that music has always been inside of him, and was introduced to the piano at age 3.

“When my fingers touch the keys, I feel like I can do anything,” said the Sunny Isles Beach K-8 Center student.

Before he performed, Brandon invited the crowd to share his love of music.

“I challenge you to find your instrument and see where it takes you,” Brandon said.

Another speaker, Jonathan Wynn, 19, waited a year to stand in the spotlight at the conference.

Last year, he sat in the audience and envisioned himself on stage. The student from Doral applied to be a speaker the very next day.

“I am going to talk about the nonprofit organization that I started because of my homelessness,” Wynn told the audience Thursday.

Wynn is the founder of the nonprofit organization 60 Minutes of Art, which brings the arts into local inner-city schools that have lost funding. He conceived the program after experiencing the impact the arts had on him when his family became homeless during his sophomore year of high school.

“Without the arts, I don’t know if I would be speaking to you today,” said Wynn, who now attends Miami Dade College.

This opportunity to reach others on such a scale was invaluable, Wynn says, especially as a young person.

“Our ideas are the ones that are the future,” Wynn said. “It is platforms like this that let us show our ideas not only with the audience, but with thousands of people around the world.”

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