Adult green-belt student J. Adease and her husband brought their baby to class on Saturday, April 14. She was ready for the occasion, wearing the black-belt uniform given to her by the Ramblers. No doubt she will be joining her mother in a couple of years and following in the footsteps of her father who has a black belt in tae kwon do and is working toward his black belt in judo.
Youth students T. Abdul-Majid, J. Alarcon, N. Alarcon, P. Conteh, L. Landrum, A. Leon, J. Outlaw, O. Tyndle, and A. White, and adult students B. Lucero, O. Lucero, and C. Oh received their white belts on Saturday, April 7. Congratulations to all of you!
Youth students C. Bruno, K. Bruno, J. Depeazar, J. Jones, M. Mason, J. Mhina, and I. Sanchez, and B. Yearwood, B. Yearwood, and B. Yearwood (three sisters) received their gold belts on Saturday, December 30. Happy New Year!
On Saturday, August 5, youth student S. White received his gold belt and an outstanding testing student trophy, and youth students M. Berry, S. Berry, V. Berry, C. Bruno, B. Huntley, S. Mansaray, C. Martin, and I. Sanchez received their white belts. Adult student A. Bruno received her white belt. Another special day for Rambler students!
On July 22, C. Buckson (top scorer), P. Buckson (top scorer), E. Giron, C. Guzman, M. Hanson, N. Lopez, S. Murillo (top scorer), J. Powell, and J. Turpin received both their new gold belts and a trophy each to mark an impressive group belt test. A. Ngansi and C. Ngansi graduated to purple belts. Last but not least, M. Phillips was named as a new gold belt captain. Quite a Saturday!
We have new purple and blue belts! On Saturday, July 1, youth students D. Jenifer, A. Martinez, and M. Smith received their blue belts. Adult students A. Banks-Jones and H. Jenifer received their purple and blue belts, respectively. All well-deserved.
Check out this video of A. Banks-Jones breaking a board with a side kick during his purple belt. Success!
K. Champion received the True Guts Award from Dr. Thomas and the Ramblers, who did their best to cheer him up when he and his mother stopped by class on Saturday, May 27. He had unexpected hip surgery and will be out for several months. He is determined to return to class. That's the spirit! Get well soon, Rambler.
On Thursday, May 11, at 1:16 a.m., Rambler adult student Jasmin Adease gave birth to her first child, Kaleigh Louise Adease. She weighed in at 7 lbs., 8.8 oz. Mrs. Adease is recovering well from the birth and she and her husband Kofi are overjoyed with this precious addition to their family. She hopes to rejoin the Ramblers and get back to classes as soon as she can. Congratulations from the Rambler family!
Treshawn Parker came by to visit Dr. Thomas and the Ramblers to announce that he will attend Bowie State University in September 2017. Congratulations and the best of luck in your higher education plans and your future career!
On Saturday, April 29, Dr. Thomas awarded $30 each to brown belts and honor roll students E. Hernandez, E. Martinez, and A. Seemangal, and to underbelts A. Hernandez, E. Hernandez, K. Hogue, A. Jackson, C. Jackson, A. Ngansi, C. Ngansi, J. Payne, E. Phillips, M. Phillips, J. Powell, D. Romero, M. Smith, and H. Spence. These students were on the honor roll all four advisories in school year 2015 - 2016. We're very proud of you!
C. Guzman, Z. Searles, S. Murillo, K. Richardson, Jr., K. Champion, G. Toro, I. Simmons, N. Lopez Escobar, Carl Wilson II, and R. Smith received their white belts on Saturday, April 8. Outstanding students all!
Youth students A. Benitez, D. Benitez, K. Crespin, E. Hernandez, K. Hogue, J. Payne, E. Phillips, J. Phillips, M. Phillips, M. Senatus, and A. Sobo received their gold belts, and A. Hernandez, A. Palacios (outstanding student), D. Romero, and H. Spence received their green belts on Saturday, January 28. Dr. Thomas remarked that this was one of his best overall testing groups. A. Jackson, N. Jackson, and B. Sobo were proud to be named new gold-belt captains filling vacancies left by three students who moved up to green-belt level. Congratulations to all of you! Mrs. Seemangal surprised the new gold and green belts and the newly-appointed gold belt captains with cupcakes to celebrate. Mr. and Mrs. Palacios treated everyone with pizza and drinks after the belts were awarded and the advanced class finished for the day. We really appreciate our generous Rambler famiily!
