Academics + Inquiry & Innovation Program

Inquiry & Innovation

“Schooling isn’t worth anything unless it creates for people the capacity to believe that they can change the world. ” – Jean Piaget

I2 Program Mission

The Inquiry & Innovation (I2) program is a rigorous four-year program designed to expand the unique talents and interests of its students through science, technology, engineering, mathematics, design and service. The I2 Program encourages students to:

  • Develop their academic capacity in science, mathematics, technology and design courses.
  • Cultivate their unique talents and interests while broadening their view of the world through hands-on learning outside the classroom.
  • Imagine ways that their talents & interests can best serve the SHC community and a broader community than our own.



I2 Scholar Characteristics & Expectations

As ninth grade applicants to Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory, I2 scholars demonstrate high academic achievement through exemplary middle school grades and standardized test scores. More importantly, an I2 scholar embodies an intrinsic curiosity about the world, the ability to imagine a more just world, and the service ethos to construct that world. During high school, I2 scholars must:

  • Achieve at least a 3.5 cumulative GPA and a B average or higher Math and Science courses.
  • Maintain the highest standards of behavior as prescribed by the school.
  • Be models of curiosity, innovation and service for the entire SHC community.

I2 Program Components


The I2 curriculum includes dedicated ninth grade Physics and English classes, which are more rigorous than typical courses and which cover a greater depth and breadth of material. Shared courses will emphasize the inquiry process and will introduce scholars to cutting edge fabrication tools and design systems through field trips and in-class activities.

In addition, I2 scholars will be challenged to identify and leverage their passion to serve as agents of change in our worldBy placing their unique interests and abilities in the context of social justice, I2 scholars will imagine, design, and a create a solution to an inequity or engineering challenge they identify. Inspired by innovative partners from around the Bay Area, project development will follow the design process outlined below:

  • Year 1: Imagine
  • Year 2: Design
  • Year 3: Create
  • Year 4: Change


I2 scholars will be exposed to a variety of enriching experiences such as targeted field trips and speakers. Enrichment activities are designed to expose I2 scholars to a wide range of thought processes, innovation strategies, and passion-driven projects. Past activities have included field trips The Crucible, The Tech Museum of Innovation, Autodesk and City Arts and Lectures.


Facilitated by the SHC Service Learning team, I2 scholars will work with peers across grade-levels to engage in a variety of service activities chosen by the members of their assigned service team. I2 Scholars will identify a new area of service interest each semester, and in collaboration with their peers, practice the “Enter to Learn, Leave to Serve” mission of SHC.

Community Participation 

I2 scholars model inquiry and innovation for all members of the SHC community through initiatives such as:

I2 Scholar Quotes

“[T]he goal of the I2 Program is to build students up in a way that they learn to feel capable of achieving whatever it is that they have set their minds on.  We are encouraged to think creatively in a humbling working environment, as well as discover our strengths and weaknesses so that we can grow in such a way that we can ultimately accomplish our goals.  We are taught that in order to change the world, we must first take hold of our passions, and learn to develop these passions with time and effort.  With the continuous support we receive from our peers and from our instructors, this is made possible”. – Samantha Fisher, Class of 2017

“The I2 Program is a unique program that allows for the implementation of personal knowledge on a level that will affect a larger population. The I2 program is a way for my ideas to actually materialize and become something greater, that will help to fill a void or solve a problem that I feel has yet to be solved. I have a strong passion for cycling and through personal experience and I have found that protection of the body is being neglected. Earlier this year I fell during a routine training ride. This further increased my passion for a solution and I am currently trying to form ideas about how I can solve this problem.” – Tomas Saldana, Class of 2017

I2 Scholar Program Team

  • Mr. Liam Carey, I2 Director
  • Mr. Tom Farrell, I2 School Counselor
  • Ms. Cristin Kuehl, I2 English Instructor
  • Ms. Kathy Lorentz, TEDx Facilitator
  • Mr. Greg Herlein, Vex Robotics Facilitator
  • Ms. Julia Rinaldi, Service Learning Facilitator