Kickstart Kids Students Win Big at State Championship Tournament
Kickstart Kids welcomed students back to the tournament floor this school year and sparked the spirit of competition that fuels our program. Beginning with our Fall and Spring Qualifiers held across Texas, students competed for a chance to qualify at their respective Regional Championships in hopes of earning a spot to compete at the State Championship tournament held in Irving, TX at Ranchview High School on Saturday, April 30. KSK students have the opportunity to participate in tournaments, which are utilized as a teaching tool to instill team unity, test skills, build confidence, and practice sportsmanship.
With pandemic protocols in place, a capacity crowd of parents and supporters from across the state enthusiastically cheered as 710 students showed up and showed out at the highest competition within the Kickstart Kids martial arts community. When the day was complete, students from all regions and 48 different programs were represented in top three honors in their respective belt divisions across the competition categories of Kata, Weapons, and Sparring. The top three schools with students receiving the most awards were Stafford Middle School under the direction of Rommel Gargoles, Dulles Middle School led by Tracy Armstead, and Park Crest Middle School through the leadership of Jon Gartmann. Dulles Middle School was awarded the top honor amongst all Demonstration Teams, and five students achieved the highest award of Grand Champion:
Grand Champion Beginner
Ray Tan - Stafford Middle School/Instructor Rommel Gargoles (Stafford Municipal School District)
Grand Champion Intermediate
Rose Browne - Park Crest Middle School/Instructor Jon Gartmann (Pflugerville Independent School District)
Grand Champion Advanced
Grace Mendez - Navasota Junior High School/Instructor Ben Mendez (Navasota Independent School District)
Grand Champion Junior Black Belt
Jasmine Le - Dulles Middle School/Instructor Tracy Armstead (Fort Bend Independent School District)
Grand Champion Adult Black Belt
Trisha Nguyen - Stafford Middle School/Instructor Rommel Gargoles (Stafford Municipal School District)
The KSK program offers an inclusive environment for all students at a partner school, regardless of any demographic factor, financial hardship, or disability, to participate in all aspects of the program, including Demonstration Teams and tournaments. Eighteen special education students competed at this year’s State Championship and took home a combined 29 medals.
Kickstart Kids is a Texas Education Agency recognized, an in-school character development program that offers high-quality martial arts instruction to adolescents navigating the difficult middle and high school years. At a time when students are developing their identity and faced with significant life choices, the KSK curriculum promotes a sense of community, achievement, healthy lifestyles, and the foundation of character – discipline, responsibility, kindness, respect, courage, dedication, honesty, and loyalty. Kickstart Kids positively impacts students, schools, families, and communities as the program cultivates and encourages positive behaviors and safer environments. This year, more than 8,300 students are enrolled in 60 schools across Texas. Since its inception in 1992, more than 110,000 students have benefitted from this one-of-a-kind, life-changing program.