How students can spark societal change

How students can spark societal change

The future looks bright for high school student Annie Liu.

Liu, a Year 12 student at Victoria’s Lauriston Girls School, is currently organising a TEDx Event and completing a mentorship with the Victorian Government’s Department of Treasury and Finance.

For her TEDx event, Liu chose the theme ‘Shaping the Future’.

“I want students to know that they too can spark change. I’m passionate about ‘ideas worth spreading’, and I think it’s unfortunate that for young people, there are few platforms for us to voice opinions to a wider audience,” Liu told The Educator.

“Students in younger year levels are looking to make TEDxYouth@LGS an annual event after I graduate, which is fantastic, as I had hoped it would become a tradition.”

Annie said her inspiration to organise the TEDx event – which will be held at the school on Saturday August 18 – came from the fact that she’d been watching TED videos since primary school.

“I remember being thirteen-years-old, listening to a TED talk by a teenager who had already built a nuclear fusion reactor,” Liu told The Educator.

“I was so amazed and inspired. By holding a TEDx event, I wanted to spark a similar reaction in my peers by sharing the innovative ideas present in our local community - from LGBTQIA representation to creole languages.”

Liu said TEDx is “the perfect opportunity” for young people to publicize their ideas.

“By uploading talks to the YouTube channel, we can reach an international audience,” she said.

Liu said her application for mentorship with the Victorian Government’s Department of Treasury and Finance was inspired by the story of China’s economic rise.

“My parents grew up in a period when China was still a relatively poor nation. The fact that since then, the country’s been able to achieve such rapid economic growth, has made me interested in development economics,” Liu said.

“I hope to one-day help raise living standards in other developing countries, particularly as I’ve undertaken volunteer trips to Cambodia and Borneo.”

She added that the program with the Department of Treasury and Finance has been particularly helpful as she has been able to gain a first-hand perspective about policy making.

Liu’s economics teacher, John Burke, said he was very proud of her achievements and believes she is more than capable of managing the extra responsibility.

“Annie is a wonderful economics student because she has the combination of having a positive attitude to learning along with strong sense of combining intellectual rigour with a concern for the marginalised and disadvantaged members of any economic system,” Burke told The Educator.

Keeping a classroom full of students engaged is not an easy task, but Burke said he has a reliable method to achieve this. 

“My focus as a economics teacher is to provide a thinking classroom environment where the connection between models, concepts and ideas are continuously linked to local, national and global current economic issues,” Burke said.

“The TEDx event is likely to further promote the already sound platform that many Lauriston students and staff have regarding the learning focus of being curious, caring and critical thinkers, especially in terms of 21st century global challenges.”