Youth students G. Azuine, M. Azuine, N. Azuine, P. Azuine, S. Azuine, H. Bullock, X. Bullock, T. Davis, G. Gordon, J. Johnson, S. Johnson, S. Mullings, and M. Paire received their white belts on Saturday, October 15. S. White, a three-year-old student, also received a special trophy for his courage and his marked progress in our challenging program. Outstanding adult students A. Arias Ventura, A. Seo, J. Suor, and S. Suor received their white belts as well. A good day for everyone!
Youth students A. Benitez, D. Benitez, S. Fronek, A. Mebrahtu, N. Mebrahtu, and B. Reyes-Herrera received their white belts on Saturday, August 20. Congratulations, especiallly to B. Reyes-Herrera, who takes classes with the adults and received the adult white belt with a black stripe.
New youth students E. Ambrosio, J. Ambrosio, D. Claudan, C. Paire, R. Pavon, E. Phillips, J. Phillips, M. Phillips (outstanding student), D. Robert, A. Santos (outstanding student), S. Santos, and E. Waller (outstanding student) received their white belts on Saturday, June 25. Congratulations to a great class!
Youth students D. Cabrera, M. Hernandez, C. Jackson (outstanding student), A. Ngansi, and C. Ngansi (outstanding student) and adult students J. Adease and A. Banks-Jones received their green belts on Saturday, June 11. A proud moment for all!
A. Adetula (outstanding student), T. Adetula, C. Agoh (outstanding student), J. Gamero, A. Jackson, N. Jackson, A. Perez (outstanding student), J. Powell, B. Sobo, and T. Sobo received their gold belts on Saturday, May 28. A proud moment for everyone!
D. Douglas, D. Harris, D. Hernandez, D. Irias, A. Perez, J. Perez, T. Sobo, K. Taylor, T. Torrico-Lopez, A. Yearwood, B. Yearwood, B. Yearwood, and B. Yearwood received their white belts on Saturday, December 26. Good work!
C. Agoh, J. Clark, E. Cruz, R. Cruz, I. Diallo, E. Hollis, C. Jenkins, K. McPherson II, J. Morse, B. Placido, D. Placido, J. Pratt, C. Serrano, D. Serrano, and J. Serrano received their white belts on Saturday, October 24. Nice job!
What a special day for the Ramblers at Bladensburg Community Center on Saturday, August 29! J. Estrada, E. Giron, E. Jones, C. Luque, J. Luque, D. Miles, K. Ocampo, M. Ocampo, P. Omasere, J. Payne, S. Quiroz, M. Rodriguez, A. Sobo, and B. Sobo received their white belts and trophies. Youth students A. Belt, C. Guzman (true guts award), D. Jenifer (outstanding student) and his brother D. Jenifer, A. Martinez, and M. Smith received their purple belts. Adult student A. Cabrera received his green belt and H. Jenifer received his purple belt. Dr. Thomas awarded S. Albert, A. Belt, A. Jackson, C. Jackson, J. Luque, A. Mendez, A. Ngansi, C. Ngansi, O. Olowe, P. Omasere, J. Payne, M. Rodriguez, M. Smith, and B. Sobo $20 each for having been on the honor roll all four quarters of the 2014-2015 school year. He gave E. Hernandez and A. Hornberger $20 each for being junior instructors during that time. Before he left for his second year at Northwestern University, Dr. Thomas awarded J. Martinez $100. The organization distributed a total of $420 to support the education of the Rambler students. Two special guests dropped by to help celebrate these many accomplishments--Maryland Senator Victor Ramirez and Bladensburg Town Council Member Trina Brown. A photo of the honor roll students with Dr. Thomas and Senator Ramirez is found below.
A. Hornberger received her red belt, E. Hernandez and E. Martinez received their second-brown belts, and A. Seemangal received his first-brown belt on Saturday, August 15. Our advanced belts are good student instructors who have worked hard to earn these new belts!
On Saturday, June 27, youth students K. Alexander II, J. Davis (outstanding student), J. Davis (his brother), K. Mac-Johnson, U. Mac-Johnson (outstanding student), A. Palacios (outstanding student), D. Robinson (outstanding student), and J. Smallwood received their white belts. Adult student K. Johnson received his white belt. Congratulations to everyone!
