A few years back, we started this little ole series called the Socrates Exchange - originally the idea was six shows that had a really neat angle and could possibly be great radio for our listeners. Over time the project's direction grew, and we decided to reach out to younger people, got schools discussing the topics in the classroom, and invited high schools to come and participate in live shows.
One surprise that came out of our humble little series came out of Souhegan High School in Amherst. The students there decided to start a group called HYPE (High (school) Youth Philosophy Enthusiasts). The first meeting was in 2010, 4-5 schools and roughly ninety students showed up for a day of philosophy between students from different high schools across the state.
After two full seasons, we decided we needed to move on from the Socrates Exchange, at least as a full series, though we still try to do a few shows a year.
Today we brought back the series on the same day as HYPE’s 3rd annual meeting. This year 13 Schools and over 200 high schoolers are at St. Anselm College discussing the topic we discussed today, “What is Progress”?
Very symbolic! When I first reached out to high school teachers, many complained to me about the lack of attention philosophy received in the classroom. Some administrators actually wanted to nix these programs from schools. Today, our guest philosopher, Nick Smith, told me some of his incoming freshman philosophy majors at UNH decided to major in that subject because of the Socrates Exchange and their experience with HYPE.
Not sure we can take the full bow for this, but we can at least say that we set a ball in motion. To me it shows how much of an impact some of our programming can have for our listeners and our community.