Irvine Talks about What it Means to be Human


Maryam Shama

Alex Beltran speaks from the heart about her hope for her brother’s battle with drug abuse.

Maryam Shama and Shawyan Rooein

Portola High hosted the first annual Irvine Talks on Dec. 9 in the theater. Similar to TED Talks, Irvine Talks is an event where Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) high school students perform or deliver speeches on the chosen theme. Each performer was different and unique which highlighted this year’s theme of what it means to be human.

Some students chose to share their life story with the audience, and others chose to perform songs and even dances. A variety of performers ranging from freshman to seniors participated, including sophomores Alexandra Beltran and Annie Qiao.

Irvine Talks was founded by a current University High senior, Tejas Dhindsa. Over the course of two years, Dhindsa worked with IUSD ASB presidents to organize it. He said he created it in order to establish a platform for high school students to be able to freely speak their minds.

“Everybody has stories, everyone has these things that we keep inside ourselves that we don’t share with other people as much, and every genuine connection I’ve ever had has been because someone has shared something with me,” Dhindsa said. “I wanted to give kids like us a platform; I want to give us a chance to share those stories.”

Beltran spoke about her hope for her brother’s battle with drug addiction. Along with others, her letter shared a different point of view as to what being human truly means.

“Irvine Talks is being human, and it’s using your personal being and exposing your vulnerability for others to see who you are and really just being the truest self that you can be,” Beltran said. “No one really exposes vulnerable parts of their life, so talking about this topic really just exposed myself to my community, and it just showed a part of my life that I don’t think I should have to hide.”

Dhindsa said his intention is for this event to carry on into the following years. The future plan is for ASB president and sophomore Liz Moerman and University High junior Douglas Sun, the current Irvine Talks performance chair and spirit and rally commissioner, to lead next year’s event.

“It’s honestly a life changing event for everyone who participates and watches it,” Moerman said. “We are doing chapter two next year, and I think that after this we are looking forward to a lot more cross-school collaboration.”