Santa Clara High School senior Ankith Maremanda believes that the human body is a miraculous thing, like a well-oiled machine that responds to the stimuli around it.
To share his sense of awe about the human body, in 2016 at just 15 years old, Maremanda founded Human Anatomy for Youth (HAY) — an organization to teach the basics of human anatomy to elementary-age children, mainly in underprivileged school districts.
Maremanda was honored with a Certificate of Commendation by San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo for bringing HAY to Bay Area students, including San Jose, and training other high school students to teach with HAY. San Jose Council Member Tam Nguyen and Vice Mayor Magdalena Carrasco presented the award at the Sept. 25 City Council meeting.
Just two days later, Maremanda received a Certificate of Appreciation for establishing HAY at Ravenswood Middle School, East Palo Alto.
Elementary Science Specialist Shannon Skoff at Milpitas’ Robert Randall Elementary School spoke of what a great experience HAY was for his students.
“Ankith did a wonderful job of creating lessons for elementary students,” said Skoff. “ He mapped out a full sequence of lessons that would cover all of the major body systems throughout the year, and the content was enjoyable for the students that participated.”
During the semester, HAY offers students 45- to 60-minute, free classes that meet at the schools after the school day ends. The curriculum Maremanda wrote, covering expenses with his own funds, covers six body systems: skeletal, muscular, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive and nervous.
“One thing that Ankith did to really engage students was to create a prize incentive for students that did well on the informal quizzes,” added Skoff.
Last July 14, Maremanda organized a performance of classical Indian music with drums, violin and song and raised $3,000 for Cesar Chavez Academy in Palo Alto and ACE Esperanza Middle School in San Jose. The funds were earmarked for after-school science programs and equipment.
“The idea for this … popped into my head when I was in the middle of my Mridangam (Indian drum) class,” said Maremanda. “I thought that combining two of my interests — volunteering and classical Indian music — into one program would be a fun and effective way of raising money for the schools.”
Maremanda’s interest in anatomy dates back to the fifth grade when he built a model of the digestive system out of beans. He plans to major in biology in college and become a gastroenterologist.
“I started HAY with the intention of just imparting my knowledge to students, but now it has become so much more,” said Maremanda. “I would like these kids to attend science fairs, conduct experiments and continue to build upon their interest in science.”
“Helping the community is helping him grow himself,” said Maremanda’s father, Rao Maremanda.
Visit www.humananatomyforyouth.org to learn more about Human Anatomy for Youth.