We tell stories that matter.

Manual RedEye

We tell stories that matter.

Manual RedEye

We tell stories that matter.

Manual RedEye

IdeaFestival Day One: Thrivals


Manual students attended the Thrivals portion of IdeaFestival, which featured presentations by Jahne Brown (11, J&C) and YPAS alum Karter Louis, on Tuesday, Sept. 30 at the Kentucky Center.

The seventh annual Thrivals, organized and founded by the University of Louisville School of Business, was specifically geared toward young people on a quest to effect positive changes in their communities by 2035.

Students file in for the opening of Idea Fest 2014. Photo taken by Peter Champelli
Students file in for the opening of Idea Fest 2014. Photo  by Peter Champelli

The day kicked off with a presentation by representatives from Humana and the Boys and Girls Club about their partnership with Kaboom, a non-profit that encourages healthy living by organizing community projects to build playgrounds.

Regina Holliday, a patient care advocate who uses art and social media to fight for patient data rights, spoke next. Holliday became empowered to hold hospitals more accountable for patient care and communication when her husband passed away of kidney cancer in 2009 after months of increasing pain without a clear diagnosis. Holliday is the founder of the Walking Gallery, an organization which translates patient narratives into paintings and then prints the art on jackets.

Next came Karter Louis, a YPAS musical theatre graduate who spoke about his transition from an education in the performing arts to various careers in business, and finally to his current role as owner of Hillbilly Tea. “I never really had jobs,” he said. “I just did things that made money.”

Louis’ presentation was very salient to many students who have similarly scattered passions. “I liked how he talked about switching his lifestyle because I like pursuing different thing,” said Zoe Zink (12, YPAS). It gave me confidence for when I go to college.”

Brown introduces herself to the Thrivals 7.0 crowd. Photo by Amanda Tu

After a break for lunch, Jahne Brown (11, J&C) presented about representation of girls of color in the media. Brown had previously presented at the JCPS IdeaFestival, after which Thrivals founder Dr. Nat Irwin invited her to speak at the Louisville IdeaFestival.

“I think it could’ve gone a lot better, but it also could’ve gone a lot worse too,” she said. “I was afraid that I was going to be really dependent on my notes, but once I got in front of everyone, it actually became a lot easier to remember my main points. I’ve been getting some really nice feedback so far, which is really cool. My Twitter has been blowing up all day from people who really connected with what I was saying.”

As Jahne was the event’s only high school speaker, many students in the audience were particularly inspired by her message. “Jahne’s presentation was definitely an eye-opening experience to such a common phenomenon that most people don’t notice,” said Jennifer Leung (11, MST). “It was very relatable since she’s a young person herself.”

Grammy Award-nominated singer Janelle Monáe then spoke with the Wondaland Arts Society about the importance of innovation and imagination in shaping the future. Monáe’s band members spoke about dreams and their significance in the song-writing process.

Activist and motivational speaker Molly Burke concluded the Thrivals program. Burke discussed her struggles with retinitis pigmentosa (a disease causing severe vision loss), bullying and mental illness. She shared her life philosophy of “live, learn and pass it on” as a way to cope in the face of adversity.

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