CulverTalks could not have come at a better time.
With the chaos in Washington, gun control protests, and lawsuits of sexual harassment Culver City students, staff, and parents needed the inspiration CulverTalks provided.
The night opened with Assistant Principal for Curriculum and Instruction at Culver City High School, Jonique Burton, telling the story her daughter Jillian who, born with down syndrome, launched Burton on a passionate path to gain access to learning for all students, regardless of their ability.
As the night continued, seniors spoke with the utmost confidence. Jonathan Loughlin claimed that responsibility at a young age teaches skills like perseverance and making mac and cheese. Jaden Kimura spoke of the social construct of success and intelligence, and Max Jordan almost convinced the audience they wanted to run, but then intermission made them realize they were sane.
Emma Fabros, another senior, stood on stage in her classically stylish ensemble and captured the audience with her enthusiasm. Fabros began the Messy Effect Club on campus and her work can be seen in positive, colorful sticky notes littered across lockers throughout the school year. Along the same vein, staff member Melisa Torbati, crowned Kindness Queen for the night, showed the audience how small acts of kindness can have a big impact on others as well as one’s own mood.
Following Torbati was the story of senior Daniela Flores, one that had the audience near tears by the time she reached the climax of her story arc. Flores told the audience that the “protagonist of your story [is] you” and showed the power of a positive community through her own struggle with depression.
Liam Wall was the only junior at CulverTalks and the youngest speaker of the night. Still, he had a natural elocution that captivated the audience as he encouraged them to “Just Get Started,” that being Wall’s own mantra. The final speaker of the evening was senior Sergio Muñoz with a touching story of his great grandmother and the importance of memories in capturing someone else’s vitality.
When CCHS students, parents, and staff emerged from the four walls of the MPR they found themselves inspired and engaged in their community with a beautiful mess of ideas and positivity to fuel their own endeavors.