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On March 3, 2018, The Country School presented TEDxTheCountrySchool, featuring an array of thought-provoking talks around the subject of Synergy. Attendees also engaged in a series of hands-on activities designed to allow participants to engage in synergy. The event marked the second time The Country School has held an official TEDx conference, presented in the spirit of TED, the nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Huge thanks to TEDxTheCountrySchool organizers, Laura Morrison and Ben Ballard '08, to our TEDx volunteer team, and to our extraordinary speakers (featured below).

How much power can a pair of socks have? Matt Siracusa, who dubs himself a 'serial dreamer,' shares his journey of starting a sock company, a journey that began as a vision while serving breakfast to homeless individuals. Matt is the CEO of WEWOOL, which works to provide socks to homeless individuals in Connecticut. For every pair of socks purchased, one is given to someone in need. Matt had the vision for WEWOOL while running a breakfast outreach ministry in Hartford. Since then, the business has organized a sock drive and helped donate thousands of socks to those in need.

Marina Sachs, a 2007 graduate of The Country School, talks about her experience working with the youth living on reservations in La Plant, S.D. Marina shares stories about building meaningful relationships with Lakota youth and the importance of helping them find their voice. Marina is an artist and educator committed to empowering diverse young folks through art-making. To learn more about her work and support the Lakota Youth Speak Project, visit

Did you know that 95 percent of the human race lives on less than 5 percent of the earth? In this talk, Dr. Robert Ballard describes the importance of ocean exploration and discusses the different types of technology used in the process. Dr. Ballard is a renowned explorer and scientist who has taken part in more than 140 deep-sea expeditions. He is the Founder and President of the Ocean Exploration Trust, an Explorer-In-Residence at the National Geographic Society, and Commissioner for the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy. He has served in the U.S. Navy for more than 30 years and is the parent of two Country School alumni. Oh, and he found the RMS Titanic.

In this talk, Mohamed shares his experience of fleeing his home in war-torn Syria. He speaks about his family's journey to America, some of struggles they faced during that time, and his hopes and wishes for other refugees around the world. Now a 6th Grader at a local public school, Mohamed explains how, after years of waiting, he and his family arrived in Connecticut where they joined Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Service's community of resettled refugees. Mohamed loves his new life. He loves his friends, soccer, spicy food, and he really, really loves school.

Theresa Govert talks about the relationships she built and the problems she worked to solve while in the Peace Corps in Botswana. In sharing this experience, she challenges us to talk about difficult issues and use our passions to improve problems and build the future, together. Theresa is a community activist and founder of Together We Rise, a new group of like-minded individuals from the Lower Connecticut River Valley and surrounding areas who believe that “no one is free while others are oppressed.” She served in the Peace Corp for three years and was the recipient United States Peace Corp John F. Kennedy Service Award.

Aristotle Mannan, a 2003 graduate of The Country School, talks about problems with today's healthcare and how certain populations are often under-served. In this talk, Ari shares about how he developed a creative solution to help bridge the gap, utilizing data to help vulnerable individuals become more visible in the healthcare system. Ari is the founder of bosWell, a digital health startup aimed at improving coordination of care for those in need. His vision for bosWell came after leaving a job in cancer research at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard to volunteer at a mobile health clinic serving homeless people.

In this talk, Anders Waldo shares the best advice he's ever been given, advice which led him to take risks and find his passion during his first year of college. Anders, from Glastonbury, CT, is studying Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at the University of Connecticut, where he is a part of Husky Adapted Sport and Conn-Men, an all-male a cappella group. After graduation, he looks forward to attending graduate school to pursue his masters in speech pathology.

In this talk, John Fixx reminds us of the wonderful lessons kids can teach us. Children dance, sing, and treat each day as a new beginning. What would happen if we did the same? John is Head of School at The Country School, where he is also head coach of the school's award-winning cross country program. John has inspired dozens of Country School students, some as young as age 5, to take up the sport of running. Most recently, he published a children's book, The Curious Guide to Things that Aren't.

History of TEDxTheCountrySchool

The Country School's first TEDx conference, Spindrift, also the first-ever youth-led TEDx event at a PreSchool-8th Grade school in New England, was held in April 2016. Inspiring talks were delivered by an array of speakers, and participants engaged in a host of fun, thought-provoking activities. Huge thanks and kudos to Marina Sachs '07 for bringing TEDx to The Country School and sparking what has proven to be a lasting, mission-supporting school tradition.

TEDx News

Alumnus Starts TEDx at High School
Gordie Croce '16 was instrumental in running the inaugural TEDxTheCountrySchool conference. When he got to Pomfret School as a 9th Grader, he thought the program would be a natural fit there, too, so he launched TEDxPomfretSchool.
Read an article from Pomfret

Marina Sachs '07, TEDx Leader, is Person of the Week
The Source newspaper profiled Country School alumna and TEDxTheCountrySchool founder Marina Sachs .
Read the article.
Read a blog by of Head of School John Fixx.

TCS at TEDxYouthDay
Country School students attended TEDxYouth Day at Connecticut College. Gordie C., an 8th Grader, delivered a talk.

TEDxYouth event at TCS
Marina Sachs '07 and a young participant. More here.

TEDxTheCountrySchool organized a visit from State Troubadour Kristen Graves! More here.

TEDx on Alumni Day
A series of activities for students and alumni.

From a TEDx Workshop

About TED
TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or fewer) delivered by today's leading thinkers and doers. Many of these talks are given at TED's annual conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, and made available, free, TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sal Khan and Daniel Kahneman.

TED's open and free initiatives for spreading ideas include, where new TED Talk videos are posted daily; the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from thousands of volunteers worldwide; the educational initiative TED-Ed; the annual million-dollar TED Prize, which funds exceptional individuals with a "wish," or idea, to create change in the world; TEDx, which provides licenses to thousands of individuals and groups who host local, self-organized TED-style events around the world; and the TED Fellows program, which selects innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)