The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

Game changing volunteers

MVHS students and athletes help support the local sports community through volunteering and coaching
Two students play soccer at the Junior Stars Academy. Photo courtesy of Charlie Jiang | Used with permission

After noticing kids in Cupertino being forced into learning how to code, junior Charlie Jiang founded a non-profit organization with his friends called Junior Stars Academy in hopes of providing a relaxing environment where he could share his love for sports with the youth, while also raising money to donate to people in need.

Since Cupertino is a relatively affluent area, Junior Stars Academy’s main goal right now is to raise money for charities that reside in lower income areas. The organization aims to raise money by charging $10 to $20 for a two-hour sports class that consists of teaching various sports such as basketball or soccer. Once Junior Stars Academy gathers enough money, it donates to a charity that needs the money.

“​​I chose to volunteer,” Jiang said. “If I wanted to run a business, then I could, but I don’t see a point in that. I feel like I make more of an impact by making sure that younger kids can enjoy something instead of just trying to make money.”

In addition to volunteering, many student-athletes also dedicate their time after school to coaching at the local sports center. After senior Sruthi Venkatesan’s brother graduated high school, his position at the sports center opened up and, as a result, the sports center contacted Venkatesan to fill his position. She has been working at the sports center teaching badminton for two years and goes in four times a week. She teaches her students the basics of badminton such as grips, shots and form so that her students can progress in the sport by eventually going on to try out for their high school teams.

“One of my favorite classes is the Friday night class as a lot of those kids are in high school,” Venkatesan said. “I started coaching them in seventh grade and watching them come to 9th and 10th grade and continue playing the sport. I love seeing the kids that I coach try out for the school team as they get older and watching them grow and progress.”

Similarly, junior Max Lin works every week for six to seven hours, and his work as an assistant coach includes watching and teaching kids to play badminton and tennis by giving them advice as well as helping run drills. He believes that his job has allowed him to gain leadership skills as well as form relationships with the students.

Lillian Wang

“Assistant coaching definitely helped my leadership skills,” Lin said. “Not only that, but it also helped build up my confidenceI am now able to comfortably teach and help many students improve on their game through drills and other exercises. My favorite part of being an assistant coach is interacting with the kids. They are really sweet and nice once you get to know them and I’m always excited to work with them.”

Venkatesan also believes that her job has helped her form connections with new people. In particular, she enjoys spending time with her coworkers as she has been working with them for years.

Jiang recalls how many new kids are able to form connections through sports. Specifically, he found that many of his students are able to open up and learn to be more social by breaking out of their comfort zones to interact with new people.

“One of my most memorable moments was when a kid came in and he was very shy,” Jiang said. “He didn’t want to do anything and he was hiding behind his mom. But eventually, we saw him slowly become a little bit more open to try new things and now he plays with the rest of the kids.”

About the Contributors
Manas Kottakota
Manas Kottakota, Sports Editor
Manas is currently a junior and sports editor for El Estoque. In his free time, he enjoys biking with his friends, traveling to new places with his family and cooking.
Trisha Sannappanavar
Trisha Sannappanavar, Staff Writer
Trisha is currently a junior and a staff writer for El Estoque. In her free time, she enjoys reading, listening to music, drawing and watching movies 
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