WRITTEN BY: CHELSEA TAYLOR
This year the Beacon Community had the chance to participate in a student led TED Talk Event which gave current students the opportunity to publicly speak openly and honestly about topics which interest them. For many students, this was the first time they were able to talk on these topics, and even publicly speak. The whole concept for the event came about, as ridiculous as it may sound, in a dream. During my dream I spoke in Chapel and once I woke up I had my whole sermon still with me! After writing it down I realized that I wanted to share it with people, I wanted to speak publicly, and I wanted my ideas known. After speaking to Pastor Troy on the subject, I realized that unless you are part of the school’s preaching class, students don’t have the opportunity to speak to the community or even to their peers except through a structured class setting. The concept for NCU Speaks was deemed valuable, important, and necessary.
Now, beyond how the event was created and constructed, the actual night was described by both the attendees and the speakers as successful. Afterward students expressed regret for not participating this year, and also an eagerness to attend next year. Speakers expressed how they had always wanted to talk about their topics, and felt grateful for the opportunity (despite the understandable nerves leading up to their talks).
Chloe Combs opened the night with an informative yet clearly passionate talk showing the audience themes existing in both Lord of the Rings and the Bible. Following Chloe, Tierra Davis’ talk expressed a sincere love for Elephants and Katie Jimenez explained to us how to live in the moment while also expressing that we must take the time we have seriously. Sam Koekkoek shared his personal story to becoming an affirming Christian and why he believes everyone should be LGBTQ affirming as well. Susie George expressed why it is especially important for Christians to take care of our environment. Katy Verble and Jean Mackey illustrated myths on introversion and how to better interact with people who God created differently than what people typically associate with “normal”.
Tianna Bushman, a senior at NCU, shared last at NCU Speaks and spoke passionately about invisible chronic illness; both about her personal experience and how we must show a special kind of love to others who suffer from similar afflictions. The following is an excerpt from her experience as a speaking participant in NCU Speaks, “I had the opportunity to be vulnerable and share part of my story. The amount of support and encouragement I was given leading up to the presentation was incredible. I was so moved by the fact that so many people came out to support all of us speakers and that people seemed to genuinely take our messages to heart. I had not anticipated the overwhelming love and support that flowed from the audience that night. It will definitely be one of my most cherished moments at NCU. I love the community that has been built here, and I am going to miss everyone so much when I graduate! You are all so remarkable!”
NCU Speaks was more than just a night of community, for many it was a landmark to their college experience and a night they finally felt love and acceptance from their peers. It was a night to be vulnerable, and a night to accept others in their vulnerability. If you had the opportunity to attend, thank you for your support. If you volunteered to either MC, help with tech, or to help set up, your time and support is what made the event the success it was. If you spoke, then thank you for your passion and bravery. And to all others, we look forward to seeing you next spring!