Springboard E²

Vin Ko –  An Education Experience Story


Vin Ko

Vin Ko, Program Manager, St. Louis Mosaic Project

Vin Ko is going places!

Fortunately one of those places is St. Louis, where Mr. Ko – Program Manager at St. Louis Mosaic Project – makes his home. His experiences, both as a child of immigrants and alumnus of two very different school systems, shaped his devotion to the Gateway City. And not surprisingly, Springboard programs cast a memorable early impression.

Vin Ko followed an unusual education path. Although residents of St. Louis County, his parents chose the voluntary transfer program, sending Vin to Washington Montessori and Kenard Classical Junior Academy, both in the St. Louis Public School District. The Hong Kong immigrants valued education and worked diligently, providing a strong foundation for their children.
While at Kenard, Vin participated in Springboard programs. The first, a Spanish language program, opened his mind to a broader world. “It’s the reason I continued Spanish classes in middle and high school and at college,” shared Mr. Ko during a recent interview. Next, a Springboard program introduced Russian literature, music, art and traditions, fascinating the young student and furthering his underlying interest in world cultures. “We were always excited when Springboard teachers came to our class,” remembered Vin.

Following his SLPS days, Vin finished high school in his home district at Ladue Horton Watkins High School. Experiencing education in both districts illuminated a great disparity between them. “Even the very smart kids in SLPS – and there were a lot of kids smarter than me – had nowhere near the resources of an average Ladue kid,” observed Mr. Ko. The realization galvanized his devotion to, and future in, community development and community service.

After graduating from the University of California – Santa Barbara, Vin Ko returned to St. Louis and now works to advance economic opportunities for the immigrant community. He recognizes Springboard programs as a memorable influence in his formative years. Says Mr. Ko, “Springboard programs are important because they can shape a child’s future, whether they know it or not.”

Yes, Vin Ko is going places – thankfully, right here in good ol’ St. Lou!


To learn more about the St. Louis Mosaic Project, visit stlmosaicproject.org or follow tweets @STLMosaic.
To learn more about Springboard or to bring Springboard programs to your school, visit springboardstl.org, facebook.com/springboardstl, @springboardstl on Twitter or call 314-768-9670.