Success Story

Senior Gives TED Talk on Debate and Determination


Senior Harpreet (Robby) Walia speaks at a TED Talk event in Southlake.

Bailee Acreman, Reporter

The glaring spotlight, the eyes of many both in the audience and over the internet, and the chance to pour out heart and soul in an effort to have their ideas recognized are all motivators for many who want to give a TED Talk. TED Talks offer an opportunity for recognition and an outlet for creativity for those who wish to try public speaking.

While these speakers may seem beyond reach for being chosen to speak at such an event, senior Robby Walia gave a TED Talk himself over success in his own definition in Southlake, Texas on December 19. His video will be available on YouTube.

“This was an opportunity like no other,” Walia said. “I got a chance to stand on a stage and talk on the same platform as people who are Masters in their field.”

TED Talks are influential videos from expert speakers on education, business, science, tech and creativity. TED, an acronym for Technology, Education, and Design, is a nonpartisan nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks.

“I was extremely nervous while giving my speech. I felt very alone on the stage while standing there on the round, red rug,” Walia said. “The big camera in my face did not help calm my nerves, but I took a breath and blocked everything out.”

Walia sent in his application after being informed about it by a friend from Dallas and was chosen along with 20 to 30 other applicants. The speakers had a zoom class every Friday to learn from an instructor how to speak and command an audience for an hour.

“ I have always wanted to give a TED talk, I just was not expecting to do it like this,” Walia said. “I am glad that I did it, however, as I gained more speaking experience and shared my ideas on a large platform.”

Walia overcame his lack of public speaking experience compared to other speakers by practicing hard and improvising when needed. 

“This speech gave me the chance to give the world of my story and a message I wanted to share,” Walia said. “Throughout the entire process of making a speech, I finally found a way to use my own voice to say a message out to the world.”