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Contact(s):Barbara Osborne, City of Little Rock

Tiffany Hoffman, Little Rock School District

Monday, February 2, 2009


Joint Venture of Little Rock School District, City of Little Rock, and American Taekwondo Association

(Monday, February 2, 2009) – Boards were broken and dreams were built at an event marking the opening of the “Leadership 9” Taekwondo Program at the Little Rock School District’s Hamilton Learning Academy.

The number nine (9) has much significance in Taekwondo, so the “Leadership 9” program will focus on nine steps in leadership development and Taekwondo training.

The “Leadership 9” program consists of forty (40) students at Hamilton Learning Academy—twenty from the middle school and twenty from the high school. Each semester, a new group of students will participate in the program.

ATA will provide instructors, Taekwondo uniforms, and incentives for the participants. Once the youth transition back to their home schools, ATA will assign each student to an ATA center nearest where they live. In addition, information on these students will be shared with the City’s PIT programs for involvement in afterschool programming.
Plans are still being finalized, but ATA is currently considering awarding college scholarships to the youth upon high school graduation.

“Leadership 9” is the dream of Lucas Taekwon Lee, son of Eternal Grandmaster HU Lee, who founded the American Taekwondo Association. “My father was grateful for the opportunities he had in Little Rock,” said Mr. Lee. “He was always seeking ways to give back to the community as a way to express his appreciation. This program is a way for me and for ATA to give back to Little Rock.”

“The City of Little Rock is pleased to partner with ATA and the School District on this project,” said City Manager Bruce T. Moore. “This is yet another example of their commitment to Little Rock and its citizens.”

“ATA and the Little Rock School District share a common mission of dedication to youth. We appreciate their vision and look forward to working with them on the Leadership 9 program and other initiatives for years to come,” said Dr. Linda Watson, Little Rock School District Superintendent.

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