A letter from a former student

Mr. Manuel Aguinaga

Mr. Vidal,

Words cannot express how grateful I am for your assistance through out my military service, despite everything I always felt you with me to push me that extra mile at all times I wanted to quit. I always heard your lectures in my head and applied them into the aspects of life I was unknown to. Never forgetting that we started off as classmates, then for you to be my teacher, to then seeing you as a brother. 

I have been accepted to the Charlotte Police Department and will be starting the academy June 27th 2016. I will begin to live and work in Charlotte April 25th. I am very happy and blessed with the opportunities that God has given me.

This would all have been impossible without you. I felt so much more comfortable in my darkest times in the military when I felt you there. I can't thank you enough for all your support and motivation. 

As I sit here in the Army doing the night shift...I can't help but notice how fast 4 years have passed. All the friendships I've lost, relationship of 8 years and missing my families most precious moments . But all in all, you stayed with me at every step. I came such a long way from Little Village and it makes me that much more grateful that I was blessed to have worked and met with an exceptional caring and challenging leader. I know that I would not trade this for the world. 

Once again thank you for everything, I have made it and I can't wait to make this world a slightly better place!

Very respectfully,

Manuel Aguinaga


Sophia Pedro

Hey there! My name is Sophia Pedro and I'm going to tell you about my taekwondo adventure.

Many people told me that Taekwondo was very rough and was only meant for males. At eight years old, my mother had informed herself on how Taekwondo could help me in many ways. At that age I suffered from bullying in many ways. This bullying was due to me being overweight by about 50 lbs. I decided that I was quite tired of getting pushed around by others. I realized that being overweight was causing most of the bullying

When I first joined it wasn't a "rough" experience like many people had said so. After two weeks of attending taekwondo, my mother and I started to see the difference in the way I physically looked. I had lost about seven pounds in the course of those two weeks. 

After many months, my mother and I noticed a huge difference physically but also mentally. I had lost over 50 lbs and was now the average weight for an eight year old. My self-esteem went up went up and my grades had improved from C's to B's to A's! 

People still ask me "Why are you still here?" Why don't you try a new sport? Why don't you just quit?" Well my answer to those questions is I can't give up on something that I have not finished. I need to go beyond my expectations.I will continue to try my best and succeed in anything I do. If I give up now, I won't accomplish other things in life. I would just start quitting.

For any person who would like to give Taekwondo a try, just ry your best, have fun, and don't ever give up. Giving up won't help you in life. So just try your best and enjoy it. If you do give Taekwondo a try, I hope you get even further and do better than I ever will. Good Luck on you very own journey!

Your friend,

Sophia Pedro :)