Woodcreek Middle School is now home to 140 gold belt karate students.
In fall of 2016 Woodcreek Middle School became the pilot campus for Kickstart Kids in Humble Independent School District. The program is offered to students as a physical education credit and elective. Recently the students received their gold belts at the Winter Belt Ceremony.
“Kickstart Kids was founded in Houston 25 years ago by Chuck Norris,” Mark Beel, Kickstart Kids instructor at Woodcreek Middle School, said. “The program is now in 56 middle schools in the state of Texas.”
Norris started the non-profit organization giving middle school students the opportunity to use martial arts as a tool for a more positive life.
The program at Woodcreek Middle was funded by ShowBiz Theater’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Mitchell. In support of the Kickstart Kids program, Mitchell decided to gift Woodcreek Middle School students with the opportunity to be a part of this program. The ParkLakes/Fall Creek area ShowBiz is located just a few miles from the middle school.
“Middle school is the best time to start learning karate,” Beel said. “Sixth-grade students are more impressionable and starting karate at this time in their lives can make a huge impact on them.”
When students complete eighth-grade and move on to high school, the program offers a Kickstart Kids after-school program. The continuation of the program allows students the opportunity to earn their Black Belt in Karate.
During class, Beel talks to his students about attitude and focus while working on new karate movements. Each month the students learn a core value of karate. They are given the definition, a creed, and participate in group discussions.
“Karate is about responsibility,” Beel said.
He reminded his class that they have to practice their movements and train at home so they do not forget what they have learned. The program also focuses on character development and self-esteem.
Each semester students are tested to decide their ranking and will earn two belts during the year. In the spring a group of handpicked students who have shown dedication to the craft of karate will participate in Demo Team. This group of students will receive extra training and practice to perform at special events to promote the program.
“I have seen the Kickstart Kids program positively impact many kids over the eleven years I have been with the program,” Beel said. “I love what I do because I not only get to watch my students develop a love for karate but I get to see them learn to be leaders and mature into confident individuals.”
At the end of the year the program will hold a big ceremony to showcase what the students have learned during the school year.
“My hope is the program will expand to more schools throughout the school district,” Beel said.