Every year right about this time we get to be super extra proud, happy and sad at the same time. Yup! It’s graduation time, and if you are a Master S.H. Yu Martial Arts student, it usually means you are graduating in the top of your class, being recognized by your community for leadership and good citizenship, and looking ahead to a bright future. This year is no exception. Even though these three amazing students are missing the usual prom, commencement, and other standard festivities, they all agree that their martial arts training has given them an edge in knowing how to maneuver through challenges.
Heartfelt Congratulations, NinjaLove, Good Energy and Continued Success to:
Lucas Vergara, 4th Dan BlackBelt, Junior Master Instructor
Lucas began his martial arts study shortly before his 6th Birthday (he’s now 18!). Like many of our students, Lucas has spent most of his young life at the dojhang, immersed in the structure, expectations, and challenges with good energy and a determined spirit (not to mention an incredibly supportive and faithful Mom!) We were so proud to watch Lucas achieve his 4th Dan Black Belt in December 2019, and make his goal of “4th Dan before Graduation!”
Of course, we are OVERJOYED that he will be continuing his studies close to home at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In addition to Martial Arts, Lucas enjoys Musical Theatre, singing, leading the congregation at his church, Ascension Parish of Oak Park, as a Cantor, participating in Youth Ministry, and doing lots of DIY projects around the house with and for his amazing and energetic Mom! Lucas is a real renaissance man. He says the most important thing he learned at Master S.H. Yu Martial Arts is Discipline.
“If it wasn’t for the Dojhang, I wouldn’t be as focused and prepared for my future as I am now. Senior GrandMaster Yu and Master Wilson are two guides in my life who will always be with me as I move forward beyond Oak Park, and I thank them for what they have taught me so far.”
Zeevie Drizin, 3rd Dan BlackBelt, High Rank Instructor
Being the middle/equalizer of the 3Z-Sister Team, (3 sisters studied together) Zeevie began studying at age 10. Incredibly dedicated, kind, patient, and purposeful, children and adults alike love working out with Zeevie as their guide Instructor! Another community leader, she is a respected religious education assistant teacher at her Synagogue, sought-after camp counselor at Young Judaea, and an incredibly confident presence in the dojhang and at OPRFHS. Oh, and by the way, she is an OPRFHS Scholarship Cup Winner as one of 30+ Valedictorians for the Class of 2020. Zeevie loves to sing, play the piano and guitar, and bring joy to her spirit through music and yoga practice.
She is heading to Indiana University/Bloomington in the fall, and, also really appreciates the Discipline gained through her study at the Dojhang as her greatest takeaway. Zeevie says, “Discipline has helped me stay organized and always get everything done on time.”
Kirsten Kuehl, 2nd Dan BlackBelt, Instructor
“One thing I will take with me is the friends I have made during my martial arts study (since age 10!) and also the lesson that hard work pays off! It may not be seen immediately, or be easy, but if you make enough small changes along the way, and as long as you have the drive, you can create something truly great for yourself.” Kirsten is very excited to begin to prepare for a successful career as a Mechanical Engineer at the University of Colorado/Boulder.
She and her family are huge outdoor lovers, and we know she will be happy there, but Oooooh will we miss her presence with us! Kirsten has been a kind and inspiring mentor to many during her time at the dojhang, not to mention her younger brother, who is also a Master Yu BlackBelt. In addition to her martial arts practice, Kirsten is an excellent swimmer, drill team enthusiast, violinist, and active in service to her church and youth ministry.
Another amazing group of seniors who will leave us all wishing them THE BEST and knowing that they will all continue to make a POSITIVE difference in the world. Congratulations! You are “The Best of the Best”, and we are all incredibly proud to know you, and better for having known you!