Youth students A. Asson Jr. (outstanding male student), E. Kilgore (outstanding female student), O. Olowe, D. Romero, K. Romero, and H. Spence received their gold belts on Saturday, May 30. Adult student A. Banks-Jones (outstanding student) received his gold belt. Good job, all of you!
On Saturday, May 2, youth students P. Cates, C. Crusoe III, D. Gatlin, F. Kilpatrick, H. Kilpatrick, E. Hernandez Morales, J. Hernandez Morales, M. Romero, N. Romero, T. Romero, and J. Ward received their white belts. G. Bravo-Martinez, D. Cabrera, and M. Hernandez were named gold-belt captains. Adult student D. Woodrup received his white belt. Congratulations to everyone!
N. Allen, W. Cameron, A. Carbajal, E. Chacon-Martinez, H. Chacon-Martinez, J. Gamero-Martinez, A. Hughes, A. Jackson, S. Kole-James, L. Olivo, E. Padila, J. Phelps, K. Romero-Alvarado, D. Romero-Nunez, H. Spence Romero, and A. Sulimani received their white belts on Saturday, March 7. There's a lot of talent in this new group of white belts!
Saturday, February 7, was a big day for the Ramblers. Youth students S. Albert, M. Bellamy, G. Bravo-Martinez, U. Bravo-Martinez, D. Cabrera, A. Hernandez, M. Hernandez (outstanding student), A. Ngansi, C. Ngansi (outstanding student), C. Rivas, and J. Umana received their gold belts, and S. Smith received his green belt. Adult students A. Cabrera and K. Cox received their gold belts and J. Rincon-Cruz received his green belt. Congratulations to all of you!
Youth students A. Asson, Jr., H. Knott, D. and D. Herrera (sisters), and D. Sesay received their white belts, and adult student A. Banks-Jones received his white belt on Saturday, January 10. Congratulations!
Youth students J. Albayero, G. Bravo-Martinez, K. Cruz, J. Fitch, E. Kilgore, and A. Osorio-Martinez received their white belts on Saturday, November 15. Adult student A. Cabrera also received his white belt. Bravo!
Youth students H. Offord, K. Offord, J. Powell (male; outstanding student), and J. Powell (female) received their white belts, and adult student A. Ramirez received her white belt on Saturday, September 20. Way to go!
M. Amaya-Hernandez, M. Bellamy, B. Bonilla, D. Cabrera, A. Davidson, G. Hall, A. Martinez-Vargas, D. Mason, I. Mosby, A. Percival, B. Percival, S. Vargas, and G. Vidal-Herrera received their white belts on Saturday, May 24. Congratulations!
The commitment to and the participation of the Rambler organization in the community is strong, including in important events in Bladensburg. This was apparent in the Town of Bladensburg's 9th Annual Black History Month Celebration, held on March 2 at Publick Playhouse, that focused on the War of 1812 and particularly on African American contributions. The event featured a multicultural and multiracial group of young people and "seasoned" citizens, and included readings about African Americans who served during the war; readings of poetry selections written by African American authors; several performances of song, dance, and instrumental selections; and a scripture reading and prayers. The musical performances culminated in two violin selections from the Ramblers' own Adrian Seemangal (Bladensburg Mayor Walter James referred to him fondly as "Dr. Adrian"). Mr. Seemangal is a talented young man who attends William Wirt Middle School and is very involved in the school's music programs as well as an academic high achiever.
Adult student G. Duncan received his red belt on Saturday, January 25; he accomplished this while on holiday break from college. Youth students E. Dolores, T. Fauntroy, V. Morgan, A. Porter, A. Rincon, and L. Rincon also received their gold belts. Good job, everyone!
Saturday, November 2, was an eventful day for several students who achieved their next-level belts. The Rambler family was truly honored to have Professor Bruce Goodwin, Dr. Thomas' esteemed colleague, as a guest for this belt advancement ceremony. For the youth, J. Moore received his white belt; M. Davis and A. Seemangal their second-brown belts; and J. Martinez his first-brown belt. Adult students also received their next-level belts: E. Thompson her blue belt; B. Bonilla, E. Sanders, and L. Sanders their red belts; and J. Sanders and M. Sanders their first-brown belts.(See the group photos on the Belt Advancement Photos page--it was truly a special occasion for the Sanders family!) Dr. Thomas is proud of all his students and particularly pleased with the progress of his advanced first-brown belts who will begin a dedicated period of training for their rigorous black belt tests. Congratulations to everyone!
