Honoring AANHPI Heritage Month with Former Kid Reporter Teresa Fang

michelle pastor  //  May 30, 2023

Honoring AANHPI Heritage Month with Former Kid Reporter Teresa Fang


In honor of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we asked former Kid Reporter Teresa Fang about the impactful moments she experienced through Kids Press and what AANHPI Heritage Month means to her. You can visit Teresa’s bio on the Kids Press blog to read her stories on Speaking Out Against Anti-Asian Violence, the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, and more.

What was it like to be a Kid Reporter?

Being a Kid Reporter was the first step to opening my life up. I remember the day I got my first email from Suzanne McCabe (Editor, Scholastic Kids Press), saying this experience would change my life forever. And it definitely did.

I remember clearly that I used to be a nervous little girl, but after becoming a Kid Reporter, I made a goal for my articles to teach other people to be more independent, optimistic, and confident, and I think that goal reflected back on me, as well. By the end of my three years at Scholastic, I could do many things by myself, I was always looking on the bright side, and I had high confidence in everything I did. For example, I can now easily whip up a conversation with a stranger.

I’m extremely grateful to the people I’ve met and talked to over the years. Because I had a goal of publishing one article per month, I remember working with Suzanne every month for the next three years, including many phone calls, email chains, constant draft revisions, planning interviews, etc. It was a lot of work for a little middle schooler back then, but I was determined to make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I invested a lot of effort in my work, and Suzanne gave me many opportunities, including speaking on the Scholastic Reads podcast, meeting with elementary schoolers to talk about journalism, interviewing the Obamas, and more.

I interviewed a hundred people, some whom I still contact today. Kelly Yang, NYT-bestselling author – and my favorite author – sent me an autographed copy of her newest book for my 15th birthday. Nicholas Wu, POLITICO congressional reporter as well as fellow Scholastic Kids Press alum, always replies enthusiastically to my frequent emails. Dr. Robert Lefkowitz, the 2012 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, still gives me advice after I interviewed him again for another science project, the World Laureates Forum.

Today, my perspective as a young journalist taught me to appreciate every effort from big to small. I am the person I am today because of all the people who shared with me their time, effort, and advice. And I anticipate that I will keep working hard to be the best person I can be, with all the people I’ve met and will meet in the future supporting me.

You’re now a Kids Press alum. Have you continued reporting, either for your school newspaper or other outlets?

Kids Press just opened my eyes to my community so, of course, I couldn’t stop reporting! I still use the skills I gained, and I still talk to the people I’ve met through my three years as a Kid Reporter. Some of them I have connections with for nearly five years now! While there are many paths already open for my future, I still plan on taking more steps forward on this journalism path.

If reporting for Scholastic opened my eyes to social issues in my community, then C-SPAN StudentCam taught me to actively engage in it. StudentCam is a national documentary competition for middle and high schoolers and I have been doing it for four years now, winning top awards each time. Just last March, I won 1st place! I am super proud of this achievement.

Furthermore, I joined the school newspaper once I entered high school, so now I am a column writer. Last summer, I was an editorial intern at the local magazine. That was my first time being a journalist in the real world, and while it was certainly different from being a Kid Reporter, I adapted quickly, and I am glad to say I met many people there who inspired me greatly. Now, I’m a freelance writer for them. A couple of months ago my story about Max Chen, who is a current Scholastic Kid Reporter and attemds my former middle school, was published in the magazine as a feature. 

In the future, I hope to expand my story scope. One of my goals nowadays is to cover more nuanced, complex topics from a deeper lens. I recently accepted an offer to spend the rest of my high school years at the North Carolina School of Science and Math, which is currently the #1 ranked public high school in the U.S., where I’m planning to try my hand at conducting and writing for scientific journals. This summer, I’ll be attending the Asian American Journalists Association’s summer journalism camp. They select 30 high schoolers across the country every year, so I’m looking forward to meeting all the other teens and adult journalists!

During your time as a Kid Reporter, you spoke out against anti-Asian violence and wrote an important story about discrimination against Asian-Americans in the U.S. Can you share more about that experience?

I wrote the article after the Atlanta spa shooting in 2021. The pandemic was hot on our heels, and discrimination against Asian Americans was on the rise, with various hate crimes and other violent attacks. Being an Asian American myself, I was shocked that these things were happening to us across the country, even across the globe. I was shocked that people blamed the origins of COVID on Asian Americans, without even attempting to inform themselves of the facts or make properly informed decisions. Why would they attack innocent people just because of baseless opinions, or just because of the color of our skin? Taking the blame out on innocent people is a massive low.








With these sentiments, I was soon invited to speak at Stop Asian Hate movements. There were many AAPI, students, and people of all backgrounds there who came to the movement together. We have had enough. I interviewed Kelly Yang again for this article, and I agree with her that it’s important to let out our pain and anger, because those are our strongest voices and typically the most direct way as a majority to reach lawmakers. It was my first time speaking to a large public audience, but I had prepared beforehand, and I spoke from the heart. Seeing so many supportive faces there made me believe everything we do can make a change for our community, regardless of how small. By writing this article, I hoped it could reach people across the country to stand up and fight with their voices, as well, because our voices do matter, and I think this shows that.

You also reported on the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which made the reporting of hate crimes on the local and state level more accessible. What did you learn from interviewing Representatives Grace Meng, who introduced the bill, and David Price, who represented your district in North Carolina at the time?

From interviewing Rep. Grace Meng, I learned that we as Asian Americans CAN reach lawmakers with our voices. For those who have low political efficacy, the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act is proof that laws can be representative of you. As long as you never give up and keep making yourself heard, you will accomplish something.

Rep. Price said that Congress has a duty to protect people from hate crimes and racially-motivated violence. The federal government acknowledges and agrees that protecting these freedoms and rights is fundamentally important for all people in America. As long as a majority raises a concern, Congress should fully exercise their power to represent the wills of their constituents.

I know that just speaking out isn’t enough. Taking action is the most direct way to engage, which is what Ive been trying to do for a while now. For example, in February 2021, I sent a proposal to my school district. After weeks of planning, sending emails, and giving speeches, my school district became the first in the Carolinas to recognize Lunar New Year as a school holiday. Every school year, students and staff can now take the days off and celebrate the holiday with their friends and family. It has always been the Asian community’s dream to share our culture and happiness with everyone regardless of background or culture, so we are super proud of this achievement. They say I made history, and I am super proud!

What do you hope readers will take away from these stories?

Hopefully, readers can learn to stand up for what they think is right. Never be quiet. Always be loud with your voice, in a responsible and respectful manner, regardless of how small a contribution might be. Change cannot be made by raising a ruckus. Change can only be made with both parties in mutual and clear understanding.

What does Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month mean to you?

To me, AAPI Month is a time to recognize Asian American culture and contributions to society. People don’t usually think about it every day, but the idea of having a whole month reserved specifically for AAPI recognition means a lot in terms of inspiration and celebration. If the government recognizes our community, then we as Asian Americans have a lot more spirit and a lot more pride in sharing our culture.

Though, I do want to add that just because “our” month might only be a couple days long, Asian Americans do not stop doing great things. Every day, every year, we are still here and contributing to society. We are the fastest growing racial group in the country. So even though it is our tradition to stay humble, our achievements are astronomical. We've been fighting quietly for so long, and it's time for us to shine in the things we deserve. That’s why when I think of Michelle Yeoh, for example, I feel immensely proud. It took so long to get us these “firsts” compared to others. But that’s why we are so proud of our achievements because we know they are a result of our own hard work, without any strings attached or any fuss or drama.