Ashley Woodyard, a karate student at the Young Champions of America Knightdale Parks and Recreation location, was recently named the youth programming organization’s first student of the month.
The award goes to students who not only excel in martial arts, but also have made major achievements in their school work, their community and their family life.
Woodyard was chosen for the honor by Young Champions CEO Rock Hood.
“This is quite an accomplishment considering that (Young Champions of America) has over 2,500 martial art students in this region alone,” Ann Keklak, Knightdale location master instructor and the Young Champions karate director for North Carolina, said in a statement.
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Woodyard has trained in martial arts for more than eight years at the Knightdale location under Keklak. She earned her black belt in November, 2014, and says that she loves going to her karate classes especially for the joy of working with the younger and lower-belt students to help them achieve their fullest potential.
“These students all look up to Ashley and she is a wonderful role model for them,” Keklak said.
Woodyard helps her younger brother with his techniques and was instrumental in helping him prepare for his black belt testing. She also goes above and beyond with her chores at home and also takes on many extra projects at church without being asked, according to her parents.
Letters of recommendation and praise for Woodyard have come from East Wake Middle School staff including Assistant Principal Dr. Brady Kocher, school counselor Ruth Chapman, language arts teacher Valerie LaVersa and science teacher Jennifer Fekete; Maxine Geil of Westhigh Evangelical Covenant Church; and Chris Roland of Knightdale Parks and Recreation.
Woodyard is a member of the school’s student council and of the National Junior Honor Society. She has made the A/B Honor Roll and Principal’s List every year in middle school and served as assistant athletic director during her seventh-grade year.