On Saturday, August 31, C. Jackson, S. Siewert, and D. Spirtovic received their gold belts, and A. Belt, L. Gamero, D. Givens, C. Guzman, D. and D. Jenifer, A. Martinez, and A. Mendez received their green belts. Good work!
Adult student N. Arnold received his white belt on Saturday, July 20. Youth students C. Leonard and J. Leonard received their gold belts before their return to Phoenix, Arizona, where they live most of the year. Dr. Thomas gave them special recognition for coming back to the Rambler family each summer when they come to visit with local area family members. Good job all around!
Congratulations to two former, longtime Rambler students! Quinn and Julius Armstrong graduate this year, older sister Quinn from Bowie State University and younger brother Julius from Duval High School. Dr. Thomas is proud of them for their accomplishments scholastically and in martial arts, and he wishes them well in their future endeavors. Once a Rambler, always a Rambler!
On Saturday, March 9, J. Auguste, J. Hercules, C. Jackson, B. Rogers, and A. Williams received their white belts. J. Terry (female) was named gold belt captain and received her captain's belt. White and gold belts in the advanced class received stripes on their belts. Congratulations to everyone!
Congratulations to D. Jenifer and D. Jenifer (brothers), Z. Johnson (named outstanding student), H. Jolo and L. Jolo (brothers), A. Mendez (named outstanding student), F. Moreno, L. Reid, S. Romualdo (named outstanding student), S. Smith (named outstanding student), and D. Wilson and D. Wilson (brother and sister) for receiving their gold belts on Saturday, February 9, after a tough test last Saturday. They received their Ramblers rank achievement certificates with their changes of belt. In addition, L. Gamero, D. Givens, J. Lancaster, A. Martinez, and S. Pope were named gold belt captains and received their captain belts. It was a special day for the Ramblers, and Dr. Thomas appreciates the Rambler family for being patient during this traditional martial arts ceremony that takes place each time students test and move to a new belt level, and the students for supporting their team members in their notable achievements.
A. Seemangal, a longtime Rambler student who attends sixth grade at Rogers Heights Elementary School in Bladensburg, has shown that he leads by example both as a Rambler and in school. He is the captain for the school's team competing in the Science Bowl. Under his leadership, he and his teammates qualified for the final seminfinal berth of the 2012-2013 Science Bowl, defeating Cesar Chavez Elementary School by a decisive score of 330-110. The Gazette reported that this is the first time the team has made it to the semi-final round in at least several years. To see photos of the team and to read about the event in the January 17 Prince George's Gazette, the link to the online version is provided below.
On Saturday, September 22, youth students H. Flores-Sorto (named outstanding student), I. Flores-Sorto, L. Reid, A. Vargas-Garcia, and R. Vargas-Garcia (named outstanding student) received their white belts. Adult student H. Jenifer also received his white belt. Congratulations, everyone!
D. Thomas, a youth student, received his green belt on Saturday, August 4. M. Sanders, transitioning from youth to adult student as she heads off to college, received her second-brown belt. Y. Swindell, adult student, received her gold belt. Congratulations to all three!
On Saturday, July 28, youth students J. Funez, E. Gonzalez, G. Gonzalez, D. Jenifer and D. Jenifer (brothers), C. Leonard, J. Leonard, A. Mendez, F. Moreno, S. Romualdo, D. Silver, E. Silver (female), E. Silver (male), F. Silver, and B. Vivar received their white belts. Adult students B. Bonilla, G. Duncan, E. Sanders, and L. Sanders received their blue belts. C. Guzman was named a gold-belt captain for the boys, joining M. Smith who was recently named a gold-belt captain for the girls. Good job, everyone!
On Saturday, July 21, E. Hernandez performed with other amateur local talent in a dance number during the Michael Jackson Tribute production at Prince George's County Public Playhouse in Cheverly, Maryland. The 11 professional youth who performed are part of a community youth group from the Uptown Dance Company, which is a subset of the Uptown Dance Academy in East Harlem, New York. In addition to their performances on July 19 and 20, Uptown conducted two dance workshops for interested local youth. Mr. Hernandez participated in these and was chosen to perform with Uptown during their last performance on Saturday. Dr. Thomas and the Ramblers congratulate Mr. Hernandez for leading by example and pursuing an opportunity to expand his horizons.
