Academics + Inquiry & Innovation Program

“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, whose structure is more rigorous and challenging than the typical curriculum. These courses emphasize the inquiry process and introduce I2 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 Projects

Please click below to read sample project blogs:


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 to NASA Ames, TwitterThe Crucible, The Tech Museum of Innovation, AutodeskDolby, behind the scenes at the Academy of Sciences 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

“The I2 program has given me the valuable opportunity to discover an interest and share this interest with others through a year-long project. By granting students the chance to focus our time and skills on a project we are passionate about, the I2 program fosters values, like curiosity and responsibility, that will be useful long after graduation. This project, combined with engaging field trips and workshops that expose students to the countless applications of STEM outside the classroom, ultimately enhances the high school experience for I2 scholars and results in motivated individuals prepared to face whatever challenges we encounter after high school.”

Maia Alviar, ’18

“Being in the I2 program has been an incredible experience and it has inspired me to pursue my passion for teaching and the environment. Through I2 and the SLI (Student Launch Initiative), I was able to turn my passions into a curriculum for elementary school students to teach them about the importance of bees and their own role in the world around them. The I2 program has inspired me and has also introduced me to some of my best friends making it is a community and experience that I am very grateful to have.”

Chloe Jenniches ’19

I2 Scholar Program Team

  • Mr. Liam Carey, I2 Director
  • Mr. Tom Farrell, I2 School Counselor
  • Ms. Margi Beima, Community Learning Partnerships Director
  • Ms. Kathy Lorentz, TEDx Facilitator
  • Mr. Greg Herlein, Vex Robotics Facilitator
  • Ms. Julia Rinaldi, Service Learning Facilitator