2019 Speakers

Meet our student speakers for our second annual TEDxMoreauCatholicHS event! This year, speeches are centered around the theme of "Rise Up!"

Ginger Semko Picture

Ginger Semko

Talk: "Lessons of Leadership"

Ginger Semko is a senior at Moreau Catholic High School and is currently serving as the Associated Student Body President. In addition to planning student activities, she works closely with the administration to identify ways to increase student voice and improve school-wide relations. Ginger is also a dancer who has competed and won at local, national, and international levels. In her free time, she loves video editing, reading, and playing with her two cats.


Ginger would like to pursue fields related to Political Science and Media in the future. Through combining her interests in communication and social justice, she hopes to gain a better understanding on how to provide a more effective voice to those who have had theirs taken away.

Jana Rocha Picture

Jana Rocha

Talk: "Is it worth the earth? How your diet impacts climate change"

Jana Rocha is a senior at Moreau Catholic and was born and raised in the Bay Area. At Moreau, she is involved in Link Crew and several other clubs. She is passionate about the environment and is a leader of her church's youth group on the weekends. She loves drinking boba and watching sunsets with her friends. Outside of school, she volunteers at Medshare, helping to redistribute medical supplies to countries in need. After high school, she plans to pursue a career in the medical field so she can give back all that she has learned to her community.

Ammar Bhaiji Picture

Ammar Bhaiji

Talk: "How to work across the aisle to heal America’s political divisions"

Ammar Bhaiji is a senior at Moreau Catholic High School in Hayward, California. He works to help freshman bridge the gap between middle school and high school as a Link Crew Leader, and helps to fundraise for cancer patients as a Fundraising Committee member on Moreau’s Relay for Life club.


His experiences seeing family members affected by policy decisions have motivated him to look deeper into political science and public policy. In investigating those interests, he’s collaborated with a state legislator to discuss possible policy proposals to tackle the homelessness crisis. He’s volunteered for the Beto O’Rourke campaign in the 2018 midterm elections, texting potential voters and motivating voters to vote. In his free time, he analyzes all types of elections and has independently strategized from the viewpoints of both political parties. His interest in political science and election science has pushed him to engage in political discourse with parents, students, and teachers.

Clifford Vuong Picture

Clifford Vuong

Talk: "Crazy LIT Asians - Rise of the 'Remodel' Minority"

Clifford is a senior at Moreau Catholic High School, where he is a captain of the Varsity Cross Country and Track teams and serves in the Link Crew program. He is the Secretary-Treasurer of the Intramural Sports club and has been playing violin in the Honors Orchestra Program for the past 3 years. Outside of school, Clifford is working on the rank of Eagle Scout, and spends additional time with his community through the Boy Scouts of America’s service-oriented fraternity, the Order of the Arrow. In the future, he hopes to graduate from the United States Naval Academy with both a degree in chemical engineering and a commission as an ensign in the US Navy, focusing on a career in Naval Special Operations as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician. Known for his excessively bright yellow and pink running shoes, Clifford characterizes himself as “the most Asian guy you will ever meet." As an outspoken proponent of Asian-American affairs, Clifford hopes for there to be a day when a young Asian-American could wake up every morning proud to belong to such a rich and diverse minority group... not just another yellow face in the crowd.

Max Silverstein Picture

Max Silverstein

Talk: "You cannot define me: trans people today"

Max is a senior at Moreau Catholic High School. They are 18 years old and live with their two moms and their little brother in Oakland. They work at Chabot Space and Science Center, and as a lighting technician in Moreau's theater program. They love learning, specifically about physics and psychology. In their free time, they are the co-president of the queer-straight alliance at Moreau and enjoy learning to play the ukulele and drums.

Veronica Castaneda Picture

Veronica Castaneda

Talk: "Immigrants of Today are a Brighter Future for Tomorrow"

This is Veronica Denise Castaneda, she is 17 years old and is a senior at Moreau Catholic High school. Her occupations include being a Varsity high school cheerleader, an All-Star Cheerleader and President of "Nuestra Gente" (a club that is influenced by Hispanic culture and teaches it to students). She has held forums about the termination of DACA and has communicated with congressman to help solve the issues immigrants are facing in the U.S. She is a very strong leader and very passionate about politics and issues in America. She will be continuing to hold forums throughout the city to promote the issues immigrants are facing.

Ryan Sathianathen Picture

Ryan Sathianathen

Talk: "From Medication to Innovation"

Ryan Sathianathen is a senior at Moreau Catholic High School, where he is on the Varsity Cross Country and Tennis teams. He is the Co-President of French Club and a member of the CyberPatriot team. During his freshman year, Ryan was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia, causing him to miss large amounts of school. In February 2017, Ryan took a leave of absence from school to prepare for a bone marrow transplant to treat his cancer. Fortunately, the transplant was successful and Ryan was able to return to school in December 2017.


Now that his cancer is in remission, Ryan is working towards finishing high school with an outstanding senior year. Ryan hopes to major in Biochemistry in college and then further his education by attending medical school. As a result of his battle with leukemia, Ryan wishes to be a pediatric oncologist so that he can help young cancer patients facing situations similar to his own. Ryan hopes that he will be able to use his experience with cancer to connect with patients so that he can not only treat their cancer, but also support them with their emotional struggles and make a lasting positive impact on their lives.

