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Gleneagle 'fuels the fire' with TEDx talks

The Coquitlam high school hosts a lecture series Jan. 23.
Grade 11 Heritage Woods secondary student Maya Tharp will speak about failure and resiliency at the TEDxGleneagleSecondary on Jan. 23.

How do you define failure?

For Maya Tharp, it was a B on a Math 10 test last year.

A student at Port Moody’s Heritage Woods secondary school, Tharp was used to higher grades.

She had been on the honour roll for years and defined herself as an over-achiever, always racking up top marks with her academic studies while leading numerous extra-curricular clubs.

Tharp admits she dwelled on her first-ever B for too long — she felt bothered, embarrassed and inadequate — but she eventually came to realize the letter also taught her a valuable lesson to not sweat the small stuff.

“I know it’s a cliché but failure is your best teacher,” the Grade 11 student said. “You can’t let disappointment rule over your life. You have to be resilient or you’re going to end up in a downward spiral.”

Growing from your mistakes will be the subject of Tharp’s 10-minute lecture for the TEDxGleneagleSecondary talks, which run from 5 to 8 p.m. Jan. 23 and fall within the theme “Fuelling Your Fire.”

Six students, entrepreneurs and other professionals will speak about their passions and motivations at the event, with the aim of inspiring listeners to take action in their lives.

“We are hoping to create a ripple effect of conversation, inspiration and innovation within our community and encourage the attendees to think critically about what motivates them and how they can take meaningful action in our community,” said Lucas Hung, one of six Con-X Leadership students organizing the TEDx talk under the guidance of teacher sponsor Adam Hayes.

It’s the third time Gleneagle secondary has hosted a TEDx (the last two were held in 2016 and ’17). For this version, the planning committee auditioned candidates and, besides Tharp, invited:

• Peter Peng, a Grade 12 student at Coquitlam’s Pinetree secondary;

• Berry Yan, a Grade 12 student at Heritage Woods secondary;

• Kim Venn, an SFU Beedie School of Business undergraduate;

• Jerwin Bautista, a marketing specialist;

• and Jess Tang, an outreach and partnerships lead at SHAD Canada.

“They were chosen for the originality of their ideas and relevancy to our theme, how well we thought their message would resonate with our target audience of high school students and, finally, how well their topics came together to create one cohesive and diverse program,” Hung said.

Tickets are free through the generous support of various partners including the Duke of Edinburgh Passion to Project grant and the SD43 Student Leadership Council fund. Doors open at 4:30 p.m.