Mineola student one of 13 worldwide selected for TedEd weekend event

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Mineola student one of 13 worldwide selected for TedEd weekend event
Mineola High School junior Jennifer Moglia is one of 13 students in the world, and one of three in the United States, chosen to present a talk during TedEd Weekend which is being held on Feb. 8 in New York City. (Photos courtesy of Mineola Union Free School District)

After being diagnosed with anxiety in middle school, Mineola High School student Jennifer Moglia found a way to not only cope and manage it but to turn her experience into a speech that will be featured on a global online platform.

She will be one of 13 students throughout the world selected to speak at TED’s TedEd Weekend, which is being held on Feb. 8 in New York City.

“I never expected that I would even be able to share my story and journey through anxiety, let alone have this type of response,” Moglia said. “I’m thankful for so many people, but I am mainly appreciative of having a great program like this available for students who have their own journey to tell.”

Mineola is among the few school districts on Long Island to offer a TedEd Club, an initiative to spark and celebrate the ideas and knowledge-sharing of teachers and students around the world, according to the TED website. 

The club allows students to choose a topic they are passionate about and then create a TED Talk. Students present their speech to an audience of fellow students, faculty, staff and community members.

Moglia said the process of speech writing and presenting requires more work than many people think.

“My process was a little bit different than everyone else’s,” Moglia said. “Since I didn’t have to do a lot of external research on the topic, I focused more on how to express my mindset during my personal journey to have the audience understand it.”

Through the club, Moglia gave her talk on the sense of community that loving a sports team gave her, the bonds it formed and how it helped her cope with anxiety. When she was diagnosed with anxiety in middle school, Moglia said, her father, an avid New York Rangers and Mets fan, was instrumental in distracting her from getting anxious or having a panic attack.

“I remember sitting down and watching a hockey game, being so immediately drawn to the puck rapidly going back and forth,” she said. “It was so refreshing having my mind be taken off the usual dramatics of a middle school girl.”

Gradually becoming more immersed in the culture and fandom of professional sports in New York, Moglia said she noticed herself start to step out of her comfort zone.  She recalled one school night driving to Paramus, New Jersey, and visiting then-Rangers’ players Mats Zuccarello and Derick Brassard.

“Getting to stand in front of two people who practically helped save me without even knowing it, and being there in person to tell them that made me feel like I was really making progress,” Moglia said. “Of course, they were incredibly sweet when they held my hand over the table as I was shaking.”

After a resounding round of applause from the audience, Moglia said that people were coming up to her left and right after the speech congratulating and praising her.  Despite all of the admiration, Moglia had one hope for when her speech ended.

“As long as I could get one person who may be going through something similar to realize that there are so many ways to cope and heal, that’s all that mattered to me,” she said.

Representatives reached out to Mineola High School Principal Whitney Smith last month and informed him that Moglia had been selected to speak at the event in New York City.

She is one of just two speakers representing the United States, the other being from Parkland, Florida.

Though the presentation was conducted in May, Moglia said she has been in contact with members of the TED organization to help make minor adjustments before the weekend event.

“It is a really amazing opportunity. They pick so few students for this, I never would have expected it,” Moglia said. “The only reason I chose this club and topic to speak on was to share my experience in the hope that it might help others. Now, I get to do that on a bigger scale.”

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