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Karate kids from St. Bernard win awards

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Frankie Padilla, a member of the St. Bernard Parish Karate Program, won a gold medal and national championship at the USA

Frankie and six other members of the St. Bernard program competed in the event,  which drew more than 2500 competitors ages 5 through adult.

Frankie competed in the 10 year-old novice kata division. Anthony Perez competed in the same division and  finished second with a silver medal. There were 33 competitors in the division.

Aiden McGovern also competed in the 10 year-old novice division and advanced to the semi-finals in both kata and sparring.

“Our students had the opportunity to compete against some of the best talent in the country,” said Darrell Goodyear, instructor for the St. Bernard Parish Karate Program.  “When you reach that level you are competing against the best of the best.”

The other members of the St. Bernard program who competed in the event were Gary Migliore, 9, Austin Montgomery, 11, Mollie Castillon, 13 and Catilyn Cook, 13.

Even though Goodyear has taken many of his students to national tournaments, this was a first time experience for the seven who went to Ft. Lauderdale. “This was a new experience for them,” Goodyear said. “But they adjusted and did a very good job.”

The trip to Ft. Lauderdale came  after several weeks of intensive training. “The kids worked hard during the summer getting ready for the national championship,” Goodyear said.  “Their experience in Ft. Lauderdale will prepare them for next year.”

The St. Bernard Parish Karate Program holds classes Mondays through Thursdays and on Saturdays at the Hannan Sports Complex in Meraux. The program is open to ages six through adult.

Goodyear said he stresses the importance of hard work and dedication.  Students are encouraged to set goals and then work to reach those goals.

“Karate is a goal setting activity,” Goodyear said.  “And when you compete you want to compete against the best.  And our students who went to Ft. Lauderdale had an opportunity to compete against the best. And what makes karate so exciting is  that it’s not about winning medals and championships.  It’s about being the best you can be.  And you train hard to do that.”

Goodyear said the students in the St. Bernard Parish Karate Program are challenged to strive for excellence. “And that’s not just in karate but in everything they do,” Goodyear said.

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