Inpired by family, Wayzata High School student Vincent Cao finds ways to give back.
Our annual Senior Spotlight feature highlights the high school careers of some of the Lake Minnetonka area’s brightest young people. We talked to creative members of class of 2020 about high school (and beyond) and what art means to them. Read the other spotlights here: Anna Wander, Jai Chadha, Grace Hanson
Vincent Cao began volunteering with his mom when he was a young child, and says volunteering is his passion. He’s board leader for Club Y.E.S (youth extending service) at Wayzata High School. The organization helps high school students find ways to become involved with a wide range of community organizations. He also volunteers with his mom at Second Harvest Heartland, a food bank in Minneapolis.
Vincent says that he tries to be focused and purposeful in choosing where to spend his time. “As a volunteer, I believe in the philosophy of quality over quantity,” he says. “The value of making a meaningful impact in a couple events is greater than volunteering at many events with little ambition. When volunteering, I always strive to develop long-lasting and impactful connections with the people involved.”
His parents came to the U.S. as refugees during the Vietnam War, and that family experience shaped his outlook. The stories his mother told him about her life before he was born help him not to take the good things in his life for granted.
Academically, Vincent is most interested in science classes, especially biology. “I have always been fascinated by how complex the world really is,” he says. He hopes to attend the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities like his older sister Angela. She is his academic role model, he says, and she encourages him to be an active volunteer.
Even though his academic focus is on science, Vincent also enjoys music and says his favorite form of art is literature. His favorite book is Wonder by R.J. Palacio. “When I hear the word art,” he says, “I think about the potential for creativity and people expressing themselves. Art has always been a part of my life, specifically the music I listen to and books I’ve read.”