Seniors give parting lessons with Dragon Talks project (video)

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Seniors give parting lessons with Dragon Talks project (video)

Ela Yasa

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This Monday, seniors expressed their passions and shared their parting lessons with underclassmen for the third annual Dragon Talks project. “This project is meant to help them to explore passions that have been on hold because they have been so busy with schoolwork and getting into college, so it’s supposed to bring the focus back to the things that they are passionate about,” ASB adviser and AP literature teacher Melanie “Captain” Lindsey said.

This Monday, seniors expressed their passions and shared their parting lessons with underclassmen for the third annual Dragon Talks project.

“This project is meant to help them to explore passions that have been on hold because they have been so busy with schoolwork and getting into college, so it’s supposed to bring the focus back to the things that they are passionate about,” ASB adviser and AP literature teacher Melanie “Captain” Lindsey said.

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Senior Wyatt Kufta-Kuntz presents his Dragon Talk on why he thinks people shouldn’t try to change the world. Credit: Chloey Settles/The Foothill Dragon Press

The Dragon Talks project is modeled after TED Talks, which is a showcase for speakers presenting important and well-formed ideas in under 18 minutes. 

“We wanted to come up with something that would help them as they moved into college, served them if they were trying to get a job or doing a presentation for a scholarship; something that would really serve them in their futures, but then also tap into things that they were passionate about, which is what TED Talks do,” Lindsey said.

In the Dragon Talks project, seniors are required to give a 10-12 minute speech on a topic of their choosing and create a powerpoint or Prezi that correlates with their chosen topic.

There were a total of three rounds. There were five presentations each in the first two rounds. After each round, students voted on the Dragon Talk that they thought was the best.

The seniors who moved on from the first two rounds presented in more classrooms. There were two presentations in each classroom and students voted on the one that they thought won.

After the three rounds, all seniors attended the awards ceremony where the winners of the Dragon Talks were called up to the stage to receive a $10 gift card to Snapper Jack’s.

Allowing the seniors to choose something that they felt passionate about for the Dragon Talks resulted in a wide variety of topics.

Chrystal Guzman did her Dragon Talk on “Music, Mood, and Productivity.” She talked about how music can make people feel happier and increase their productivity.

Guzman said that being able to chose a topic helped her enjoy this project.

“This project is meant to help them to explore passions that have been on hold because they have been so busy with schoolwork and getting into college, so it’s supposed to bring the focus back to the things that they are passionate about,” ASB adviser and AP literature teacher Melanie “Captain” Lindsey said.

 

“If someone had told me what I had to do, I probably would not have researched it as much, I probably wouldn’t be as excited to give it today, I would probably be much more nervous in fact. But because I actually enjoy what I’m talking about, I was much more comfortable than I would be otherwise.”

Mahaila Woods, whose presentation focused on the “Pocket Inequality” between male and female styled jeans, agreed with Guzman.

There were a total of three rounds for the Dragon Talks. Credit: Ela Yasa/The Foothill Dragon Press

There were a total of three rounds for the Dragon Talks. Credit: Ela Yasa/The Foothill Dragon Press

“I mean it’s like free range on whatever you want to do so you can talk about something you’re really passionate about. I think that’s a good thing because it really shows in your speech when you talk about something you like,” Woods said.

“You get to see the personal side of them because they’re talking about something that they’re passionate about and that means something to them.”

Senior Emma Bangs did her Dragon Talk on “Gender Identity.” She explained the importance of defining gender identity and of respecting people’s specified gender identity.

“I thought this project was really cool and beneficial because we get to, as seniors at the end of our high school careers, study and teach something to younger kids that we find important and valuable and that maybe we wish we would have learned in a regular school curriculum and hopefully get someone to think about something we think is important,” Bangs said.

“It’s such an individual project and you can talk about something that is so valuable to where it not only affects the people you’re presenting to but it can also change you too.”

Ayla McNeil did her Dragon Talk on “Confidence.” She talked about her experience with bullying and how unrealistic stereotypes of women resulted in many girls having low self-esteem.

“When I was in middle school I experienced people bullying me and that really lowered my self-esteem, so I chose confidence as my topic because I learned to build it back up in high school,” McNeil said.

“Confidence has always been a factor in growing up for me, so this project let me explore that topic further.”

Sasha Poirier did her Dragon Talk on pancreatic cancer. She talked about how it affected her grandmother, and on cherishing every moment with your loved ones.

“This project allows students to really share what they’re passionate about. I feel like at other schools, we’re given assignments and specific topics and we don’t necessarily feel passionate about it so we don’t put a lot of time and effort into it,” Poirier said.

“It’s such an individual project and you can talk about something that is so valuable to where it not only affects the people you’re presenting to but it can also change you too,” senior Emma Bangs said.

 

“With us, we started talking about it at the beginning of the year and started thinking about what we were really passionate about, so it gave us the opportunity to share that. Pancreatic cancer is my passion and I would like to be a nurse when I am older and maybe even do research on cancer.”

Senior Jason Borrajo gives his Dragon Talk on movies and why we like them. Credit: Chloey Settles/The Foothill Dragon Press

Senior Jason Borrajo gives his Dragon Talk on movies and why we like them. Credit: Chloey Settles/The Foothill Dragon Press

Many underclassmen enjoyed the Dragon Talks and thought that they were beneficial to listen to.

Sophomore Alondra Lozano talked about how she was affected by the Dragon Talks.

“I had a very interesting way into looking at the Dragon Talks because they talked about personal things and not only that but they opened up a lot and it was just very interesting to hear,” Lozano said.

“I liked Sasha’s Dragon Talk because she related it to her life story and I think that was very brave of her. Not only that, but she mentioned cancer and my grandma went through cancer too and it related to my story in a way and I thought it was just very interesting and brave of her to do.”

Sophomore Rhiannon Tircuit explained why she thought the Dragon Talks project was unique.

“I think it allows you to express who you are and what you’re interested in and to actually present something that you like without having to be judged by it, which is great.”

Lindsey said that students gained many skills from this project.

“It teaches them their speaking and listening standards. As teachers we have standards and one of those set of standards is speaking and listening so they have to know how to cite verbally, they have to be able to present, be able to maintain eye contact, and understand their audience,” she said.

Sean Anthony said that he was able to work on his self- confidence and public speaking skills with this project, and other seniors agreed.

Samantha Main, specifically, mentioned that even though she “hates public speaking,” after presenting her Dragon Talk several times, she became “used to it.”

Featured Photo Credit: Chloey Settles/The Foothill Dragon Press

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