On Saturday, July 14, youth students T. Barksdale, M. Brown, M. McDonald, and B. Mulugeta received their green belts. Adult student M. McDonald, father of one of the new youth green belts, received his gold belt. Congratulations to all!
Recent Rambler high school graduates W. Brogsdale (2012), G. Duncan (2011), J. Sanders (2011), M. Sanders (2012), and E. Thompson (2012) received gift bags from the Ramblers organization on Saturday, July 7. Thanks go to Mrs. Hinton for taking personal responsibility for this thoughtful gesture. Dr. Thomas congratulates these exceptional young people, all of whom are continuing to attend tae kwon do classes, and wishes them the best in their future endeavors. The Rambler family, as always, will support them as they move into new and challenging experiences. In this vein, Dr. Thomas is working toward developing a scholarship program through the We Lead By Example, Inc., nonprofit he recently established to support Rambler youth as they go forward to attend college or trade schools and carve out successful future careers.
No-belt students E. Fletcher, T. Fogle (top breaker), E. Gonzalez, Z. Johnson (top breaker), K. Kakay, T. Moore, J. Peralta (top breaker), D. Smith (top breaker), K. Taylor, D. Wilson (male), and D. Wilson (female; top breaker) received their white belts on Saturday, June 2. Congratulations to everyone!
On Saturday, May 25, a group of talented young people advanced from red to second-brown belts. The Ramblers congratulate A. Clement, M. Clement, J. Martinez, N. Potts, and J. Sanders for this acheivement!
On Saturday, May 5, M. Davis and A. Seemangal received their red belts, and C. Chang, E. Hernandez (named outstanding student in this round of testing), A. Hornberger, E. Martinez, and B. Potts received their blue belts. Congratulations on your success!
Several no-belt students received their white belts on Saturday, April 7. The new white belts are E. Adesanya, L. Atkinson, J. Campbell, J. Carter, I. Dixon, C. Dyer, W. Dyer, J. Hernandez, J. Murchison, S. Smith, and M. Thompson. Congratulations to all of you!
Seventeen white belts advanced to gold on Saturday, March 10. The new gold belts are A. Bah, F. Bah, C. Coates, X. George (named best fighter), D. Givens (named most improved student), C. Guzman (named outstanding male student), I. Kargbo, J. Lancaster, B. Lanier, K. Lanier, C. Ose-Afiana, S. Pope (named outstanding breaker), A. Pryor (male), M. Smith (named outstanding female student), E. Taft (named oustanding male student), J. Terry (named outstanding female student), and G. Williams. H. Bah and A. Pryor were named female gold-belt captains, while R. Mbanga, M. McDonald, and D. Thomas were named male gold-belt captains. In addition, K. Burns and J. Terry were named as male co-captains and H. Mbanga was named as a female co-captain. It was a great day for the Ramblers--congratulations to all of you!
D. Brogsdale, a Rambler student, was a key factor in Clinton's Grace Brethren boys basketball team's 68-45 victory over Potomac's McLean High School in the February 25 Potomac Valley Athletic Conference title game. Mr. Brogsdale acknowledged his father's role in his development and his unwavering support. Dr. Thomas appreciates the longstanding support of the Tae Kwon Do Ramblers by the Brogsdale family over a number of years, and is pleased to hear about this outstanding performance by one of his students and the recognition he gave to his stand-up dad.
Six no-belt students received their white belts on Saturday, February 11. The new white belts are A. Belt (named outstanding student), L. Gamero, J. Lancaster (named outstanding student), A. Martinez, M. Previl, and adult Y. Swindell. Congratulations to all of you!
Hollywood's Finest Fashion Production took place at the Clarion Hotel in Ft. Washington, Maryland, on Sunday, December 11. B. Bonilla, one of Dr. Thomas' adult students, played the character of James Dean, his second favorite actor/role model after Bruce Lee, when he participated in this production. Norman Cole, founder of Notorious Runway Productions, produced this latest in his series of shows. Notorious Runway Productions is a multi-level community involvement fashion and entertainment company and has established itself as a community grass roots organization through its affiliation with small businesses, neighborhood commissions, civic groups and other community organizations. The organization has provided scholarships to students at Howard University, Morgan State University, and the Eastern Shore University. The Ramblers are pleased that Mr. Bonilla has had the opportunity to be involved with an organization that provides him with experience in his pursuit toward a professional acting career and that brings something positive to the community.
