TEDxbrentwood 2023

10th Anniversary!!!!


Saturday, October 21st, 2023

9:30 am PST 

About TEDx, x = independently organized event

10 TEDxBrentwoodcollegeschools!!

4 students, 2 Faculty members, and 3 other SMART PEOPLE!!!

This is our 10th Annual Brentwood TEDx event and we couldn't be more excited by our lineup of speakers for this year! Once again the Brentwood community is at the fore with 4 students and Mr. Luna and Ms. Wolinsky leading the charge. We also have three incredibly accomplished parents joining us this year!

#1 - Lauren capern - '24


Lauren’s talk focuses on the importance of Climate Optimism. Her goal is to have the audience leave with a sense of hope and comfort about the future of sustainability and climate action globally. In this uplifting talk, you will learn the value of the pursuit of sustainability and adopting a positive mindset when it comes to the Climate Crisis. 


Lauren Capern is an avid reader. You can often find her outside, nose deep in a Harry Potter book or talking about her love of Star Wars. Born and raised in Toronto, the now Cowichan Bay inhabitant enjoys the colour green and hanging out with her puppy Luna. She is the Captain of Environmental Advocacy and is always willing to engage in lively discussions about a multitude of topics, including but not limited to her passion for sustainability, her love of cheese and her wonderful and supportive friends. 



Inspired by the famous Master Oogway quote “Today is a gift. That is why it is called a present.”, student Karis Merrifield discusses the importance of living in the moment. As someone who practices being present herself, Karis goes through her favourite and most enjoyable ways to live in the moment and have a fulfilling life. 


Karis Merrifield is a senior at Brentwood College School who enjoys dance, music and creative writing. When she has a moment to relax she loves watching her favourite TV shows. At her core, Karis is a leader and is inspired by helping others. Karis is looking forward to pursuing a career in elementary education after she graduates. 



This talk will consider ways that beauty touches our lives, and how engaging with it creatively and critically can produce life-changing experiences. Though not everyone needs to be a great artist, learning to think like one can change the way you think about everything else. Key takeaway: making a practice of regarding beauty is a fundamental part of our mental health.


John Luna is a visual artist, teacher, poet and critic. He has taught art and art history at Brentwood College School for twelve years and was part of the founding faculty of the Vancouver Island School of Art. He holds a Master’s Degree in Visual Art from the University of Calgary and is the author of one full-length book of poetry, Listings (2015). His ongoing visual arts project addressing the intergenerational effects of PTSD, The Servant, has been supported by two Project Assistance grants from the BC Arts Council. He resides as a settler in the unceded traditional territory of Cowichan peoples known as Hul'qumi'num or Shawnigan Lake, British Columbia.  



Rory's career in technology has involved riding new waves when they emerge. His talk will focus on AI space and how to approach the opportunities it presents


Rory Capern works with Canadian technology companies at various growth stages, to get to the next level.  He harnesses experience from a career in executive leadership positions with some of the largest and fastest-scaling technology companies in the world.  For the last two decades, Rory has held senior Executive positions with global technology platforms - Microsoft, Google, and Twitter - and some of Canada’s fastest growth technology companies - The Weather Network, Certn and Redbrick.  Before assuming GM roles he held functional management roles in Strategic Sales, Business Development, and Partnerships.  Rory is an Entrepreneur in Residence at the Ivey School of Business at Western University, and at Alacrity Canada (Venture Fund in Victoria, BC).  He is a Techstars Toronto mentor, and an angel investor. 

Through the launch of his own company, and with an intense focus on people, leadership, culture, and strategy, Rory is focused on the AI space and brings some considerable experience to the AI table

Rory lives on Vancouver Island, in Cowichan Bay, Canada with his wife and two great kids.  He’s an aspiring boater, passionate golfer, and making a habit of exploring his new home.

#5 - ZHENG YANG '24


Music is part of our everyday life, and has been since the dawn of humanity. In our contemporary society, although we might not notice it, our view of music has changed on the most fundamental level. Through four pieces of music performed by a live band, Zheng will guide the audience through changing perspectives of musical harmony. 


Zheng Yang (Garma Simha) is a grade 12 student at Brentwood College School from Kham, Tibet. Aside from the rigorous works of academics in Brentwood, Zheng likes to spend his free time exploring and experimenting with all genres of music, on all sorts of instruments. He loves performing and jamming with friends. As a band leader, he organizes music performances around the campus and is often recognized as ‘The Bass Guy.’ While he enjoys his role as the permanent bassist of Brentwood, he is very jealous of musicians who have the freedom to escape the constant playing of root notes… 

#6 -SARAH WOLINSKY - faculty


Much buzz has been generated, both positive and negative, around Web3 – the metaverse – often marketed as one part World of Warcraft, one part Ready Player One, all parts minted on the blockchain in finite quantities and available for purchase for a limited time only. But if there is a third of something, there must be a first and second; what, exactly, were Web1 and Web2, and where did they go? What were the hallmarks of the early internet, and what drove it to become the thing we know and love (?) today?  All things have a history, and charting that narrative is a vital part in understanding its impact on our lives and its future. And how lucky are you, to get to sit in a theatre or in front of a livestream on a Saturday morning and learn that the nebulous cloud in the metal rectangle in your pocket has a history of its own?


