Tehva Kastel Riggan

I was born in Orleans, California and spent the first 13 years of my life living on our family ranch in the middle of the woods where I gained a great love and connection to nature. Through out that time I attended a few different elementary schools, all of which were highly populated with Native American students and had programs focused on Native Americans. I was lucky enough to been able to have taken Yurok, Karuk (traditional languages) and tradition basket weaving classes. After 8th grade my parents moved us to Arcata so I could attend Northcoast Preparatory and Performing Arts Academy. I have spent three fabulous years there and am starting my fourth and final. Through out my three years in Arcata I have spent my time focusing primarily on academics, but in my free time I have been playing tennis, working in student publications, traveling, going back home to Orleans and volunteering with Teen Court. Through Teen Court I have been able to play as a juror and an attorney in real court cases. I was also part of the Teen Court Leaders program. I will be attending college next fall and plan to major in some sector of business. I also hope to spend a year abroad while in college.

Jet Glover

My name is Jet Glover; I’m 14 and I’ve played music approximately my whole life.  I am a freshman at NPA and I play violin in the HSU symphony and am currently concertmaster for the All Seasons Orchestra.  I also like to ride bicycles and play tennis.

Jeremy Reiner

Jeremy Reiner is currently in the 9th grade at Northcoast Preparatory Academy in Arcata, CA. He was born and has been raised in Trinidad, CA surrounded by redwoods and wildlife. His main interests include sports (soccer, cross country, and tennis), music (he has been playing the piano for about 7 years and the cello for about 3 years), literature, and mathematics. He also enjoys acting and singing in the chorus. His future plans are as yet undecided but will probably include a combination of his interests.

Gina Figueroa

Gina Figueroa, “Miss Gina” has been working with youth in Humboldt County since 2005. Through her experience as a peer education program coordinator, health educator and camp counselor, Gina has led numerous workshops for youth and youth mentors. In April 2013 Gina was invited to Washington DC as part of a national youth advisory council. Gina helped plan a youth summit for high school aged young people from across the nation. She facilitated several ice breakers, games and interactive activities including a workshop to help participants understand why empathy and diversity is important in the work they do as activist, peer mentors and educators. Gina’s leadership, passion and positivity played a huge role in the success of the summit and her contributions were stated to be a highlight for both the youth and adults involved. Gina is Passionate about working with youth and helping them to identify their gifts and attributions. Through her work Gina has grown up with the youth in her life, they have taught her to value herself and others in her life. Gina has built strong relationships with the youth in her life by being patient, being herself, being open about her feelings, being open to new ideas and knowing that young people like most of us desire to feel validated and acknowledged.

Jesse Jonathon Franzen

Jesse Jonathon Franzen was born in Pocatello, Idaho, and has lived in Humboldt County since 2001. He graduated from Humboldt State University with degrees in Music and Dance. In 2007, he was asked to be the musical director of the community drum and dance group Samba da Alegria. Through that process, a weekly drumming class has been established to train a community of willing players to strengthen their rhythmic integrity. Since 2008, he has been teaching music in schools with the support of the Ink People Center for the Arts. He has taught at Arcata, Pacific Union, Trinidad, Blue Lake, Petrolia, Honeydew, and Blue Lake Elementary Schools, as well as Jacoby Creek and Coastal Grove Charter schools. From 2009-2012 he worked at the MARZ Project, which is a youth oriented arts space focused on providing the current tools of creation to those in need. The MARZ Project is currently based out of the Ink People offices in Eureka, CA. Jesse has also been the primary composer in local bands such as sambAmore and WoMama. He is currently a California Arts Council Artist in Residence at Blue Lake Elementary, where he is developing a unique music fundamentals course. Should you have any follow up questions from his talk, he can be reached atsambamore@yahoo.com.