Six no-belt students received their white belts on Saturday, December 10. The new white belts are A. Bah, A.M. Bah, F. Bah, I. Kargbo (named outstanding student), C. Ose-Afiana (named outstanding student), and adult D. Estrada. Congratulations to all of you!
Six students advanced from gold to green belts and one from white to gold on Saturday, December 3. The new green belts are R. Brown, T. Cheru, F. Cuero, K. Gebrgiorgis, M. Mulugeta, and A. Waters, and the new gold belt is H. Wiseman. These students should be proud of their hard-earned advancements.
Five students advanced from white to gold belts on Saturday, November 26. Congratulations to H. Bah (named outstanding student), M. Bah, I. James, A. Pryor, and D. Thomas (named outstanding student). Adult student K. Pryor also received her white belt.
On Saturday, October 15, Dr. Thomas awarded M. Sanders her red belt. It was also an exciting day for the latest class of beginning students because they advanced to their next-level belts. The students who received their white belts were C. Coates, D. Hardy, Z. Hardy, F. Marin, A. Martinez, R. Martinez, A. Moreno, F. Moreno, A. Porter,V. Rowe, E. Santana, J. Smith, M. Smith, S. Warr (named outstanding student), and T. Warr. Congratulations!
Saturday, September 17, was a memorable occasion for the Rambler family. After being judged by a panel of distinguished black belts--Grandmaster Chris Edwards, Professor Bruce Goodwin, Grandmaster El Sloan, and Shihan Steve Tolson--W. Brogsdsale and K. Hinton graduated from first brown to black belts and were presented their traditional black belt gui tops (white with black piping) and their black belts in a special ceremony. Ms. Brogsdale and Mr. Hinton's names are beautifully embroidered on the belts, in both English and Korean. According to tradition, the new black belts will be on probation for a year, during which they will be expected to teach and fulfill other requirements to show they are truly worthy of this honor and the respect that accompanies it. Dr. Thomas will look to them to be dedicated in their roles as instructors and to demonstrate their leadership before they become official black belts. The Rambler students and their families are proud of Mr. Hinton and Ms. Brogsdale, offer their congratulations for passing an impressive and exhausting test, and look to them to lead well and honorably, as they have been and will continue to be led and taught by Dr. Thomas. To see photos of Ms. Brogsdale's and Mr. Hinton's test, go to the Ramblers Belt Testing Photos page here. For photos of the very special black belt presentation ceremony, go to the Ramblers Belt Advancement Photos page here. For the event program, click here.
Saturday, August 20, was an exciting day for a large class of no-belt youth and for six white, gold, and green belt adult students because they advanced to their next-level belts. Youth students who received their white belts were B. Ateawung, S. Barber, A. Blackeney, D. Blackeney, J. Gaskins, S. Gaskins, D. Givens, C. Guzman-Munguia, A. Jefferson, C. Marin, F. Marin, D. Payne, J. Terry, R. Richardson, and J. Samukai. The adult students are listed below. Congratulations!
One youth and six adult students received their next-level belts on Saturday, July 30. It was a special day for the Ramblers because three of the students advanced from red to brown, a big step toward black.
B. Bonilla, one of Dr. Thomas' adult students, participated in the Scholarship Fashion & Entertainment Production Summer Spotlight Affair Fashion Show that took place at Howard University on July 17. Presented by Notorious Runway Productions, this event showcased the creations of local area clothing, shoe, and hair designers, and promoted local business vendors in the spirit of community outreach and networking. Designers who participated in the production included Antonio Valdez, Semaj, Alek Risimnic, Ricardo Rorie, MAA Designs Heydarri Collection, Notorious Collection, and LaModa. Vocalists Kathy Rollins and Nancy Hines and DJ Mix Master Dee entertained the audience throughout the production. Proceeds from the event will be contributed to a scholarship fund.
Saturday, April 30, was an exciting day for the Ramblers! Several no-belts and white belts and one green belt received white, gold, and purple belts. Congratulations! [See Belt Advancement Photos page.]
