Croydon Youth TEDX Event
Young people are truly amazing. I know, because I spent the day with six of them this Saturday, at Croydon Youth's third TEDx Event, hosted by the BRIT School in South East London.
During the day, the students had the privilege of listening to thirteen equally amazing public speakers take to the stage to explore what the future holds for young people today. Publishers and poets, artists and entrepreneurs, dancers and musicians all wowed them with their different takes on this topic.
'I loved the dance group,' Simran told me when I asked her what her highlights were, 'but I'm not saying I liked them best; they were all amazing.' she continued, and it's true: it did feel hard to pick.
'They were so inspiring.' I overheard Zaynah telling Nally on the train, whilst holding the enormous jar of jelly beans she'd won after tweeting her own inspirational message. 'The guy who'd lost his mum, that guy who had been stabbed, all of them; their life stories and what they said was just amazing.'
'It's true, Miss,' Nally told me. 'I had a really good day. Like, there are times where maybe I'd just say that to be polite, but I actually did.' Awais agreed: 'I had a lovely day.' he said at one point on the journey back, to no-one in particular. 'Really!' he added, when he saw we all suspected this was his umpteenth sarcastic comment of the day!
It may have taken us three hours to get to and from the event, and rained pretty much from start to finish, but the six students, who signed up for the trip to build on the work they're already doing within their Speak Out Challenge enrichment, more than looked on the bright side.
'Even the journey's been good.' Abdur-Rahman told me as we were heading home. 'I hardly read my book once!' which, from INA's resident book- addict, is saying something!
But the last word goes to Keanna: 'I liked the woman whose talk was set to music best,' she told me, 'just because I liked what she was talking about: about how important it is not just to connect virtually, but to really connect.'
And she's right, that, more than anything, this event, which I for one thought would argue that the future for young people revolves around technology, revealed that what really matters to them is humanity. And what amazing human beings young people are.