Seniors share their passions with Dragon Talks

Seniors+share+their+passions+with+Dragon+Talks

Emily Kinnaman

As seniors reach the end of their high school careers, they have one final project to present: Dragon Talks. Modeled after TED talks, the project is an opportunity for seniors to talk for several minutes about their passions. Whether it be women in business, police brutality, music, or adventure, each senior has something that they are passionate about and want to share with others.

(From left to right) Seniors Kiley Becker, Maddy Offerman, Carlos Cohen and Avalon Elliot all prepared Dragon Talks on their passions. Credit: Josh Ren/The Foothill Dragon Press
(From left to right) Seniors Kiley Becker, Maddy Offerman, Carlos Cohen and Avalon Elliott all prepared Dragon Talks on their passions. Credit: Josh Ren/The Foothill Dragon Press

As seniors reach the end of their high school careers, they have one final project to present: Dragon Talks. Modeled after TED talks, the project is an opportunity for seniors to talk for several minutes about their passions. Whether it be women in business, police brutality, music, or adventure, each senior has something that they are passionate about and want to share with others.

Avalon Elliott: Women in business

For every dollar a man is paid, a woman with the same degree is paid only 77 cents; however, in reality, there is just a “lack of women in the business world.”

Piktochart for dragon talks feature (Carrie Coonan)
Information from the International Labour Organization and The White House. Credit: Carrie Coonan/The Foothill Dragon Press

“When men and women graduate and they have their bachelor’s degree, women are 17 percent less likely to get a job,” senior Avalon Elliott said.

Elliott hopes to not only inform people about the situation of women in business but also present solutions in her Dragon Talk.

As Elliott hopes to become a healthcare manager, she is passionate about equality for women in business.

According to Elliott, there are many theories as to why there is a lack of women in the business world; understanding these theories leads to possible solutions for getting more women into the work force.

“One of [the theories] is just making men more a part of the roles in the house because that’s why a lot people think there is a lack of women in business,” she said.

“So, I would just say, making that more of a common thing, like not having women be the ones that are known to take care of the babies, but also men can take care of them too.”

“Another one is that women tend to underestimate their abilities, and men take credit for their success,” Elliott added.

“So when a man is successful, they’re like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s because I got my masters in business,’ but women tend to attribute it to outside sources, like, ‘Yeah, that teacher was super helpful’ or something like that,” Elliot said.

Overall, Elliott hopes to encourage girls.

“I’m excited, I hope that I can inspire some younger girls to go into the business field,” she said.

Maddy Offerman: The importance of learning music

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Senior Maddy Offerman wrote her Dragon Talk on the importance of learning how to play music. Credit: Josh Ren/The Foothill Dragon Press

According to senior Maddy Offerman, today’s school system does not value learning to play an instrument enough. Her Dragon Talk will focus on the benefits of playing music and why it should be more widely implemented in schools.

“I’m going to go into the science of how it actually impacts your brain and how it actually changes the structure of it,” she said.

“There’s a lot of research that shows that [learning an instrument] can improve test scores in math and English and the ability to learn a language,” Offerman said.

“It makes you a better student and it also teaches a lot of skills like determination, hard work, attention to detail, and the ability to take criticism,” Offerman said.

Offerman is passionate about this topic because of her own positive experience with music classes in middle school. Currently, she plays cello in the Ojai Youth Symphony.

“I started in middle school at Cabrillo with Mr. Boccali, and he was just an amazing teacher, and I learned so much and it was just a really great class because we had a lot of fun but we also worked really hard and we learned a lot,” she said.

“And we did have a good orchestra. And I still feel successful in that, and I think that it taught me a lot.”

Because of these clear benefits, Offerman believes that music programs would be a valuable addition to schools that don’t have them, like Foothill.

“I think it’s a really important thing and it should be taught in our schools,” she said. “We should start in elementary school, so that we can start building these skills earlier.”

“And I think we should have a program at Foothill also because Foothill cares so much about test scores, it would make sense to have a program to make us more intelligent and help us with those things,” she said.

Offerman hopes that her talk inspires students and brings awareness of “how important learning an instrument is, and how it can benefit you.”

Kiley Becker: Police brutality

Police brutality and racial inequality are currently popular topics of debate; because of this, senior Kiley Becker decided to talk about the issue in her Dragon Talk.

Information from. Credit: Jessie Snyder/The Foothill Dragon Press
Information from FiveThirtyEight Data Lab, The National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project and Al Jazeera America. Credit: Jessie Snyder/The Foothill Dragon Press

“It was [originally about] just like police brutality in general, but stuff keeps happening so now it’s more about Baltimore than anything else,” she said.

Becker’s talk will cover topics like Freddie Gray’s death, problems with police cameras, and racial stereotypes. She will also discuss how the media “misconstrues” the protests happening in places such as Baltimore.

“I’m talking about racial stereotypes and how we have these stereotypes ingrained in us from society and our media and interactions with our peers, and all of that,” she said.

“And so when it comes to black people and those stereotypes, we as a society view them as ‘thugs’ […] And they’re sort of going through life, we view them as permanently guilty.”

“Even if it’s like a teenager being killed, you’ll see in the news, ‘Oh, this teenager has a picture of him smoking weed, he obviously deserved to get killed.’ And we sort of do this character assassination after they’ve already been killed. So we’re able to justify their killing and the cop won’t get in trouble,” Becker added.

In her presentation, Becker will talk about her belief that the solution to police brutality is changing these stereotypes, not using body cameras.

“A body camera would be sort of alleviating the symptoms, and not addressing the actual problem,” she said.

Becker hopes that her talk will allow people to recognize where these harmful stereotypes exist, and eventually change them.

 

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“It’s not something that really talked about a lot at school and around in general, so I feel like it’s important to talk about it,” she said. “And I’m hoping people will change their mind and stop throwing around these stereotypes, and realize the repercussions of what they’re saying.”

 

Carlos Cohen: Adventure and exploration

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Senior Carlos Cohen wrote his Dragon Talk on the importance of adventure and exploration. Credit: Josh Ren/The Foothill Dragon Press

“Why bother going outside?” is the question that senior Carlos Cohen will focus on in his Dragon Talk. He will use both his own personal adventuring experiences along with those of others who have “gone to crazy places.”

“I’m interested in [this topic] because I have an adventurous side, and I love going outside and doing outdoor activities, from rock-climbing to scuba diving to mountain biking,” he said.

“Going outside and adventuring, and all the benefits that you can get from it, are really interesting to me,” Cohen said.

Cohen thinks that outdoor activities are things that everyone should participate in. He named benefits like experiencing a sense of joy and accomplishment from participating in new things and overcoming challenges.

“And then there’s the global impact,” he added. “Because you get to know and understand things that you otherwise wouldn’t know, and you get to protect it that way, because how can you protect what you don’t know?”

Cohen hopes that his Dragon Talk will help people gain a new perspective on adventure.

“I wanted people to know that adventure is an attitude, and that you don’t have to go somewhere exotic to explore. It can be in your own backyard,” he said.

“It can be here at Foothill, taking a new class, or going to talk to a new person in the quad. So adventure is an attitude just of exploration and curiosity, and being inquisitive of the world around you.”

What do you think?