Jessica Philippe on behalf of Inferno
“Finesse the System”
TEDxWilmingtonED: Education Possible
was held on Thursday, February 9th, 2018
at the HOTEL DU PONT 

See Inferno’s stunning TEDxWilmington performance here.

Inferno, TEDxWilmington, TEDxWilmingtonED, Wilmington, Delaware, Alessandra Nicole

Inferno. Photograph by Alessandra Nicole for TEDxWilmington

The mere possibility of being able to participate in a TEDx event was something that was extremely satisfying in itself. The entire process challenged us and allowed us to constantly push each other for our betterment as a whole. To try to put this experience into words brings forth words such as exhilarating, amazing and even eye-opening.

I must admit that performing at TEDxWilmingtonED was the biggest thing we have done thus far. I would’ve never expected to have this under my belt as a second year teacher with a group of vivacious high school girls. Sharing the same stage with many other great speakers- that is an experience my girls will be able to share within their own communities for as long as they choose. Once the initial shock of the reality of this opportunity settled in, I think my girls and I were really able to dig into what all this meant for us.

Being able to put my team in such an authentic experience is something I will not only cherish for years to come, but will push myself to seek. They not only deserved this, but they worked hard for it. The day of the performance I saw a side of my girls that blew my mind. They were ready to top any expectations anyone had for them.

Our first practice for this event was one that really challenged our thinking. I mean, what did we actually think about our educational experiences? How could we better a system that wasn’t quite built for our input? It then dawned on us that people would attend this event with those same questions, furthermore they’d be looking to us for the answers. I realized we had a unique perspective; people would come to speak on a topic that impacted the very girls that would be on the same stage. I asked the students to write a list of everything they were unsatisfied with about the education system. The common thread was un-interesting, not applicable to the real world, and plain old outdated.  We worked hard with long hour rehearsals and conditioning. We even worked on Saturdays- and to a teacher Saturdays are golden. We wanted to be our best selves. We felt confident yet nervous going into the performance. When Ajit came to speak to us several days before the event he really laid out the history of the origin of TEDx and provided us with very valuable feedback. For all it was worth we felt more ready that day than the actual day of the show. I went to sleep that night with the idea 8 girls would perform and woke up with only 6. Ahh!! And the crowd goes wild! Or at least that’s how it felt when finished. The crowd had not even noticed that people had to learn new lines the day of a show, or that we were missing two members unexpectedly. Our message had been so impactful that it superseded the setbacks of that day.

If I may share a message to future TEDxWilmington speakers it would be to have confidence in yourself and your dream, because it all starts there. If you have a message you feel is worth spreading then you’ve got to be willing to speak out and speak up. And most importantly, be unapologetically black and be beautiful. I am rooting for you.

Inferno, TEDxWilmington, TEDxWilmingtonED, Wilmington, Delaware, Photograph by Alessandra Nicole

Inferno. Photograph by Alessandra Nicole for TEDxWilmington

Inferno, TEDxWilmington, TEDxWilmingtonED, Wilmington, Delaware, Photograph by Alessandra Nicole

Inferno. Photograph by Alessandra Nicole for TEDxWilmington

See Inferno’s stunning TEDxWilmington performance here.


The Freire Charter School Inferno dance team was founded in 2017 under the direction of Jessica Philippe as a group of students dedicated to performing with passion, building self-discipline, and having fun. The team works to demonstrate pride, spirit, and talent while working to achieve academic excellence and promote self confidence.

Freire Charter School is a public high school located in downtown Wilmington focused on providing a college-preparatory learning experience with a focus on individual freedom, critical thinking, and problem solving in an environment that emphasizes the values of community, teamwork, and nonviolence.

TEDxWilmingtonED: Education Possible // Friday, February 9th, 2018 // HOTEL DU PONT