As is perhaps stereotypical or at least emblematic of her generation, Sarah meandered about in her young adulthood, searching for the meaning of life or at least a job that could pay rent in Toronto; she picked up a teaching degree with a specialization in outdoor and experiential education and then pivoted into a Masters of History where she worked with some of the first historians of the internet, focusing on Japanese-American transculturation in online fandom spaces in the late 90s and early 2000s. The obvious next step in all of this was, of course, to move to the West Coast to teach high school math and houseparent 80 teenage boys, who were not quite as dazzled as she had hoped by her encyclopedic knowledge of Barbie animated films. If she had taken a slightly different path in 2003, she may have ended up a professional DOTA player, a fact which troubles her greatly.



When we find ourselves facing extraordinary challenges, what determines our best chances to succeed? What goes right when things go wrong? In recounting several past rescues in extreme environments, emergency doctor and mountain rescue technician Dr. Renata Lewis gives us “Good Lessons from Bad Places”, an insight into the risks we take in extreme environments through the lens of mountain rescue and the inspiring stories of survivors. She shows us how to rise above and go beyond our own future day-to-day challenges, making the seemingly impossible, possible.


Dr. Renata Lewis is an emergency physician, long-time search and rescue technician, guide, and the founder and CEO of Airwolf Medical, a medical and safety consulting company. She has intertwined the fields of cutting-edge medicine, with daring on-the-edge mountain rescues, to-the-edge heliskiing and wilderness guiding, and at-the-edge-of-your-seat TV and Film work as both an onscreen doctor and leading medical safety roles (“Alone”, National Geographic, Madison Square Gardens Entertainment/ Sphere’s “Postcard From Earth”, “SAS: Who Dares Win”), and as a contract helicopter stuntwoman, in TV series and documentaries, and appearing in major product commercials. 

As a medical specialist in remote and risky environments, she is also a soughtafter advisor to the adventure tourism industry, private organizations, and various government agencies, where she combines her unique combination and breadth of skills with a goal to keep anyone safe, anywhere. Being the first female physician to hold certifications with the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides and as a helicopter SAR Technician and flight physician, Dr. Lewis has pushed the boundaries of medicine outside the walls of the emergency department. 

Her first TEDx talk was entitled “How to Survive Dying”, an emotional memoir of lessons as a mother and physician, and in this follow-up discussion, she gives us “Good Lessons from Bad Places”, an insight into the risks we take in extreme environments through the lens of mountain rescue and the inspiring stories of survivors—and the lessons we can apply to our everyday challenges.

#8 - DARA MIAo '25 


In her TEDx talk, Dara explores the hidden connection between athletics and academics. Drawing from her own experiences and conducted research, Dara reveals how dedication to sports can enhance your cognitive abilities for academics. She shares personal stories of how sports taught her the value of continuous improvement, the importance of strategy, and effective time management. Dara's inspiring message is clear: athletics and academics are interconnected– achieving a balance between the two leads to success in both worlds. Join her on this journey of discovery, where sweat, tears, and laughs from the field can be applied to excel in the classroom.


Dara is a Grade 11 Brentwood student from British Columbia, Canada. Fueled by a passion for sports instilled by her father at a young age, Dara is an aspiring golfer, swimmer, volleyball player, and skier. She is a very sociable person who also enjoys competing in public speaking and debate. In the future, she aspires to pursue a career in business or law. 



Ryan Knighton travels to the world's biggest rattlesnake roundup to put his blindness to the test, and learn about his disability, and hopefully not snakebites.


Ryan Knighton is an internationally acclaimed blind author, screenwriter, journalist and performer. His two memoirs, Cockeyed (Penguin) and C'mon Papa (Knopf), both received numerous award nominations, including the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humor and have been translated into more than a dozen languages. A contributor to the American radio programs This American Life and The Moth, Knighton has also written for The New York Times, Outside, Esquire, The Globe and Mail, Popular Mechanics, The Walrus, The Observer, The Believer, Men's Health, Vice, The Sunday Telegraph and The National Post, among many others. 

As a contributing editor to Afar magazine, Knighton’s travel writing has taken him around the world, from Bhutan’s Himalayan temples to Zimbabwe’s game reserves, from Cairo’s Arab Spring to Helsinki’s saunas, his journalism earning him two Thomas Lowell Awards, an Eddie/Aussie Award and a James Beard Media Award nomination. He is also a Sundance Screenwriting Lab fellow and the recipient of the 2009 Alfred Sloan Prize from the Tribeca Film Institute for his feature adaptation of Cockeyed. As a screenwriter, Knighton has written movies for Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox, and has created or supervised several TV pilots for FX. 

He continues to be a sought-after public speaker and storyteller who has performed at theatres, conferences and universities around the world, including NASA, the University of London, UCLA and MIT. He has most recently served as a writer and producer on the show Billions starring Paul Giamatti. Today Knighton lives with his family on Vancouver Island in the village of Ucluelet. Surfing is his preoccupation.