South Texas Preparatory Academy (STPA) 8th-grader Hanxing Kuang had never really given much thought to hunger. He had never known a time when he or any of his friends ever went hungry.
After doing some research for a school project, however, he was spurred into action.
Patricia Power, English I instructor at STPA, heard about the No Kids Hungry student essay contest and saw the potential for a powerful class project. She coordinated for her English I students to participate in the contest as a class assignment, assisting them with the research and writing processes.
Kuang recently won a $75 scholarship, as well as a matching donation, in the contest, as he was selected for recognition out of over 1,600 students from across the country for his compelling letter on the topic of child hunger.
“I did some research, and it took about five days to put together,” Kuang said. “At first I had never given hunger much consideration, but after doing this research I found some astounding numbers like 1-in-4 children go hungry in America.”
He was even more shocked to learn that 4-in-10 kids in Hidalgo County go hungry.
“That’s a big deal,” he said. “We should be doing something about this. We need to get everybody involved and we need everybody to know.”
The No Kid Hungry essay contest, which runs annually, received over 1,600 responses this year from students across the country hoping to address the issue of childhood hunger in the United States. Essays were deliberated over by a panel of judges, including a special celebrity judge, before three finalists were selected.
Along with submission to the contest, Kuang's letter was also submitted to Texas Governor Rick Perry's office on behalf of his English I class. Governor Perry was quick to praise the students for their thoughtfulness and willingness to fight this issue.
“The whole class sent the letter and the Governor wrote a response back,” Kuang said. “He said it’s great that kids are sending letters to government leaders because as kids it’s important that we get involved and that together we’re working on the hunger problem.”
Kuang and his classmates have since helped with a local canned food drive as well as spreading awareness.
The current 8th-grader is looking forward to attending The Science Academy of South Texas (Sci Tech) next year when he starts high school. Although he is not quite ready to think about college plans yet, he knows that he wants to learn more about the sciences and engineering.
Maybe, one day, he can use education to continue combating hunger.
“You can use all kinds of science to fight hunger,” he said with a laugh.
to read his letter.