Lonny Grafman

Lonny Grafman is an Instructor of Environmental Resources Engineering and Appropriate Technology at Humboldt State University; the founder of the Practivistas summer abroad, full immersion, Spanish language and resilient community technology program in Dominican Republic; the Advisor for the epi-apocalyptic city art projects, Waterpod, Flock House, and WetLand; the Executive Editor of the International Journal for Service Learning in Engineering; the CEO of Propelsion, a design and creativity incubator in Humboldt County; and the Founder and President of the Appropedia Foundation, sharing knowledge to build rich, sustainable lives. He is also a board member of engaged community organizations such as Locally Delicious, Thrivable, and Ashevillage Institute.

Lonny has taught courses at universities in four countries and facilitated interactive workshops in dozens of locations. He has worked, and led teams, on hundreds of domestic and international projects across a broad spectrum of sustainability – from solar power to improved cookstoves, from micro-hydro power to rainwater catchment, from earthen construction to plastic bottle schoolrooms. Throughout all of these technology implementations, he has found the most vital component to be community.

David Haller

I grew up in Atascadero, California and moved to Arcata in 1996 to attend Humboldt State University. In 2001 I graduated with a BS in Biology and completed the teaching credential program the following year. I have been teaching for 12 years. I currently teach 7th and 8th grade science and math at Freshwater Charter Middle School. I used to joke that I started teaching science because I like to blow things up, however, after several years of teaching I still enjoy the explosions just as much as my students. I love how being a science teacher requires me to be a lifelong student. I have also enjoyed being a host on Homework Hotline for the past eight seasons. It has offered me the opportunity to share my excitement of science with the community.I still live in Arcata with my wife Tasha. We enjoy traveling and exploring new places together. Our latest adventure was rowing a boat down the Middle Fork of the Idaho Salmon River. In my free time I enjoy surfing, white water kayaking, and rafting. I recently started one of my longtime goals to work as a volunteer fire fighter for the city of Arcata.

Kintay Johnson

Kintay Johnson has dedicated his educational career to helping those from disadvantaged backgrounds succeed academically and in life. After eight years of military service, he began college at College of the Redwoods in Eureka, California. Here he worked his way into a position as a Student Mentor in Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS). A social reform program established in 1969 in the California Community Colleges, it encouraged the state’s community colleges to develop programs and services to meet the unique educational needs of “English language learners as well as students with social, and economic disadvantages;” programs and services “over, above, and in addition to” the regular educational programs of the college. As a student, Johnson was enrolled and benefited from this program, he saw its life changing affects personally and devoted himself to continue the tradition of helping students succeed and achieve their highest potential.

It was during this time that Johnson found his calling, working with students with unique needs. He became involved in campus governance as a student at Humboldt State University, and served on the California State Student Association representing not only HSU, but also the 400,000 students of the entire California State University system. Here he was exposed to California’s Master Plan of Higher Education, and he would dedicate his life to the basic values of the plan, ensuring education is accessible, affordable, and of quality for all Californians. After graduation, he became employed where it all started for him, College of the Redwoods. He began working as the Assistant Director of Residential Life and currently works as a Student Services Specialist in the EOPS department. He is currently pursuing his master’s in education, with plans to pursue his PhD in Spring 2014. Overall, he hopes to continue to help ignite the drive to be successful in all students and inspire them to reach for their educational dreams.

Stella Grace Joy

I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember. In the past couple years I realized that I’m passionate about singing and acting. I want to do more of it. I’m inspired by my cousin Drew who is an amazing actor. My favorite artists are Rihanna, Sara Bareilles, Phillip Phillips, Jason Derulo & Bruno Mars. Justin Bieber is my idol. I hope to be famous like one of these great singers one day.

Mary Ann Loch

Mary Ann Loch is a happy Humboldt County native.  She teaches junior high English at Pacific Union school in Arcata California.   Her passions include education, nature, the arts, and her family and friends.    She earned her bachelor’s degree in Child Development at Humboldt State University, then received her Multiple Subjects credential and is currently working toward her Masters in Education.   Mary Ann loves teaching, cooking, riding horses, laughing and being outdoors.  She is an avid writer of both fiction and nonfiction, as well as children’s books.   She currently lives in Humboldt County with her husband and daughter, dogs, cats, fish, chickens, and horses.