T. Barksdale - gold belt
K. Burns - gold belt
C. Chambers - gold belt
C. Chang - purple belt
A. Cuff - white belt
B. Cuff - white belt
D. Hare - white belt
I. James - white belt (outstanding student)
K. Jones - gold belt
B. Lanier - white belt
C. Lanier - white belt
K. Lanier - white belt (outstanding student)
H. Mbanga - gold belt
R. Mbanga - gold belt
T. Mbanga - gold belt
M. McDonald - gold belt
K. Mitchell - white belt
A. Pryor (female) - white belt (outstanding student)
J. Martinez and G. Mckeown (see photos below) were part of Eleanor Roosevelt High School (ERHS) Team 53 that competed in the FIRST Robotics Competition. They worked with their teammates to build a large and a mini robot that ERHS team members operated during live games at Washington Convention Center, where they also worked in concert with other teams from around the country in playoff competition. The Robotics Competition began 20 years ago in a gym in New Hampshire. Now it is an extraordinary event with the involvement of mentor engineers from businesses around the country; elementary through high school teachers; political leaders supporting the effort to make it available to all students; and U.S. presidents honoring the champions at the White House. Student teams this year worked to solve LOGO MOTION, a high tech engineering challenge. Some teams developed a website, while animation pieces were created by others. Teams built and programmed robots to accomplish tasks and score points in a competitive game played in front of a large audience. An engineer himself, Dr. Thomas was very pleased to learn that Mr. Martinez and Mr. Mckeown had this wonderful opportunity to be creative and collaborate with not only their high school classmates to develop logic and problem-solving skills, but with other students from around the country, and at the same time to be role models for their Rambler classmates by demonstrating their leadership and teamwork abilities learned through their study of martial arts. Stay tuned for accounts from Mr. Martinez and Mr. Mckeown about the event and for more photos!
There is a boatload of talent in the Rambler family. M. and J. Sanders are no exception and, in fact, they gravitate to water activities! M. Sanders was a member of last year's Seton High School women's rowing team and is currently training as a member of this year's team. Her brother, J. Sanders, is a lifeguard, certified through M-NCPPC. Check out the photos below. Ms. Sanders' first photo shows the Seton Novice Crew Team carrying the boat after their first race at the Bladensburg Waterfront Park. The second photo is a shot of the team's final race at 2010's Washington Metropolitan Interscholastic Rowing Association Championships, which they won. Congratulations, Ms. Sanders!
Mr. Sanders provided two photos of himself working as a lifeguard in the summer of 2010. We feel much safer with him on the job!
On December 10, M. Sanders performed with the Elizabeth Seton High School Symphonic Band as part of the 2010 Christmas concert series. As noted in the school newsletter (link provided below) The spirit of Christmas resounded in the hearts and souls of those who celebrated Christmas with Elizabeth Seton High School's music groups. The students' exquisite performance of sacred music, traditional carols and holiday favorites was spiritually uplifting ... Ms. Sanders is pictured in the group photograph of the Symphonic Band, middle row, third from the right.
Congratulations to B. Bonilla, one of Dr. Thomas' adult students, who landed the role of The Lion in Norman Cole's Notorious Runway Productions scholarship fashion and entertainment production of Fashion Oz at Howard University's Blackburn Center in Washington, DC. Mr. Bonilla is a dedicated martial arts student, and he is working diligently toward his goals of becoming a professional actor, stuntman, and musician. His involvement in this local community production that Mr. Coles hopes to take on the road is a positive step in that direction. In this Wiz version, Mr. Bonilla joined Auntie Em, Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, Eviline, Eviline's helper, the Yellow Brick Road dancer, Ms. One, Glenda, and the four Twister dancers in an inventive production enhanced by runway fashion sets with female and male models of all ages and sizes showcasing signature collections by local designers interspersed throughout as the story advanced, bringing Dorothy and her traveling companions through their adventures to see the Wiz. Not to worry--Dorothy was able to get home at last and she stepped up her fashion sense along the way.
