Loyalty Traster-Lee, a 17-year-old senior at California Virtual Academy (CAVA), served as curator for a Long Beach, California-based TEDx event, a worldwide program that holds gatherings in local communities on thought-provoking and inspiring topics.
“Online school has helped me become much more independent and proactive, which is vital for anything, but especially when you are initiating an international nonprofit event,” Loyalty said. “It also helped me understand some of the tech lingo, which was a plus!”
Loyalty was inspired to get involved with TEDx after a CAVA field trip in 8th grade to TEDxYouth@CalTech. Ten months ago, Loyalty had hoped to give her own TED Talk, but it clashed with taking her SATs. While she was looking at other TED events, the idea of curating a TED event began to seem more achievable.
“She applied for the TED license not thinking it would actually be approved, but it was!” Loyalty’s father, Kevin Traster said. “After that, it was a matter of pride more than anything else that she followed through on what she said she would do. We are very, very proud of her that she managed to keep the momentum going and the event was a bigger hit than we had hoped.”
The theme of Loyalty’s event was passion and momentum, with the ultimate goal was to help inspire people to find their own passion and momentum to achieve their definition of success.
Turnout was robust. TEDxYouth@AlamitosBay signed in a total of 119 individuals the day of the event and submitted 96 unique email addresses to TED for their post-event survey.
“Many of my teachers including Mrs. Nordholm, Mrs. Encarnacion, and Mrs. De Nicola showed up, and Danielle Lee, a senior in CAVA, was one of the speakers.” Loyalty said.
Senior, Danielle has been with CAVA for seven years. Her main topic in her talk focused on perseverance.
“Contrary to the prejudice that homeschoolers have social issues because they are so cloistered, CAVA’s online environment has allowed Loyalty to more fully immerse herself in the community at large than if she had been in regular school,” Kevin said. “The recorded sessions have been immensely helpful in keeping her caught up when she has to miss a session, and where she does attend sessions, she is ahead in terms of online savviness. She knows how to conduct herself as manage interactions both online and offline because of CAVA, and some of the necessary computer skills, like PowerPoint and video-editing, she actually got to mastered before her brick-and-mortar peers.”
The decision to enroll to CAVA was made by Loyalty. At the time, she had just finished elementary school with a graduating class of 50 kids and the idea of a middle school with 8,000 students was a little overwhelming.
“Online school’s a good ratio between freedom to explore your outer community and structure to learn different subjects,” Loyalty said. ‘For me, it’s the best of both worlds.”
Kevin said he appreciates the flexibility of the online environment and the willingness of both the administration and teachers to work with Loyalty.
“CAVA’s listing as a state public online school and collaboration with K12 was a huge draw, and has been all the six years we have stayed with CAVA,” Kevin said. “The syllabus is excellent, and is exactly the education we were looking for.”
Loyalty is currently taking all AP classes and planning to take 9 exams this year that will count for college credit. She is also a part of CAVA’s National Honor Society (NHS) and was one of the founding members of the school’s Associated Student Body (ASB).
“I’ve been volunteering since I was 5-years-old,” Loyalty said. “Even though it does help get me scholarships and NHS hours, the primary reason I do it has always been because it’s my passion.”
She currently volunteers with the Village Bible Academy Leo Club, the Bayshore Library, St Joseph’s Sunday School, St Annes’ Religious Education, and the 5K for Race for the Rescue.
Although Loyalty doesn’t know what she wants to do when she gets older just yet, she hopes to continue to help create positive changes in the world.