Jessica McGuinty

Born in Ontario, Canada and raised in California’s Napa Valley, Jessica McGuinty is becoming known around the world as the charismatic curly hair expert pushing curl pride through healthy hair.

Jess founded Jessicurl in 2002 after years of fighting with and hating her curly hair. Determined that there had to be a better way, she started creating products that would contribute to the health of her hair rather than continuing to damage it. She wasn’t the only curly head with these struggles, and Jessicurl grew quickly through word of mouth on websites such asNaturallyCurly.com.

What started as a home based business is now an internationally recognized brand with a factory and full time staff.  In 2006 Jess was a featured guest on The Rachael Ray Show, where she showed the audience how to get the most out of their curly hair using the tips and techniques she has devised.

Jess is often asked to speak in public as audiences find her to be inspiring and her bubbly personality keeps them entertained.  She has also been a guest on numerous radio programs and even hosts her own World Music show at the highest rated radio station in her current home of Humboldt County, CA.

One of the most rewarding aspects of the experience has been the emails and letters from curly haired women of all ages who thank Jess for helping them to finally love and accept their curls.

Jeff Pimentel

Father of 4 Daughters, Happily Married Family Man, World Traveler and Entrepreneur. Born and raised in Arcata, CA and a Civil Engineer by trade. Jeff’s passion is to identify problems in the marketplace and create solutions to solve them.

In 2011 he co-founded jeffandvaden, a digital marketing agency that provides online marketing education for real estate professionals and assists brands across the globe to build passionate online communities that influence their bottom line. His clients have included brands named to the America’s Most Promising Companies List published by Forbes and the Inc 500 List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies. He brings a unique mix of entertainment, youth and knowledge to the marketplace.

He loves date nights with his daughters and wife, cycling, triathlons, spending time with family on the Azores Islands of Portugal, Apple products and fashion (4 daughters will do that to you). Oh and he loves to talk!

Ray Raphael

The day after graduating high school in New York City I headed west, a pack on my back. That was 1961. Went to college, went South for civil rights, tried to end the war and change the world. It didn’t change fast enough. Came to the Humboldt backwoods to start anew in 1969 and couldn’t believe what I found here.

I wrote about it with wonder: An Everyday History of Somewhere, a worship of life in our small corner of the earth. More books followed about the place we call home and the issues central to our lives: Tree TalkCash Crop, and so on – most recently, Two Peoples, One Place. I just kept ’em coming, couldn’t help myself. “I’m so glad you have your writing, pops,” my son tells me. “Otherwise your hyperactive mind would eat itself up.”

In the mid-90s I established residence in Revolutionary Era America. Eight books later, I’m still there. I like giving dead people their due, and I like getting their stories right. Sloppy history just drives me nuts. You’ll see that soon enough.

This is Ray’s second TEDx talk.

Tehva Kastel Riggan

I was born in Orleans, California and spent the first 13 years of my life living on our family ranch in the middle of the woods where I gained a great love and connection to nature. Through out that time I attended a few different elementary schools, all of which were highly populated with Native American students and had programs focused on Native Americans. I was lucky enough to been able to have taken Yurok, Karuk (traditional languages) and tradition basket weaving classes. After 8th grade my parents moved us to Arcata so I could attend Northcoast Preparatory and Performing Arts Academy. I have spent three fabulous years there and am starting my fourth and final. Through out my three years in Arcata I have spent my time focusing primarily on academics, but in my free time I have been playing tennis, working in student publications, traveling, going back home to Orleans and volunteering with Teen Court. Through Teen Court I have been able to play as a juror and an attorney in real court cases. I was also part of the Teen Court Leaders program. I will be attending college next fall and plan to major in some sector of business. I also hope to spend a year abroad while in college.

