Sunday, December 13, 2009

Yellow Belt Ceremony

Friday night was the Kickstart Yellow Belt Ceremony. Mason has really enjoyed this class and is totally engaged in the martial arts.

To advance from white belt to yellow belt, the students had to pass a skills test which included moves they have learned this past semester and push ups. Mason passed his test with a 98, of which he was extremely proud.

At the beginning of the ceremony, the instructor, Ms. Benitez thanked two parents for their help with Demo Team. One of them was me! I was taken by surprise! How nice to be publicly recognized!

After the opening remarks, all the students showed off their newly learned skills.

Mason is on the far right of these photos.

Mason and Simon

Next the Demo Team did their moves.
Mason was in a fight scene with three other members.
Here is a poor quality video of the fight scene...
but you get the idea.

What you don't know is that just after Halloween, Ms. Benitez was in a horrible car accident in San Antonio while visiting a friend. Apparently is was very serious with touch and go moments in the beginning. The doctor told her husband that if she wasn't as fit as she was, she would have died from all the internal injuries. Scary stuff!

So when Ms. Benitez started to talk about what the students mean to her, how hard it was being away for three weeks, and how well the classes did with the sub, it was extra emotional for everyone. She cried, I cried, and everyone around us cried!

Next the students were called up one by one to receive a certificate and their new yellow belt. Kickstart instructors from the other middle schools were on hand to help pass out and congratulate the students.

Mason is congratulated and receives his certificate.

Once everyone received their yellow belts, they changed out their white belt with the new yellow.

Ms. Benitez surprised me, right?.... I got her back! I had taken a bunch of my best photos and turned them into an 8x10 collage which I matted, had the Demo Team members sign, and then framed. I had also picked up a beautiful bouquet of flowers for the Demo kids to give her. I arranged with her husband and another instructor to help pull off the surprise. So at the end of the ceremony, another instructor called the Demo Team forward. Mason had snuck back to get the gifts out of hiding. Amanda, a Demo Team member, took the mic and talked about how Ms. Benitez gets the credit for their success and how they all thank her for teaching them. It was very moving which lead to more tears as Ms. Benitez opened the gift and took the flowers. Everyone in the stands was balling along with her!

This is that moment.

The ceremony came to a close. It was picture time!

Mason and Ms. Benitez

Simon, Ms. Benitez, &
Mason and Simon show off!

Their friend Jacob joined in.

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