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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Black Belt Academy workshops raise money for scholarships

  • Saturday’s H.U. Lee Memorial Foundation fundraiser brought in $1,060 to go toward scholarships for outstanding American Taekwondo Association students.
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  • Saturday’s H.U. Lee Memorial Foundation fundraiser brought in $1,060 to go toward scholarships for outstanding American Taekwondo Association students.
    McPherson Black Belt Academy head Instructor Rex Willems said during the course of the day, 25 people attended, 11 of which took part in five or more of the available workshops.
    “Board breaking was the biggest one,” Willems said. “We had about 20 kids in that one. We also had between 10 and 12 come in for the tai chi courses.”
    Other workshops with high attendance included bo staff, bullying prevention and sparring.
    Named after Haeng Ung “H.U.” Lee, who founded the American Taekwondo Association in 1969 and passed away in 2005, The H.U. Lee  Memorial Foundation was established in 1992.
    The foundation strives to assist those students who have exemplified skills obtained through the A.T.A. by providing scholarships to assist with the costs of higher education.
    Since its inception in 1992, the foundation has given out $900,000 in scholarships to more than 800 A.T.A. students.
    Willems, who had the opportunity to meet and train with Lee, said he was a very humble man.
    “He was a very good leader,” Willems said. “He always tried to lead by example. Those who knew him said he would walk through airport terminals, pick up the trash people had carelessly dropped on the floor and throw it away.”
    McPherson Black Belt Academy instructor Jerry Rogers said while the events were fun, the scholarships were good to keep in mind.
    “The scholarships they provide really do help kids,” Rogers said, “and they do award the scholarships in the regions the money came from.”
    Shelly Prescott, whose 4-year-old son Graham was attending bullying prevention, said she thought the workshops were great for kids.
    “I think it’s a great way for the kids to be exposed to several different areas of self-defense,” Prescott said.
    Rebecca Love, whose 6-year-old daughter Cashele attended bullying prevention and bo staff workshops, said the experience was great for her daughter.
    “She’s come to every bullying prevention workshop so far,” Love said. “She learns something new every time she comes, and she’s always looking out for bullying.”
    Tristin Swain, a 16-year-old assistant training instructor, said the scholarship opportunities were exciting.
    “I think it’s a great chance for the high school kids to seek out that dream,” Swain said.
    Contact Jeremy Webster by email at jwebster@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow him on Twitter @WebsterSentinel.

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