Students prove ’tis the season to give back

December 27, 2011

By Lee Xie

Lee Xie Issaquah High School

The spirit of philanthropy is always alive during the holiday season, but various student-run nonprofit organizations in the Issaquah School District prove that giving back is practiced year round.

The Washington Association for Chinese Education ( is a student-run, nonprofit organization dedicated to generating interest in learning Chinese, helping students understand China and increasing the number of Chinese programs in Washington schools.

Founded in March by a group of Skyline High School students, WACE is now in seven schools and five school districts. Its “Why Learn Chinese Competition” concluded last month, and the results will be announced at the awards ceremony next month. Andrea Liu, founder and co-chair of WACE, recently announced that due to WACE’s hardworking efforts, Skyline will have Chinese as a course offering next year.

Another nonprofit is The Washington Student Math Association (I), an organization dedicated to supporting math education in Washington. Founded in 2009 by a group of students and now led by President Ashwin Rao (a Skyline senior), WSMA has written a comprehensive starter pack to help new math clubs get started, hosted elementary math expos in local libraries, hosted the first Math Bowl, a “Jeopardy!”-like competition between eight high schools and partnered with the Microsoft Store to host Mathmania.

Organizations have a constant need for volunteers, while students are always looking for volunteer opportunities.

That led to the creating of the Linking Opportunity ( organization. Linking Opportunity is a student-run nonprofit organization that connects high school students to organizations seeking volunteers for events. Organizations post volunteer opportunities on the website and students can register for the events of their choice.

Linking Opportunity already has more than 30 nonprofit partners, including the city of Bellevue, Bellevue Arts Museum, Seattle Children’s and YMCA.

“Experiences generated through volunteering help both the volunteers and the community to bring the people of the world together to solve problems,” said Iman Baghai, an Issaquah High School junior and head of marketing at Linking Opportunity.

These organizations are all working toward a better community — a worthy cause that will always be in season!

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