It was hard to imagine spending 8 hours a day at Chinese School over the summer, but the first week caught me by surprise. Through the volunteer training sessions, I met many unfamiliar faces that I see return year after year. Walking in half asleep in the morning on the first day, I still remember the sea of neon yellow in the volunteer room. There is a great sense of camaraderie among the volunteers as we face the long and always eventful day together. A normal day consists of a volunteer meeting, warm-ups, classes, lunch, and games. The best part about volunteering was definitely the people. Volunteers learn to teach kids and work together. I still remember the water fights of the first year and the dart game of the previous one. I would highly recommend that people take advantage of this opportunity. Who doesn’t want to get volunteer hours, experience in leadership, and free food while partying with wonderful people. ––肖瑶 Linda Xiao
I founded a math team at my old middle school with two of my friends to bridge the divide between the elementary school’s math club and the high school’s math team. The elementary school math club started the year before we founded ours; the three-year gap during middle school would be detrimental to students’ newly budding interest in math. Our math team gives students opportunities in math that they wouldn’t have otherwise; most of the students had never heard of the competitions that they are now taking, like AMC 8 and Math Olympiad.
During meetings, the kids eagerly compete to answer questions when we play Jeopardy and cheer enthusiastically when they win. When we go over the answers and explanations, I am overjoyed when a quiet kid volunteers to explain the question to the class. Some of my favorite moments involve sitting down with students and slowly explaining concepts, and then watching understanding dawn in their eyes. They solve problems that they weren’t able to before, and we rejoice together for their achievements.
These opportunities have encouraged and helped maintain the students’ interest in math; every year, we get new members and more returnees. Graduating eighth graders continue on to the high school team, and members connect with other math students and teams at competitions.
With this math team, I hope to pass on the fascination I hold for math to others and give them opportunities to discover the joy and satisfaction of solving a tricky math problem.
—- 张若菲 Elaine Zhang
By far one of my favorite volunteer activities I participated in at Enlighten was lion dancing during the Chinese New Year Program. I was the head of the lion and thinking back, though I’ve already forgotten the soreness of my arms, the memory of excited underclassmen scrambling for the candy that we threw out and the sparkling smiles upon the faces of the audience is one that will forever remain. The story of my first time lion dancing would be one I would tell time and time again.
—-钱依琳 Elaine Chien