Mehar Chhatwal Picture

Mehar Chhatwal

Talk: "Breaking Barriers Through Breaking Bread"

Mehar Chhatwal is a senior at Moreau Catholic High School in Hayward, CA. He is an avid athlete, representing Moreau on the varsity football team. He describes himself as optimistic, mindful, and humorous. Mehar was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and moved to California when he was in Kindergarten. He attended nine different schools before 9th grade which has given him a unique perspective on diversity. Mehar grew up in a multicultural family, where his parents were mixed faith, which has made him open minded and perceptive. An Eagle Scout candidate, is live by the motto ‘Be Prepared.’ He is also intimately involved in serving the community and volunteers for refugee resettlement program, Small Steps Foundation. In his spare time, he teaches mindfulness to K-6th graders. He is also the winner of the Wharton Sports Business Academy Business Plan Competition, where he pitched an idea for the Hybrid Helmet, which uses AI to detect concussions and help professionals play safer and reduce the danger in America’s favorite sport.

Shiyi Ji Picture

Shiyi Ji

Talk: "Culture shock: the educational adventure"

Shiyi Ji is a senior at Moreau Catholic High School. She is the founder of Moreau Art Club and the president of ISP council. She has been devoting herself at an organization called Ark Under The Sky, helping children from an AIDS village in Hubei, China. While the organization provides summer camp opportunities in major cities throughout China, Shiyi manages the organization's WeChat account, designs group logos, supports children's education, and educates the public to reduce discrimination.

Gurpinder Singh Picture

Gurpinder Singh

Talk: "Psychology’s monumental influence in the future of AI"

Gurpinder is a senior at Moreau Catholic High School, where he is on the Varsity Track team and Vice President of the Math Club. Born in India and having moved to California at a young age, Gurpinder has been exposed to diverse perspectives. In his free time, Gurpinder loves to apply his knowledge of coding with his lateral thinking to solve societies ever-growing problems. He has utilized his imagination and thoughtfulness to create multiple apps on the iTunes App Store, such as Political U Birds.


Cognizant of the skewed perspectives of much journalism in the world, Gurpinder loves to read articles of varying media outlets. He is interested in humanitarian interaction in the Middle East. He reads articles from media accounts like B'Tselem, Haaretz, and Hamodia to broaden his views on the dysfunctional political theater and religious polarization in Jerusalem. Gurpinder is an adherent to multiculturalism as a positive value that allows people of diverse religions to coexist peacefully. Today, Gurpinder uses his knowledge of Artificial Intelligence and computer science to address societal issues like those evident in Israel.

Zainab Attarwala Picture

Zainab Attarwala

Talk: "Our unhealthy and deceptive obsession with perfection"

Zainab Attarwala was born in Hayward, California and is a senior at Moreau Catholic High School. She has been a part of the AP art program at her school for two years as well as has participated in Varsity Badminton and Junior Varsity Softball. Outside of school she works as an indoor sports coordinator for the city of Fremont and plays Badminton at California’s Badminton Academy. Along with her passion for art and athletics, Zainab is very involved with volunteer work at the Tri-City food bank and Washington Hospital in Fremont, CA. As part of her job and volunteer work, she works with children which has inspired her to pursue a major in biological sciences in college to one day focus on the improvement of health/nutrition for underprivileged children around the world. Zainab’s dedication towards social justice stems from the inspiring charity work her grandparents/ family are involved in, in India. She expresses that their compassion has always pushed her to help others, which is a value she is forever grateful for and plans to share with others.

Olivia Sally Picture

Olivia Sally

Talk: "Are you living in an echo chamber? How political uniformity is dividing our nation"

Olivia Sally is a junior at Bishop O’Dowd High School with a deep interest in politics, policy, and public service. Through her experience working with and for countless Bay Area politicians and being a leader in the political scene at her school, Olivia has observed the uniformity of liberal views. Beyond founding and leading Dragon Democracy, a legislative body at her high school which has successfully initiated several policies to improve campus life, Olivia serves as an ambassador for Bridge the Divide, an organization which aims to address partisanship via conversation. Olivia also encourages civic education as a Youth Advisory Board Member with KQED and within the Miss California Organization with her platform of “Civic Engagement Among Youth.” With her free time, Olivia enjoys volunteering with children, specifically in the fields of music and the performing arts, and was recognized for obtaining the highest service hours of her class in 2018.

Rosalyn Brand Picture

Rosalyn Brand

Talk: "My unique mind is a beautiful puzzle"

Rosalyn Brand is a 17-year-old high school student who is a high-functioning autistic. She is very passionate about explaining her story and has been inspired from her favorite book, "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime" by Mark Haddon, and ABC's show "The Good Doctor".

