WESTFIELD – Franklin Avenue Elementary School third graders demonstrated their new Taekwondo skills in front of their parents Feb. 10 after two months of classes with Master Juhng Soo Park of Champion Taekwondo in Westfield.
Principal Christine Tolpa said that Park, whose daughter Grace is in kindergarten at Franklin Avenue, approached her in November about introducing her students to the martial arts. Nina King, physical education teacher at the school, thought it would be a great physical activity for the students during their morning enrichment periods, and a great way to expose them to something new.
Second graders first took a month of Taekwondo classes, then third graders began their classes at the beginning of January, culminating with the demonstration this week. She said two of the third graders broke boards at the demonstration. “One of the kids was on Cloud 9,” Tolpa said.
Tolpa said the classes stress honor, respect, and integrity. Park brought his father, Grand Master Yong Jun Park to the demonstration.
She said both father and son have won numerous awards, nationally and internationally. Grand Master Park also went through some exercises with his granddaughter Grace during the demonstration.
Tolpa said that Park donated his time, his skills and his effort for the classes. He also offered one-month free classes at his studio at 98 Franklin St., for third graders who want to continue with the lessons.
Fourth graders begin their lessons in March.
“We have such a generous community. It’s wonderful to be in collaboration with the outside community,” Tolpa said.