EPISD seniors Giancarlo Valenzuela and Cesar Meza are joining forces this summer to teach a virtual class in taekwondo to children of first responders.
Silva Health Magnet senior Valenzuela and Chapin senior Meza have been practicing taekwondo for more than 12 years and have been black belts for six-plus years. Last year, the pair completed more than 40 hours of instruction at Champion’s Taekwondo Center.
“May this program serve not only as a refuge for those in need of respite but a model for what ordinary citizens – regardless of age or ability – can do for their communities in quarantine,” Valenzuela said.
The free classes, limited to first-responders’ children age six and older, begin on June 16.
Valenzuela and Meza will be live from their studio offering the classes via Zoom. Both are eager to give back to their community despite the pandemic and found this to be the perfect opportunity to use their talent and passion for martial arts.
“I believe that the most frustrating aspect of this global situation is its ability to sap the opportunities of everyday folks, like us, to help,” Valenzuela said. “Providing some succor for the families of those who put their lives on the line, day-in and day-out, is more than just community service, it is a civil responsibility.”
They hope the classes give students an outlet during the pandemic that benefits them both physically and emotionally.
“Taekwondo taught me of humility, fortuity, and tenacity,” Meza said. “The least I can do to honor my experiences through the years is to try and teach that discipline to others.”
He explains that often martial arts are misconstrued as just other sport.
“They are houses of discipline as much as they are centers of physical exertion,” Meza said. “The fundamental tenants of indomitable spirit, integrity, courtesy, perseverance, and self-control are in dire societal necessity – perhaps now more than ever.”
To sign up for the class (limited to children of first responders) click here.
Story by Reneé de Santos – EPISD