Nicolas Gonzalez, a fourth-grade dual language teacher, instructs students in taekwondo in an after-school club at Cardinal Valley Elementary. With over 40 years of experience in this Korean martial arts form, he guides nearly four dozen students from grades 2-5 every week in rigorous exercises and practice moves.
The youngsters enjoy the Friday afternoon activities in the gym. “My favorite part about this class is the training and learning new things,” said fifth grader Bianca Borjas, who has been a part of the club for two years.
Gonzalez started the group in 2019 after noticing a number of students displayed athletic skills but had limited economic resources. Club members only pay for their uniforms; the taekwondo lessons are free. When students finish the series, they receive a yellow belt for their efforts.
“I wanted to develop and encourage students to have discipline and respect for the art of taekwondo and an interest in doing an exercise that would help highlight the school’s three expectations: to be responsible, to be respectful, and to act safely,” Gonzalez said.
Posted Feb. 16, 2023