Chenglin Yuan spent her early childhood living with her grandparents in Anhui, a province in Southern China. She grew especially close to her grandfather, who spoiled her with fairy tale books and lavish toys. As a retired officer, he also taught her the importance of public service and fostered in her the desire to become a successful person who will give back to her community.
Chenglin has demonstrated her concern for others from an early age. As a kindergartner, she never hesitated to help her teachers clean up after naptime. Later, in elementary school, given that she was always taller than everyone else, she embraced her role as caretaker of her younger classmates. Even after eight-year-old Chenglin left China to embark on a new life with her parents in the United States, she would remain faithful to the principles that had long ago taken root.
In Malden, where Chenglin spent the next five years of her life, she joined the St. Paul’s Children Choir and established life-long friendships with her fellow choir members. Meanwhile, due to her fondness for reading, she volunteered as a Library Aid at Linden School and became Reading Buddies with a second grader. After completing sixth grade, her parents made the difficult decision to move to Boston so Chenglin could continue her education at the reputable Boston Latin School.
This past year at Boston Latin, Chenglin has participated in the Mayor’s Youth Council, a program geared towards public service. Becoming the Mayor’s Youth Council representative for Mission Hill/Fenway has enabled her to not only become more involved in her neighborhood, but also to meet and interact with government officials. It was her experience in the Mayor’s Youth Council that prompted her to apply for the Ward Fellowship and experience public service first-hand as an intern in the Governor’s Scheduling Office.
As a neighborhood representative, Chenglin wanted to encourage more youth to volunteer in Boston after she saw how effectively it promoted values such as dedication and teamwork. Not only does it contribute to the well being of the community, it also helps develop one’s character. During Sophomore summer, Chenglin helped facilitate weekly social club meetings at Cambridge Senior Center; she continued to help in the kitchen throughout Junior year. In school, she is the secretary of BLS S.E.A.L., a club dedicated to improving society and the natural environment through volunteering. She hopes to attract future members to the BLS S.E.A.L. next year and to donate money from their fundraisers to nonprofit organizations striving to achieve universal education around the globe.
Besides schoolwork and extracurricular activities, Chenglin enjoys pursuing her other interests, such as singing and piano. As a yearly participant in Southeastern District Music Festivals as well as a member of her school’s female a capella group, Chenglin devotes her Saturday mornings to rehearsals for Handel and Haydn Young Women’s Chorus. She welcomes the opportunity and challenge to sing a wide repertoire of music, ranging from opera to jazz. While singing has enabled her to explore various types of music, playing the piano has allowed Chenglin to convey her emotions to an audience. She hopes to continue to develop her two passions in the future.