On the evening of October 25th we, the entire TEDxYouth Toronto Outreach Team, locked ourselves in a meeting room for hours. Across a long black desk covered with laptops, sushi containers, cupcakes and homemade cookies, we sat with our high stacks of applications and pored over every word.

Reading your applications is one of our favourite parts in organizing TEDxYouth Toronto. We left that room tired, but excited and inspired about the generation of future leaders we saw reflected in those applications.

This year, we asked GTA youth three simple questions. Here are some responses that made us laugh, evoked thought, and generally blew us away.

What does the theme mean to you?

  • From the fall of the Berlin wall and uprisings in the Middle East, to the invention of the microchip and the launch of Mars Curiosity, to me (R)evolution is the driving force that keeps our world spinning, changing, and constantly improving.
  • One [person] can shape a city, a country, or how about the whole world – I call this phenomenon the digital revolution.
  • Revolution is like travelling in the fog – you can’t see where you’re going, you have a place in mind, but you don’t know whether you will get there or not. But you continue the journey anyway.
  • The challenge now has become to transition from revolution to evolution where the objectives are no longer to oust cruel dictators, but to bring stability and subsequent progress.
  • In such a rapidly changing world, the only way to survive is by thinking innovatively, thinking big, and thinking boldly.

What do you hope to get out of the event?

  • I really want to be educated by those considered experts in their field because one day I hope to become one too.
  • …the opportunity to connect with passionate, motivated youth from across the GTA.
  • Many of my friends who’ve gone to TEDx have really inspired me. They’d come back changed, as a whole new person.
  • I really hope to learn about things I never would have thought I would be interested in.
  • I’d like to gain a new direction from attending a TEDxYOUTH conference. TED talks are something like an x-ray on life: they remove the top layer and display the system beneath it.
  • … an experience of a lifetime.

What are two things you’ve always wanted to learn?

  • I want to learn the science (with proof) behind yawning and why it is so contagious?
  • How to practice parkour wearing a skirt?
  • How can we improve public transport in Toronto?
  • What I have wondered, as I come closer and closer to beginning higher education, is what happens w hen I reach the end. What do you do from there on, when there is nothing more to learn from other people, when you must now contribute to the information that becomes part of the next edition of textbooks?
  • How to whistle?
  • How to transform an idea into reality?