K. L. Hinton, Rambler first brown belt, graduated from Eleanor Roosevelt High School on Friday, June 4. After his graduation ceremony, the Ramblers honored him and celebrated his graduation at a gathering of Mr. Hinton's family, friends, and extended Rambler family. Held at the Bladensburg Community Center, this event was a happy and sometimes emotional sendoff for Mr. Hinton, a focused young man who has led as an assistant instructor, and will undoubtedly continue to lead by example as he moves forward to attend college and works toward his goals. T. Simpson-Clement, assisted by her husband and fellow Rambler student G. Clement, produced and showed a slide show that featured photos of Mr. Hinton's life. He took the stage to demonstrate his martial arts skills, which many of his friends and family had not seen, in homage of his many years with the Ramblers organization and the skills he has been privileged to learn from Dr. Thomas. In turn, to the surprise of many of his Rambler family members, he showcased his impressive vocal talents when he performed an a cappella selection with two of his talented high school friends. Mr. Hinton spoke of his appreciation for everyone who has been supportive of him, particularly his parents and Dr. Thomas, who in turn took the floor to express their pride and affection for this special young man. Congratulations from the Rambler family for this accomplishment, Mr. Hinton, and our best wishes for your future endeavors!
Youth students C. Chang received his gold belt and A. Greene his green belt on Saturday, January 9. Adults G. Clement, S. McCutchen, and T. Simpson-Clement received their red belts. Congratulations to all for this achievement!
Dr. Thomas is proud to announce that Michael Andre Rowland, Jr., a former Rambler student from Upper Marlboro, Maryland, will graduate from high school in June. He is scheduled to attend Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, in mid-August 2009, as a pre-engineering student with a major in physics.
Congratulations to J. Espinoza, a Tae Kwon Do Rambler and one of 20 middle school students from public and private schools to compete in the Gazette-Star Prince George's County 2009 Spelling Bee. She represented Charles Carroll Middle School and placed in the bee, whose winner ultimately was Eunique Allen of Queen Anne School. Ms. Espinoza's picture and short interview were in the Thursday, March 19, edition of The Gazette & The Star. Julia is 14 years old and her favorite hobbies are reading and writing. Her favorite genre is fiction and [she] is currently writing a story for her friend who seems to like it so far. She also likes to play lots of sports like soccer, tennis and basketball and takes tae kwon do classes that she really enjoys. Her favorite subjects are reading, social studies and science, and [she] likes math to some degree. In her free time she likes to draw and listen to music, and one day hopes to become a writer. Dr. Thomas and the Ramblers family are very proud of Ms. Espinoza's accomplishment and also acknowledge her hard work in class and her dedication to the organization.
A. Seemangal announced that he was selected to participate in the Young Scholar Program of the National Center for Early Academic Excellence in Summer 2009. Being nominated by one's teachers and selected to participate is a great honor. The Rambler family congratulates you on this acknowledgment of your academic achievement, Mr. Seemangal!
Two students progressed to their next-level belts on Saturday, September 6. A. Fleming, named outstanding student in the examinations, received his blue belt, and V. Cantorna received his second-brown belt. Congratulations!
M. Davis, rated one of the top 40 students at Kipp Public Charter School, announced that he was chosen along with his fellow students to go on an expense-paid trip as a reward to Kennywood Amusement Park in Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh for a tour, and camping and hiking in the mountains of Pennsylvania in Summer 2008. While education is its own reward, this honor also contains fun and excitement for these scholars who worked hard during the scholastic year. Congratulations, Mr. Davis!
Leslie Griffin, first-brown belt and longtime student of Dr. Clifford Thomas, graduated from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University on Saturday, December 15, with a major in sports medicine. She plans to resume her martial arts training under Dr. Thomas and work toward earning her black belt.
Charles Wisher graduated from the National Massage Therapy Institute in Virginia in February 2007 and became certified in June. He became a licensed massage therapist in the District of Columbia in October, and was hired by Hands on Health in December.
Charles McCutchen Wisher recently was awarded a bachelor's degree in religion at Colorado College. Wisher was one of 555 bachelor and master's students to receive their diplomas during the college's 125th annual commencement exercises. Wisher was involved in a number of Colorado College organizations and participated in several activities at the college and in the Colorado Springs community. While in college, he participated in a summer program in Australia and undertook student volunteer activities in Arizona and New Mexico. Wisher is a student at the National Massage Therapy Institute in Falls Church, Va., from which he is slated to graduate in February 2007. He's the son of Susan McCutchen of Bladensburg. Colorado College is a four-year liberal arts and sciences college that was founded in Colorado Springs in 1874. The college operates on the Block Plan, in which its 1,960 undergraduate students study one course at a time in three-week blocks.
[Note Mr. Wisher, a Rambler since 1999, graduated from Colorado College on May 22, 2006. He is pictured here with his mother, Susan McCutchen, who became a Rambler student in the summer of 2003.]