Virtual Reality Innovators Challenge HPHS Students

Virtual reality technology innovators John Carmack and Palmer Luckey recently challenged Highland Park High School students to create and expand on what’s possible with technology.

“My worldview is that technology is supported by engineering, is supported by science, is supported by math… but I put technology at the root of things,” Carmack said. “I think we’ve only scratched the surface of what we can do (with technology).”

Carmack co-founded game developer id Software in 1991 and served as chief technology officer of Facebook’s VR subsidiary Oculus. Luckey, a founder of Oculus, also founded Anduril Industries, a defense technology company.

The two served as the guest speakers Feb. 1 for an inaugural keynote event held in advance of the school’s annual Science and Technology Festival. The festival, held during science classes Feb. 7, featured more than 50 speakers from careers including science, engineering, medicine, research, and technology.

Speaking at the Frontiers of Flight Museum, Carmack advised students to “See science all around you in the world.

“Think scientifically, he said. “Learn things deeply. Don’t just study to pass a test, learn things so you could teach a class or write an article about things… and finally, build things; contribute to our shared technological heritage.”

Luckey encouraged students to find people who can provide constructive criticism, not to base their self-worth on their grades, and discover what they’re passionate about outside the classroom.

“What you really need to do is find people who can take you down a few pegs. That might be friends, that might be mentors, it might be teachers, it might be random Internet commenters, but you need to find the people who are always going to be smarter than you, and that are willing to tell you that you’re dumb and that you’re wrong,” he said. “You have to find people who are a more critical audience than your lovely, lovely families. You should never assume that good grades and execution of your assigned work is going to ensure a positive outcome either in terms of your personal fulfillment or your financial fulfillment.”

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at [email protected]

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