Opening remarks to the second Classics Academy Night held Wednesday June 13th.
would like to take the opportunity to formally welcome everyone to the
second of what will hopefully be many Classics Academy Night. It is
great to see so many family, friends and educators present for this
I would like to thank Anthony, Cynthia, Dawn and Mark. The success of
the program and national recognition we have received is a direct result
of their dedication, effort and professionalism. Their unwavering
belief in what the Academy represents and faith in what our students are
capable of achieving compels all of us to redefine the educational
paradigm at MHS.
introducing last year’s program, I talked about a group of high school
students from Massachusetts who started their own school within school.
In similar fashion, I wanted to take a brief minute to share a story
I came across while reading Tony Wagner’s latest work Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World.
In Creating Innovators, Wagner
provides a rationale for developing an innovation-driven economy. The
book explores what parents, teachers, and employers must do to develop
the capacities of young people to become innovators. Throughout Creating Innovators
individuals, teachers, corporations and educational programs such as
the Stanford d. School and High Tech High are profiled. There is an
emphasis in the book on dissecting forward-thinking environments where
cultures of innovation based on collaboration, interdisciplinary
problem-solving, and intrinsic motivation are allowed to flourish.
such program highlighted is the D-Lab at MIT. Started by Amy Smith,
the D-Lab’s mission is to improve the quality of life of low-income
households through the creation and implementation of low cost
technologies. Sixteen different academic offerings make up the suite of
D-Lab classes, falling into the broad categories of Development, Design
and Dissemination. All D-Lab courses are based on the same values and
principles of providing experiential learning, using technology to
address poverty, building the local creative capacity and promoting
Wu graduated from MIT in 2009 with a degree in mechanical engineering
and also, was among the very first to enroll in d-Lab classes. Upon
graduating, Ms. Wu turned down a scholarship to the University of
California at Berkeley to start her own business in Tanzania. At age 24
Jodie is the president and CEO of Global Cycle Solutions.
Cycle Solutions is working to share affordable, quality technology for
villagers around the world. Ms. Wu’s core team works on the ground in
East Africa visiting villagers to understand their lives and needs.
Where there is a need and a solution, GCS brings that product to these
villagers. Where there is a need and no solution, GCS develops these
technologies in-house to cultivate creative capacity in the local
Wu was quoted as saying, “everything changed when she took D-Lab,”
which at that time was a sequence of D-Lab I, II and III. Again Ms.
Wu, “What I loved about the course was that it integrated my wanting to
make a difference in the world with my engineering skills.
believe there is a profound link between Ms. Wu’s experience and what
you are about to see this evening. It’s simply inspiring what can be
achieved when young people are encouraged to follow their passions and
develop a sense of purpose. In just two years the Classics Academy and
in particular this night of public exhibitions has shown the need to
empower students to explore issues of personal and global relevance.
closing I would Personally like to thank the 2011-2012 Classic Academy
students. Our students took a leap of faith in taking the road less
traveled. I hope the journey this year has been challenging, enduring,
inspiring and something they will hold dear throughout their education
and professional careers.
Again, I want to welcome everyone this evening and at this time I would like to turn the program over to the Classics Academy staff.