Madeira Seaman

Madeira Seaman is a senior at Eureka High School. Since her freshman year, she has had a constant headache (Yes, she has one right now) and so it’s understandable that she’s not always the happiest person in the room. While trying to comprehend why it was so important to others that she was always happy, Madeira learned about the value of a horde of other, less desirable, emotions. She was especially interested in how those are the very emotions that are the most motivational. She credits the emotions of frustration, anxiety and even anger with some of her more noteworthy accomplishments including starting her own business, Maditude Adjustment in middle school; writing and producing her own musical in her junior year of high school; and giving over thirty presentations about entrepreneurship and innovation to schools and youth groups across California beginning her sophomore year. Madeira’s presentations are surprisingly upbeat and humorous. She’s not trying to convince anyone to be unhappy. She just wants people to know that, when you’re feeling down, that’s okay, too.

Aleya Serrano

My name is Aleya Serrano and I am going to tell you a little bit about myself. My hobbies include reading, playing volleyball, foosball, and the clarinet, and being weird with my friends. The world would be so boring if everybody was normal. My favorite television shows are Dr. Who and a variety of awesome anime. In my spare time I like to read manga, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, horror, and write in my journal. Some of my best memories are when my dad reads to us as a family. I also love to spend time with my Mom, Dad, and sister creating funny parodies of popular songs. I feel that laughter is the key to a happy life. I also like to play imaginative games filled with adventure with my little sister and our neighbor. I am an “A” student and proud of it. I do not like social studies but I enjoy math and science. I am always happy to lend a helping hand. I got the Presidential Service Award for my hours of community service in K-Kids, Girl Scouts, and Student Council. I want to make the world a little bit better, step by step, as the Vlogbrothers would say “Don’t forget to be awesome.”

Rosie Slentz

Prior to becoming a classroom teacher at Trinidad Elementary School, Rosie Slentz was the lunch lady, but not the kind with a hairnet and instant mashed potatoes. The school nutrition program became a feast of local and organic goodies made with love for young foodies. More recently Rosie has served on the site council at her school and been a mentor teacher consultant for the Redwood Writing Project and a member of their geeky tech team.

Rosie’s experience in education includes work as a preschool teacher in Nantucket, an ESL teacher to adults in San Diego, an education dept. volunteer at the Museum of Man, coordination of a Workforce Investment Act program for local high school students through AmeriCorps, direction of the Orick Community Resource Center, and a school board member at Bridgeville School.

Like many children of the 70′s, Rosie grew up dreaming of being the cruise director on The Love Boat, but in reality her life was more like Laura Ingall’s on Little House on the Prairie. For much of her childhood she lived without electricity or indoor plumbing. She benefited from attending small rural schools in Humboldt County, often in classes with three grades at time. She was able to take hikes in the forest or to the river during the school day. The conversations, imaginative play, and fort building that happened on these excursions was priceless and she values the frequent opportunities she has to walk (or run) with her own students into the woods or down to the ocean.

River Sween

I am a senior at Arcata High School and have participated in many school and extracurricular activities, including National Honor Society benefits and varsity cross country and track and field. I created Arcata High School’s debate club and was a team captain in 2013′s Youth Relay for Life until two Arcata teams merged. Along with participating in these activities, I am in several leadership positions at Arcata High School such as ASB treasurer. I have been a chairman for the National Honor Society fundraiser dinner and silent auction for Olivia Kuljian in January 2013, which raised over $4400 dollars. Moreover, I am a candidate for the Arcata High School’s newspaper’s editor-in-chief, managing editor and news editor; and for National Honor Society co-president at Arcata High.
Over my high school career, I have diligently worked in ten Advanced Placement and honors courses, which have shown me the importance of education and have greatly improved my writing, analytical, speaking, scientific, and mathematical skills. Similarly, I have applied to pre-collegiate and internship programs throughout my high school career, including Stanford University’s EPGY program for engineering and for quantum mechanics, and MIT’s S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), and have received recognition from both institutes. This June, I with another Arcata High student was sent to Sacramento for California’s Boys’ State to learn about American government and simulate the republican process. Interested in politics, as well as science and mathematics, I have sent letters to President Obama and Nevada Senator Harry Reid, regarding various controversial policies, and have gotten recognition from the president. My primary interests are in nanotechnology, chemical engineering, neurology, and law (which are, admittedly, all quite different subjects).

