Translated by Kelly Choi
650 American elementary students, clad in Tae Kwon Do uniforms bearing the Korean flag on the right breast, salute both Korean and American national flag accompanies with anthem.
Last Tuesday, a graduation was held at the MA Chicopee Bowie Memorial School’s field 2 hours from Boston, for Tae Kwon Do, which has been included in the curriculum as a regular school subject. This year marks the second time that the graduation has occurred.
Roughly 200 parents, 3 schools’ principals, the Chicopee mayor, and students from Bowie, Selser, and Streiber school participated in the joint graduation of the day.
Michael Bissonnette, mayor of Chicopee, said “Tae Kwon Do teaches with respect and discipline. I hope students can bring these lessons to home to do homework and chores. I also hope the Tae Kwon Do education program continues for a long time in Chicopee.”
The graduation was completed with students’ Tae Kwon Do and smashing demonstration. Under 90 degrees of burning sun, the students were applauded by parents for their restrained performance and smashing.
US Tae Kwon Do director Kyungwon Kim, in charge of Tae Kwon Do education in the Chicopee public school district, said the joint demonstration occurs only once a year.
The participants are 450 students from Bowie School’s kindergarten through 5th grade, 100 students from Selser School 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grade, and 100 students from Streiber kindergarten through 4th grade, and all of them were promoted.
Kelly Malke, a mom and member of Phenom Mom’s Tae Kwon Do Club, a mothers’ Tae Kwon Do demonstration team, said “I encourage my kids to do Tae Kwon Do, and they encourage me to do Tae Kwon Do. They are so proud of it.”
Phenom Mom’s Tae Kwon Do Club’s 11 members practice twice a week, but Mrs. Malke practices 5 times a week. She said she lost 6 sizes and her asthma got cured. It looked like Korea and Tae Kwon Do is now part and parcel of American school and American life.
The top 100 students from Chicopee are scheduled to demonstrate Tae Kwon Do at Times Square on June 11th.