We are so incredibly proud of Andrew and his brand new status as a first degree black belt in TaeKwonDo.  One of the traditions that goes along with earning a black belt is that someone has to give a speech on your behalf.  Rather than writing a lengthy post, I am copying my speech to Andrew into the blog.  I was honored to speak for him and wish I could shout his good news from the roof tops!  You can see for yourself why we are so impressed with our eldest son.

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You wouldn’t know it by looking at him now, but Andrew was a preemie.  Born at 36 weeks, he was a skinny, scrawny little thing and we couldn’t find clothes small enough to fit him.  Then, around the age of 2 or so, he decided to start catching up with everyone else.  He grew so fast that his body sort of outgrew his motor skills.  All of a sudden, he had these long arms and legs and no idea how to control them. 

When Andrew started preschool, his teacher had lots of concerns about him.  We visited the pediatrician and came away with both a diagnosis of ADHD and a referral for an occupational therapist to address his developmental issues.  That summer, I just happened to attend a Clarksville Rotary meeting with Tony and had a few minutes to chat with Mr. Haynes.  He mentioned that TaeKwonDo was especially good for children with ADHD.  By sheer coincidence, we won a gift certificate in July for a semester’s worth of classes here, and thus began our journey. 

Andrew was a few months shy of turning five when we started in the Tiger Cub program with Mrs. Nuckols.  He could not jump with two feet off the floor, he couldn’t balance on one foot, and he couldn’t focus to save his life.  What a difference four and a half years have made!  We turned a mess of a kid over to Mr. Haynes and his staff, and they have molded him into a strong, compassionate, focused young man.  It hasn’t been easy – there have been many times Andrew wanted to quit.  There have been many times I’ve wanted to let him.  He’s had private lessons, secondary testings, and more than a few yellow stripes on his belt.  But I’ve told him over and over again that no one ever proudly declares, “I was almost a black belt”. 

Andrew, I’m not sure you fully understand what all you have overcome to stand here today, but I know you understand how hard you have worked to get to this point.  Andrew wants me to share his appreciation of those who have helped him get here.  On behalf of Andrew, Tony, and myself, we would like to thank Mr. Haynes, Mr. and Mrs. Nuckols, Mrs. Corbin, Mrs. Martin, Mr. Sluder, Mr. Smith, and all the other instructors who have worked tirelessly with Andrew when others would have thrown in the towel.  Beyond being wonderful teachers, you and your families have become a part of our family and we cannot thank you enough for all you do.

Andrew, we love you so much and are so proud of all you have achieved.  We cannot wait to see how you are going to continue to grow and face your new challenge and rank as a black belt.

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Here is the gang of kiddos from St. Anthony.  So proud of them!

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Aidan has actually mentioned some interest in returning to TaeKwonDo.  Tonight he learned that from here on out he would have to refer to Andrew as “Mr. Singleton” while at TKD with his black belt.  I think Aidan may have changed his mind.

Who remembers this cute little guy from about 4 1/2 years ago?  So proud of him!

baby tkd

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