Kati Texas

Kati Texas is the Artist in Residence for the Ink People Center for the Arts. There she paints public art in the Rural Burl Mural Bureau, manages the digital media studio known as the MARZ Project, and directs the North Star Quest Camp for Adolescent Girls. In her spare time she is an ACE Kinetic Sculpture Pilot, a Rutabaga Queen and current President of the Kinetic Universe.

In school, Texas studied theater arts; acting and directing, as well as technical skills like set design, lights and sound production. During the Summers, she would work with her father who was a sign painter. When she was 23, she produced and starred in a one woman play about revolutionary icon Emma Goldman. While touring with the show, “Emma Goldman; Love, Anarchy, and Other Affairs” Texas found herself in Arcata CA. She fell in love with the beaches, rivers and trees and people, and vowed to relocate as soon as possible.

In 2003, she packed up everything she owned (and a cat), and drove her old pick up truck from Texas to her new home in Humboldt County. Here she found an abundance of creative opportunities, and a supportive group of fellow artists including her mentors in the Kinetic Sculpture Lab.

Whether working or playing, Texas has dedicated her life to making art and artistic opportunities for her chosen community of Humboldt County.

Sophia Yamas

I went to a very small elementary school now called Union Street Charter. My grade was one class with fifteen students until sixth grade, when I went to Sunny Brae Middle School, which was much larger. From there I went to Arcata High School, from which I will graduate this June. At Arcata High I am a member of National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society, as well as being Senior Class Treasurer. As a student I take very rigorous classes. Sophomore year I took an AP class and an Honors, junior year four AP classes and two language classes, and this year four AP classes, an Honors class, and a math class at HSU. Taking these classes improved my time management, public speaking, and studying skills. They also helped me develop a sense of which subjects interest me and which ones don’t. With this new insight I decided that I want to major in civil engineering in college and engineer net zero buildings in my future. I play both varsity and club soccer. My starting position is right wing midfield, which means I do more running than anyone else on the field. I am also a lifeguard at the Arcata Community Pool and a soccer referee. I have been working at the pool for over two years. I have spent most of my past two summers at an engineering program at Stanford University called EPGY in the structural engineering class and the civil engineering class. In summer of 2012 I attended a summer program called National Student Leadership Conference on Engineering at U.C. Berkeley. In November of 2012 I helped build houses in New Orleans to replace the ones destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in partnership with Habitat for Humanity. During the summer of 2011 I volunteered at Food for People in Eureka twice a week. In May of 2013 I spent twenty hours at Relay for Life. Overall, I try to be as involved as possible considering how much homework I usually have.

Alex Yeoman

Alex was born and raised in Humboldt County and has been a straight A, AP scholar for all four years he has been at Arcata High School. He is a three sport athlete, participating in cross country, basketball, and track. As well as academics and sports, Alex is the co-president of the national honor society at Arcata High and chaired the Olivia Kuljian Benifit Dinner last year, and is the executive producer for the video department of the Pepperbox Journalism program at Arcata High. Alex suffered a majorly debilitating concussion during his junior year of high school that sidelined him for the entire year of sports and severely limited his ability in school. Though he continued all five of his AP classes, he was limited to two periods of schools at some times during the year. Throughout his experiences, he has gained an invaluable knowledge of concussions and the mental and physical impact they can cause people.


Kyle Visser

Kyle was born and raised in Humboldt County. He oversees the operations of his business Shred Tec to make sure the mission as a company is carried out and that the health and longevity of the organization is maintained. Kyle tries to be less involved in employees daily tasks as time goes on. We have a great group at Shred Tec and some of our best work comes when people are able to make their own decisions.


Rex Atienza

Aka Reckless Rex
Born February 9th, 1977
Introduced to Hip-Hop culture in 1984. I learned how to Breakdance in Okinawa, Japan at the age of 7 by watching movies like Beat Street and Flash Dance. I’m honored to have judged and entered dance competitions coast to coast.
Hip-Hop has been my way of life. I’m blessed to be able teach its Breakdancing element and all it has to offer to the youth and community.