Joseph Shur Picture

Joseph Shur

Talk: "The Stress of Being Sane"

Joseph Shur is a senior at Moreau Catholic High School in Hayward, California. Currently enrolled in AP Computer Science Principles and AP English, Joseph is a member of Link Crew, and is passionate about art, digital graphics and technology. For college, he plans to major in computer science starting next year. His hobbies include spending time with friends, watching movies, drawing, and working with Photoshop. He currently lives with his two dogs, brother and mother.

Zoie Camille Picture

Zoie Camille

Talk: "Artists, The Innovators Of Tomorrow"

Zoie is a senior at Moreau Catholic High School. She enjoys playing games and making creative pieces whether it be drawing, origami, or crochet. She has always been involved in the arts - from orchestral music and stage-work to visual arts - and is currently taking AP Studio Art and Ceramics. As a part of her Senior Capstone Project, she teaches art classes with a group of friends, calling themselves the Fighters for Art Education, at St. Bede Catholic Elementary School. In college, she plans to study Game Design with an emphasis on Game Art.

Farah Hussain Picture

Farah Hussain

Talk: "Artists, The Innovators Of Tomorrow"

Farah Hussain is a Senior at Moreau Catholic High School. She enjoys watching cartoons and doodling. Farah has always been interested in the arts and is currently in her second year of AP Art. As a part of her Senior Capstone Project, she teaches art classes with a group of friends, calling themselves the Fighters for Art Education, at St. Bede Catholic Elementary School. She plans to major in Animation in college but has not decided which school she wants to attend yet.

Michael Vickers Picture

Michael Vickers

Talk: "How outdoor education is saving the planet one camping trip at a time"

Michael Vickers is a current senior who lives a very busy lifestyle. Around school, Michael is frequently found outdoors as he is a captain of the varsity cross country and track team and is therefore running and working out year round. Michael has enjoyed a very successful career in his athletics and he has amassed three all leagues selections in cross country but he values the lessons and love that sports have taught him. His experiences have taught him what he attributes as lifelong lessons such as teamwork, leadership, communication. Most importantly he loves to talk about how his time in sports, especially cross country, have helped him realize two of his biggest passions, being physically active and feeling a love for the surrounding environment. He attributes the development of his two passions towards the countless hours of trail running he has experienced throughout his four years. The best feeling according to Michael is experiencing the satisfaction of an enduring run while also embracing the serenity of the surrounding scenes he finds himself in. Michael values his involvement in sports as a realm to help him discover and learn more about himself.

Caroline Au Picture

Caroline Au

Talk: "How outdoor education is saving the planet one camping trip at a time"

As a senior at Moreau Catholic High School, Caroline Au is involved in both athletics and the arts. During the fall, she participates in Cross Country. She has also been on Varsity Track and Field for the past 4 years, where she is the current captain of the pole vault team. Additionally, she has been a member of the Moreau Band and Orchestra program for the past 4 years, and is part of the Chamber Wind Ensemble this year. Caroline relaxes by going outside and soaking up the sun. She enjoys hiking, climbing trees, and simply sitting in nature to enjoy the view.

Sam Lacabanne Picture

Sam Lacabanne

Talk: "How outdoor education is saving the planet one camping trip at a time"

Sam is a senior at Moreau Catholic High School in Hayward, California, where he is a captain of the varsity water polo team. He’s passionate about more than just water polo, however, and hopes to receive his Eagle Scout award in January 2019. His experiences in nature because of his time in the boy scouts have inspired a passion for the environment, and his participation in athletics have inspired a passion for teamwork and leadership. These passions have led him to pursue a career where he can grow in his leadership ability and help to preserve the environment and to pursue a degree in civil engineering. He looks forward to a successful remainder of his senior year, and hopes to maintain his passion for nature and the environment by camping and having other adventures outdoors with friends. At home, he enjoys spending time with his dogs, watching Netflix and Youtube, and studying foreign languages.

Angela Lu Picture

Angela Lu

Talk: "Combining Diverse passions for innovation"

Possessing a fascination with nature ever since she was young, Angela is passionate about environmental protection in all ways--learning about current environmental issues and policy, spreading awareness as president of Moreau's Club Earthwise, and on an international level while interning for Poten Environment in Beijing, China. In college, she hopes to delve deeper into environmental issues and conduct research on climate change. In her free time, Angela also enjoys playing table tennis, painting and drawing, and writing poetry.

Anish Mohanty Picture

Anish Mohanty

Talk: "Cultivating Insight: A Re-evaluation of Intellect"

Anish Mohanty is a senior at Moreau Catholic High School in Hayward, California. Growing up with a diverse array of passions, Anish has pursued opportunities in film, music, social justice, and even political science. In the 12 years he played piano, he grew a love for the storytelling power it had, which drew him to filmmaking at a young age. As he grew older, he took that passion for filmmaking and used it for a philanthropic endeavor, creating a documentary on Adruta, a foster home in Odisha, India, and organizing a fundraiser that raised $23,000 on the first night.


While his passion for film continued through his service as Executive Producer on Moreau’s MCTV broadcasts, he also grew interested in political science, which drew him to a study of civics and political discourse, and even the opportunity to interview a member of Congress. In all of his pursuits and successes, the constant remained that they all lied outside the walls of his classroom, yet within his personal motto of “Cultivating Insight”.