by Lucie Duffort
The SHC Inquiry & Innovation Program (i2) is an enrichment program for high achievers in math and science, motivated in the fields of science and design, and demonstrating deep curiosity and desire to pursue innovation. The i2 program accompanies students from freshman orientation all the way to graduation, and is entering into its sixth year at SHC.
Thursday night marked the passing of the torch between class of 2018 i2 students and those entering the program as first-year SHC students. In the spirit of play and science, however, graduating seniors did not hand over torches to incoming freshmen. They handed over slinkys™.
Program director and Instructor of Science Liam Carey welcomed the group of students and families. He emphasized that “science is a hands-on field of study,” and wished that students passing through the program see their interests and abilities connect to meaningful work as they move on to effect change in the world.
SHC was honored to host Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi as keynote speaker for the celebration. Brightly introduced by his granddaughter Kinga ’18, who completes the i2 program this year, Csikszentmihalyi is an important figure in the field of psychology responsible for the notion of “Flow,” in which a person’s immersion in an activity during the process of creation, discovery, or innovation allows for concerns and awareness of time, ego, and even physical imperative to melt away. See his 2004 Ted Talk “Flow, the secret to happiness” for more information.
During his speech, Csikszentmihalyi spoke of responsibility, reminding i2 students that “the opportunity you have been given is to make life on Earth a better deal for most people than it is now.” He encouraged them to find fulfillment in challenge, meaning in solving old problems, and joy in finding new ones. Finally, he emphasized that “when you do what you can do well, helping others in the process, external factors matter less and less,” echoing a sentiment SHC students have already begun to access through service and study. You can watch his full keynote speech here.
We were also introduced to seniors who reminded us of the year’s experiences, including robotics, visits to the NASA and Genentech labs, TedxYouth@SHC, outdoor ed and many more. This video shows highlights.
At the end of the evening, as somewhat nervous soon-to-be freshmen left the stage (slinkys™ in hand) and sentimental seniors hugged classmates and teachers, the words of Matthew Liu hung in the air: “The most important part of i2 is the community we have built together.” We look forward to seeing this community of inquisitive minds go out into the world, find their Flow, and show us what they can do.