Edison, education connect at Regina
Wilmette Monday, 10/29/12 Sarah Miller Caldicott, of Oak Park, at Regina Dominican High School Monday evening. The great grand-niece of Thomas Edison, she was at the school, talking about the power of innovation. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 8, 2012 9:30AM
WILMETTE — Combining compassion, innovation and leadership, as Regina Dominican educators are doing with the Wilmette high school’s Vision 20/20 program, is something inventor Thomas Edison would have understood and applauded, one of Edison’s family members told school supporters last week.
“By the time Edison died, his name was known globally, his inventions had traveled around the world. The notion of global citizenship was a concept he would have believed in,” Sarah Miller Caldicott said in an Oct. 29 presentation at Regina, a Roman Catholic college preparatory high school for girls.
Caldicott, Edison’s great grand-niece, is an Oak Park-based author, speaker and consultant who researched her famous relative’s work and management habits, and works with businesses and non-profits to help them make use of the same concepts. She’s spoken on innovation for the TED series, on PBS, CNBC and NPR among other outlets.
She’s also a former chairwoman of the Edison Awards program, which honors businesses and institutions for innovation in products and services. Last May, the organization gave Regina a 2012 Edison Award for its “Vision 2020” strategic plan, a key component of which is inculcating a sense of practical and compassionate leadership in its students, to prepare them for global leadership as they enter the world.
That continues to be a priority, Sister Mary Margaret Pachucki, the school president, said last week before Caldicott’s talk. The presentation also included a question and answer session with the audience of parents, Regina alumni and family members.
Practical leadership was her great grand-uncle’s stock in trade, Caldicott said, as was a lifelong love of learning, and a determination to work collaboratively with his employees, and encourage their own education.
The links with Regina’s own mission goals for its students – of “authentic self-confidence, joyful learning, compelling communication and global citizenship – are notable, she said.
Caldicott, who has four children, encouraged parents to help students by focusing not only on grades, “but also on the process of learning itself and the sense of joy students bring to it.”
“Part of what parents can do is be influences, be catalysts,” she said.
Caldicott also said Regina’s mission is important for young women.
“It helps young women articulate their points of view, and learn to take stands, which positions them as leaders.”