Miami Palmetto Senior High School senior Luke Yang has a passion for helping others learn.
He has earned more than a thousand community service hours even before his senior year started.
He started his own organization in ninth grade, going to Palmetto Middle School and instructing their math club and preparing kids for math competitions.
When he came back to school after the first year of the pandemic, he was able to continue to work with the middle school students. But he discovered a lot of other schools had shut down their after-school clubs.
“That didn’t sit well with me because when I was in middle school, that was what I looked forward to,” he says.
He gathered friends together to form Limitless Math, an educational organization that they expanded to Ammons Middle and Dr. Henry E. Perrine Academy of the Arts.
This year, the organization became Limitless and was expanded to include science topics, including Robotics, Environmental Clubs and Gardening Clubs. There are 12 volunteers, including himself.
“In the STEM Club we do exploratory activities with the kids,” he says. “Like architecture with marshmallows and toothpicks.”
They also approached additional schools to expand their reach.
Yang himself goes to Perrine to lead their Robotics and STEM Club.
“They get to build the robots, which are Legos to the next power, and we teach them to program them,” he says.
Last year Yang wrote a competition math textbook. He found that most of the books available were either too basic or too difficult. The book is available on Amazon, and he’s already sold around 40 copies.
Yang is Finance Director for the Pinecrest City Music Project, managing grant writing and fundraising. He’s gotten grants from the Miami-Dade Department of Cultural Affairs, the Children’s Trust and the State of Florida totaling more than $75,000.
“PCMP does some amazing work, and it wouldn’t be possible without this funding,” he says.
At Palmetto, he’s the president of the Science National Honor Society and participates on the school’s number one Science Bowl team. He competes at Envirothon.
This past July his Envirothon team placed third at the national competition.
“Every year there are over 40 teams, from across the U.S., Canada, and even China,” he says.
He won fourth place at the Florida State Science & Engineering Fair in the Biomedical & Health Sciences category.
He’s Vice President of Competitions for Mu Alpha Theta, and Vice President of the Chinese Honor Society.
“There are not that many Chinese people at school,” he says. “A lot of members aren’t Chinese. It makes it more fun. A lot of meetings are lessons on Chinese culture, and we’ll bring in some snacks.”
He’s also Vice President of the Student Organ Donation Advocates (SODA), a nationwide advocacy group. He’s on Student Council working on environmental outreach.
Yang did an internship working with an international nonprofit called Together We Remember.
“We would host programs on preventing atrocities,” he says.
The webinars had large audiences in the tens of thousands.
“I got to work on producing all of this with 25 people around the world,” he says. “I became our blog’s managing editor.”
He is still in touch with many of the other interns.
“It was so amazing,” he says. “The best year of my life.”
For college he’s considering applying to various top universities in the U.S. He wants to major in neuroscience.
Since ninth grade, Yang has volunteered in a lab at the University of Miami that works with the brain. He goes every week, sometimes twice a week, and every day in the summer.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld
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