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VolunTEEN of the Month: Meiling Sproger

Education is an important social issue in every community; it takes a certain level of audacity to teach students that struggle with a particular subject. This trait is found in very few individuals, including high school junior Meiling Sproger. Meiling currently attends Boston School in California and values not only her own education, but the education of others. Meiling has a penchant for teaching and has established herself as one of the most active volunteers in her area with experience teaching a variety of subjects at Kent Mountain View Academy.

As an elementary school student, Meiling was involved in a variety of electives at Kent Mountain View (known as KMVA) and enjoyed her overall experience. In 8th grade, Her teachers and principal approached her to offer her a lucrative opportunity; they wanted her to serve as a volunteer teacher’s assistant in the same elective classes where she was once a participant.

In terms of subjects, Meiling teaches three classes including Science and two hand Arts for elementary kids, grades 3 through 6. The science classes include topics such as Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Rocket Science. Because these are hefty lab subjects, Meiling has the responsibility of preparing the lab equipment, helping to supervise the kids doing their labs, and also teaching kids how to write formal write-ups. “Through the course of the process, I also try to inspire the kids to go into a science field,” says Meiling. She explains how with the teacher’s supervision, she gets to create and give an entire science lesson and lab by herself. “Rocket Science is my favorite class to help with,” exclaims Meiling. “The students get to construct their own model rockets after having learned about space history.”

Meiling describes her proudest moment not as an ephemeral moment in a class, but the overall experience. “I love seeing the kids really get excited about science and see them apply themselves in the labs. I know the skills that they have been gaining throughout the year will really help him in the future,” says Meiling.

In terms of her gains from her volunteering initiative, Meiling says that nothing feels better than the feeling of competence and contribution. Being recognized by the kids and being a part of the kid’s lives is priceless. “Sometimes it’s just one person who makes a difference in the life of a child,” says Meiling profoundly.

With her own life inspirations, Meiling states Donna King, her youth and government adult leader, as a primary inspiration. “She goes out of the way to contribute to something outside of her regular life inspires me,” says Meiling candidly. She also attributes some of her success to Dr. Small, the teacher she assists. “I like how she teaches the kids to succeed not only in science, but in life. I admire her drive.”

Meiling has big plans for her future; in five years, she sees herself receiving a college degree in an area of science and subsequently applying to Law School. She holds the ambitious goal of helping her community through social justice and plans to marry her knowledge of science with her interest in law. For aspiring students with similar ambitions, Meiling recommends visiting lots of academic science institutions and doing well in school. She also stresses relationships, especially the student-teacher relationship. “Get to know your science teacher and ask him or her about science related activities or clubs at school!” Meiling hopes to eradicate the myth of science being a male dominated field, citing female engineers as some of the brightest people she’s met.

Outside of volunteering, Meiling is a part of youth and government, as well as Mock Trial. She has done simulations in legislature, bill passage, and has even been able to act as a committee chair for the mock youth legislature held in the state capital. She partly attributes her interest into law to her experience with this group. Meiling is also an avid dancer, especially in Irish and lyrical. She also has quirky interests, including making videos and playing laser tag.

Meiling is an inspiration to her community and the nation. She encourages all teens to find a problem in their community and cultivate their passion through volunteering!