New program offers fencing to students in Pasadena


"The object is to get the saber to touch any part of the vest, the arms the torso," said 13-year-old student Kevin Giron.

Students at Pasadena ISD's Queens Intermediate School say they never thought they'd be playing with swords and sabers.

"Swords, I saw these in movies so I tried to do this and then heard about it in an announcement," said sixth-grader Jesus Rangel.

The announcement was a unique opportunity to participate in an after-school program involving fencing.

"It's important to equalize opportunities for our kids and bring projects, like fencing, to our kids so that they can get skill development and the practice techniques," said C.A.S.E. Director Dr. Lisa Thompson-Caruthers.

This fancy sword fighting sport is just one of many after-school activities that more than 5,000 students in about nine school districts, including HISD, will be able to participate in.

"It's been great, the coaches have been great. They taught us how to do everything properly," said Giron.

And it's all because of a nearly $400,000 grant from the Houston Endowment through the co-operative for after-school enrichment or care, which seeks out campuses in low-income areas.

"Through the grant we are able to supply the coaches, all the equipment you see here today is supplied through the grant," said Louise Lepie who helped secure the grant.

"It's a very unsafe time for our kids so we need places for them to be and activities that expand on school day learning," said Dr. Thompson-Caruthers.

And for these students every thrust of the foil could mean an even brighter future.

"I'm going to continue fencing and if something comes up you know, what happens but for now, I'm going to keep on fencing," Giron said.

This after-school initiative is through a partnership with non-profits in the community which also provide activities like fine arts, physical fitness, gardening and culinary arts.

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