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Six TaeKwon Do students earn black belts

MIDDLEBURY/VERGENNES — TaeKwon Do K.I.C.K.S. of Middlebury and Vergennes has had a very busy start to 2014. In January, we promoted 6 students to black belt: Tyler King, 9, of Bristol; Sam Warren, 9, of Bridport; Wes Hirdler, 10, of Middlebury; Rielly Wright, 12, of Salisbury; Grace Widelitz, 13, of Middlebury; and Jacob Brookman, 13, of Leicester.
We have taught a toddler/preschool class at the Ilsley Library in Middlebury, a women’s self-defense class in Middlebury and self-defense classes at Otter Valley Union Middle School and Vergennes Middle School; and started after-school TaeKwon Do programs in Shoreham and Weybridge. We had a promotional testing for 70 students ranging in age from 4 years old to over 50 years old to receive their new ranks. We also took 37 students to the Vermont Governor’s Cup tournament in St. Albans at the beginning of March and we are currently getting ready for Dunlavey’s Spring Tournament at Johnson State College in April.
Our most special events so far has been our annual Break-A-Thon, which this year raised over $1,700 to split between the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Vergennes and the Middlebury Recreation Department.
“Boys & Girls Club of Greater Vergennes will use the donation to support an after-school homework help and recreation program for elementary aged kids offered in partnership with Vergennes Union Elementary School,” Mike Reider, director of the Boys & Girls Club, said. “This joint effort between the school and club gives kids in first through third grade the help they may need to get through their assignments before their parents come home from work while having fun with their friends. Caring adult staff members facilitate activities, provide homework help and offer informal guidance to children that need an ear to listen to them.
“Boys & Girls Club also operates a teen center in Vergennes, offering a safe, supervised environment and trained adult mentors to support adolescents in this vital time of growth and development in their lives. The club is open all year with a variety of programs and activities to interest young people. A benefit auction will be held on April 11 at the Middlebury Inn to provide much needed local support for these programs. Tickets are available by calling the club at 877-6344.”
The Middlebury Recreation Department will be using the donation to add to their scholarship fund. “The scholarship fund is very important to our department as it is a way for us to make sure any kid who wants a recreation experience receives one, regardless of the family’s ability to pay,” Terri Arnold, rec department director, said. “By keeping a scholarship fund at a healthy level, we are able to help fund classes, programs and summer camps as the distribution of funds is also based on the free or reduced lunch program’s income guidelines.
“We believe there is never a reason to turn an individual or family away, simply because they don’t have enough money. We are there to help and make sure every kid has an opportunity to get a scholarship, if needed. Usually scholarships are sought for gymnastics, dance, Camp Kookamunga, recreation basketball, recreation soccer, Intro to Sports, Sportacular, and other camps throughout the summer.”
TaeKwon Do K.I.C.K.S. is now getting ready to host its first ever vacation half-day camp during the April break at Vergennes Union Elementary School. For information about the camp, scheduling a free introductory class or other programs run by TaeKwon Do K.I.C.K.S. call 802-377-0476 or email [email protected] and check out our website at www.tkdkicks.net.
Editor’s note: This piece was contributed by Master Kellie Thomas, owner of TaeKwon Do K.I.C.K.S.

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