While many of her peers are busy sleeping, shopping, or socializing on Saturdays, Nia Naylor is attending the University of Delaware from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, where she is in her second year as a Teen Sharp student.
There are approximately 50 students from Delaware area high schools who participate in this program, earning college credits for doing so. Last year, Nia took a course on entrepreneurship, but it is her work in this year’s class, Race and Ethnicity, that led to the invitation from TED Talk to share her ideas with a global audience.
In 1984 Richard Saul Wurman and Harry Marks worked to converge technology, entertainment, and design (TED) and people from every imaginable discipline have an opportunity to share their ideas with others. It became a nonprofit organization in 2001, having been acquired by Sapling Foundation, with Chris Anderson as its curator. TED conferences, videos, and events are known for their ability to inspire, motivate, and thrill audiences.
Certainly, Nia’s talk is designed to inspire. She has spent time this year researching the habits and decision-making processes of young students. She has learned from her readings and interviews with local teachers that by age 10, usually fifth grade, many children have already determined the value and importance they intend to place on their education.
“By recognizing that this is such pivotal age, I am hoping that we can assist young people in making a positive decision regarding their education. It is an age of formation, and we want them to choose the right path,” shared Nia. “Additionally, if we can change the mindsets of young people and get them to accept and understand the value of education, we can create a domino effect. My hope that is they will return to their communities energized and excited about learning and school and therefore establish an environment where being successful in school is also a local priority.”
Nia had to complete an extensive application process for participation in the TED Talk program, and she live-streamed her six-minute talk at the New Castle Innovation Center in front of an audience filled with family, friends, teachers, and well wishers. In about 6–8 weeks, Nia’s presentation will be available to view on the TED Talk website, ted.com.
An unintended, but exciting, result of the talk are the invitations for speaking engagements that Nia has received. She will be at Howard High School, the University of Delaware, and at the Martin Luther King, Jr. march. Clearly, Nia has made a personal commitment to her own education, and she is using the path she chose to encourage others to do the same.
Congratulations, Nia. We are very proud of you for your work, and we look forward to seeing what successes lie ahead for you.