Since this past Friday, we have been reviewing each and every ticket application that was submitted. With over 300 pages per binder, our work has been cut out for us. Elitist, arrogant, classest, pompous… these are some of the names we’ve been called because of this application process, and all the more reason why we found it imperative to print out, review, and hand score every applicant. We found that everyone from every demographic applied: high school students to seasoned professionals, broke community activists to CEOs. It has been a bit overwhelming, but once we started to dig into the applications and see how much passion some people have, it made the standout applicants give us goosebumps.


The Process

We anonymized each application and removed everything but 4 questions:

  • Why Should We Choose You?
  • What Do you Hope To Get Out of TEDxMcAllen?
  • What Have You Done for the Community?
  • Tell Us About Yourself

Then, I went to our local print shop and fired off 6 physical copies of each application. These were handed to every one of our board members. As mentioned, we judged each applicant on their application alone. Not who they were, how much money they make, or who they work for. We found some interesting trends, some eye-opening ideas, and even the chance to make some super heroes. Each one of our board members has read through every application, and we are almost ready to start awarding tickets.

A Look at One of Our Applicants

Before we start awarding tickets, I want to share an application with you all. I took a picture of it with my phone so that you could see the application as we saw it, but I’ll make it easier to read by copying and pasting the info here.

When I saw this application I was smiling from ear to ear. I think you’ll agree that this is someone worth investing the time into at TEDxMcAllen.

Why Should We Choose You?

As a third generation valley native, my roots here run deep. The valley’s potential for growth is tremendous and I want to be a part of it. By engaging myself in my local community, I can participate more fully in the world around me. I want to understand the reasons for our challenges and our successes. I want to meet other people who have the same mindset. By applying my self-starter attitude, I can make a positive difference. I am the next generation for the Rio Grande Valley.

What Do You Hope to Get Out of TEDxMcAllen?

My insatiable curiosity drives me to learn, grow and think in new and creative ways. The influential speakers chosen for this year’s TEDx can do just that…speak to me about an assortment of thoughts, ideas and topics that will allow me to learn, grow and think in new and creative ways about my community and how I can make a positive impact and change the world.

What Have You Done for the Community?

I have participated in a variety of community service events including the following: Make-a-Wish Foundation, Breast Cancer Awareness Week, Autism Awareness, Christmas Share, Teacher Appreciation Week, Relay for Life, McAllen Marathon, Trunk or Treat, Milam Elementary Fall Festival, Surf Rider Foundation Dune Preservation, and Volunteer Middle School Swim Coach.

and finally, (my favorite part of this application)

Tell Us About You

I am currently a senior at McAllen High School. I am an AP Scholar and ranked one of the top ten students in my class. I am a natural self-starter and entrepreneur. I started my first business in 8th grade. My businesses include a vending company, a healthy snack company, an investment company, and a promotional skimboarding company. My skimboarding company, SPIskimboarding, produces Texas’ largest annual skimboarding competition called Skim Jam. We have produced a total of 4 annual events and have seen continued growth and support each year.

A High School Senior. Someone who nailed all the questions, took time to fill out everything, wrote with passion, has participated in the community, and is a Senior in High School.

Here’s to our future.


Here is a photo of the application:


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