Tuffy Talks

Ted Talk-esque program aims to inspire community


Abi Marines, Staff writer

Allen High School will be hosting “Tuffy Talks”, a TED Talk-esque program for students grades 9-12. This program will have seven carefully selected students host seven-minute presentations that will go into an approved topic of the student’s choice that is informative of ideas and the creative process, and will help foster global thinking.

“Topics happen to be art related because we start to study ideas — not just subjects,” digital art and IB teacher Laura Helms said. “To help students get a bigger idea of how those ideas connect, we’re gonna do Tuffy Talks. Students can pick something that interests them, and they get to talk about how the subject matter overlaps with other areas.”

The Tuffy Talks, started by AP art history teacher Sarah Arago, have a theme this year of Creative Spirit, with emphasis on visual arts, art and its history. The talks will also be open to STEM topics that relate back to the creative spirit, and topics can be wide and varied, going from ‘your toilet is my art: found objects in art’ to ‘visualizing math’.

“[It’s] a discussion about visual arts and culture and how it relates to your world — a kid’s world, teenagers’ worlds — and put that on a stage for the public,” Arago said.

The preparation that comes with the event starts this month, with the deadline being March 1. Tuffy Talks have a number of requirements, including a solid thesis and an overarching theme  that the audience can connect with. The intention of these requirements is to make sure those who present have a clear voice and direction.

“Tuffy Talks is a platform for Allen students to give presentations and talk about art and culture and have an audience,” Argo said. “It’s kind of a way to have exposure in person and hopefully on YouTube for Allen ISD.”

Tuffy Talks will be posted online under the Allen ISD YouTube channel and will be hosted live on April 25 as a one-night only event. Each presentation will be filmed and posted for the world and Internet to see.

“Art doesn’t just happen in your sketchbook,” Helms said.  “We really want to get kids excited about sharing their ideas with other students, and really getting everyone to sit and hear something someone passionate about but also see something that overlaps with artistic pursuits.”