Kickin’ it: Senior STARS starts self-defense



Following the presentation of their Capstone projects at the South Lamar Alamo Drafthouse on April 10th, the senior class looked forward to a spring semester “slide” with a minimum amount of work and a maximum of relaxation. However, the 12th grade STARS curriculum has different plans. Over the next few weeks, the class will be focusing on a variety of events coming up in the senior schedule – most notably the Reach for the Stars fundraising gala – as well as taking time to provide lessons in basic self defense.


“We’ve been in this tight-knit community for a really long time and nothing really happens here,” Ash Pellette (12) shared. “I feel like when we go out into the ‘real world’ men are violent, women are violent, people in general are just violent, so it’s important just to realize that the entire world isn’t like Ann Richards.”


As a school that focuses on success in higher education and beyond, the Ann Richards experience would not be complete in its mission to prepare students for college without providing guidance on how to combat violence and prevent campus assault.


“It’s so important, especially [since] next year we’re going off to college and, you know, people are probably going to be out late at night, and you need to know more than, ‘oh, maybe I should cross to the other side of the street,’” Kelsey Atkins (12) said. “If someone actually comes up to you, you need to know how to defend yourself. It’s very unfortunate that this is something that I need to learn, but at the same time I feel like it’s super necessary.”


One of the few seniors with previous experience in a self-defense course, Atkins participated in a self-defense Intersession during her junior year.


“Last year I did the Krav Maga Intersession with Ms. [Joanna] Lucero,” Atkins added. “I wanted to do something active and get off campus, and thought, ‘hey, I’ve done self-defense classes before, I have a friend who’s a black belt in taekwondo, I want to learn some stuff and maybe beat her.’”


Atkins expressed her gratitude for getting to engage in the Krav Maga Intersession, as well as the importance she feels self-defense training can have for her classmates, especially at a time where costs for prom tickets, AP tests, college deposits, and a slew of other expenses are at a high.


“I think it’s a good thing because a lot of people wouldn’t be able to do it otherwise,” Atkins said. “Those classes cost money, so this is a way that everyone can have access to this resource and we can all learn it and we can all do it together, so I feel like it’s also going to be kind of fun, since a lot of us haven’t really taken gym [this year], and now we get to be active.”


Other students shared a similar sentiment, citing the importance of young women in particular to play an active role in their own safety on campus. In all, though the situation that calls on the students to take action is unfortunate, ARS seniors are enthusiastic about being able to take advantage of the lessons and advice the self-defense instruction will provide.


“I’m kind of excited because it’s something new to learn,’ Stephanie Labrador said. “I’m looking forward to that.”