A Student Perspective on Inquiry & Innovation

Story by Chamy Choi ’24 

The i2 Program stands for Inquiry & Innovation, a four-year leadership and enrichment program that encourages students to use their talents and interests to serve the world in innovative ways. Each incoming class of i2 consists of students chosen after an evaluation of their applications based on several factors, including academic achievement, recommendations, test scores and a demonstrated interest in STEM disciplines. Their first role is to pilot a program meant to stimulate their curiosity and make a positive change in the world.

The yearly i2 Project, an essential component of the i2 experience, is a one-year investigation of a significant issue or topic shaped by individual passions and skills. As i2 scholars begin work on the project, students choose a topic that interests them, STEM-related or not, and investigate it thoroughly. The initiative provides support from the outside community to assist in developing prototypes for innovative ideas. To create deliberate and frequently creative solutions to these issues, i2 scholars employ a methodology influenced by entrepreneurial and critical/design thinking. Students also participate in yearly academic excursions and attend workshops with outside speakers.

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Here are a couple of students’ projects that’ll inform you about the elements of our i2 community. Morgan Lee ’26 and Ashley Wang ’26 created Crystal Clear, a transparent monitor panel that uses LCD technology to translate sounds into on-screen text, much like subtitles do on TV screens, to provide people with hearing impairments another option in addition to devices like cochlear implants, ASL and hearing aids. Twenty percent of people across the planet can now converse more effectively thanks to Crystal Clear.

While on the art of listening, Deron Lew ’26 has offered music as the cure for overcoming overbearing injuries, or as he likes to say, A growing need to shift our focus to both the physical and mental healing of the athlete.” He created ASMusic, a website that uses an audio stimulator to assess daily mood levels and rehabilitation objectives in order to help injured athletes who are experiencing emotional withdrawals. After that, it will offer a recommended music selection to improve their everyday spirits.

Speaking of spirit, when was the last time students saw students in their unfiltered settings? Myself and a group of seniors including current i2 students Ryan Hernandez ‘24 and Kat Leong ‘24 teamed up to create a private student-led video production group that highlights students’ everyday experiences at SHC, Everything Everywhere Productions @ SHC. The mission is to raise awareness of the diversity of the various groups we have at school through the students’ perspectives. The team states, “Our audience is the student body first and foremost because everyone from athletes, performers, artists and academic, innovative scholars deserve a voice on why they represent their groups and how they physically and mentally prepare for events they participate in.” All of these unique voices will be recorded in either a mini-documentary style feature or a “day–in–life” format like this one EE: Life of an SHC Wrestler or SHC Girls Tennis Documentary-Short. Rather than collectively documenting highlights of matches or shows, our thought is what happens behind those doors?

These are some of the mere highlights of what the i2 scholars have in store for you, especially on Saturday, April 13, when these students will have their moments to shine with their honest, creative passions and express a unique crafty perspective of Sacred Heart Cathedral.

Of course, I can’t speak on behalf of everyone, so here are some students on their take on the i2 Showcase:

Chelsea Kwan ’24: “I honestly really enjoyed the i2 Showcase. It was exciting to see the projects that other students created and to see how passionate they were about their projects. As the i2 Editor-in-Chief, my primary job was setting up the showcase and making sure everything went smoothly. It was super hectic the day before, but it was rewarding to see everything pay off and see parents and incoming i2 students in awe of the program.

Kat Leong ’24: Initially, as my team of four started presenting, my knees were beginning to shake intensely. As time went on, I became considerably less nervous during the presentation as I turned up the music and encouraged more attendees to compete. I think my favorite project was Isabella Guzman’s Senser project—she was really talking animatedly and passionately about it as she presented. I also think it’s a pretty neat idea to add vibrational tech to common accommodations like walking sticks.

Matt Spillane ’24: Overall, the organization was top tier. The big projects, which some members had poured their time, effort, and part of their soul into, were perfectly highlighted and displayed. I'm not the best public speaker, so the first several people I present to get a different introduction before I nail down what I want to say, and the most efficient way to say it.

If you are looking for more news, events, student spotlights, and updates on passionate, creative features, visit the SHC i2 Today website.

Images from the 2023 i2 Showcase

I2 Showcase 21 1 I2 Showcase 17 I2 Showcase 22

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