Central senior teaches English to students abroad


Joey Rubas, Staff Writer

When Naperville Central senior Harvey Wang moved to the United States in fifth grade, he faced the challenge of not only attending a new school, but also speaking a new language. Wang grew up all the way on the other side of the world in China. 

“First through fourth grade, I went to a public elementary school in Beijing,” Wang said. “We started learning English in first grade. The teacher there wasn’t exactly the best. She had a heavy accent. And some of the grammar she taught was incorrect. Just before we moved to the U.S., I started taking English lessons one on one with foreigners. From that experience, I learned a lot more than I could in the classroom.” 

In July, 2019, Wang decided to use his experiences to pay it forward by joining the Education for All Foundation, or EFA. The non-profit  teaches English to impoverished children in rural China. It was founded in 2018 after the organization’s founders realized the severity of education inadequacy after a mission trip. Wang now serves as the education department executive. 

“My job at the start included teaching lessons, designing lessons and working with local teachers,” Wang said. “I was also heavily involved in the team building process. I first created a separate region with our co-founders on elementary school ESL, English as a second language, based on a local Chinese textbook and our own experiences learning English. 

As Wang gained more experience, he has focused his efforts on making learning more effective and fun.

“We try to do a lot of activities, games and lessons. And we have created PowerPoint slides, interactive videos for grades one through seven based off textbooks, and these can all be found online and shared with our local schools.”

The organization has now taught over 1,400 students all across rural China. Naperville Central senior Anna Chi, who worked on the EFA’s promotional team, said Wang has been a huge part of this success.

“His organization has been very impactful in getting students to be more on par with their urban counterparts,” Chi said. “They don’t really have access to English education at all in the rural areas of China. This education is really beneficial for them and you can really see it in their growth and progression. Some classes that are  learning the ABCs but then there’s other classes that are having full sentences and learning new words.  I think there’s a really big impact on these students.”

All together, Wang is grateful for the experiences he’s had through the EFA.

“I feel very blessed to be able to meet so many amazing volunteers around the world through this organization, my organization,” Wang said. “And just talking with these volunteers, I’ve really opened my eyes to how, although we all come from different places across the world, we’re all passionate about helping others. Even during a tough time by the pandemic, they’re still looking for that opportunity to use their gifts for someone else.”