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Chuck Norris' Kickstart program now available to Navarrete, Murphree middle-school students

(EL PASO INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT — Sept. 6, 2023) — El Paso ISD’s middle school students are getting a Kickstart!  

In a groundbreaking initiative aimed at nurturing well-rounded development, El Paso ISD unveiled the Kickstart program for students in grades 6-8 at Captain Gabriel L. Navarrete Middle School and Charles Q. Murphree PK-8 School. The program is being implemented throughout the upcoming 2023-2024 academic year. 

This pioneering character-building program, developed in partnership with Kickstart, harnesses the power of martial arts to impart vital life skills, including discipline and respect, enabling students to reach their fullest potential. 

“At El Paso ISD, we are committed to creating an educational environment that not only focuses on academic growth but also emphasizes social and emotional development,” Superintendent Diana Sayavedra said. “The Kickstart program perfectly embodies our goals by offering personalized learning, fostering a strong support system through community partnerships, and equipping students with the skills needed for a successful future.” 

Founded by renowned martial arts instructor and actor Chuck Norris, Kickstart Kids has garnered accolades throughout Texas. Currently, approximately 8,290 students are enrolled in 60 public schools, with more than 110,000 students benefiting from the program since its inception. Norris, who himself transformed his life through martial arts, identified a gap where young individuals, particularly those facing economic challenges, lacked access to character-building activities. By partnering with school districts, Kickstart bridges this gap, providing in-school martial arts instruction to adolescents navigating the challenges of middle and high school. 

Jeremy McQuivey, a veteran instructor with 22 years of experience in the Kickstart program who is teaching students at Navarrete Middle School, shared his insights on the unique benefits of martial arts education.  

“One distinct advantage that martial arts has over traditional team sports is that it allows individuals to succeed on a personal level while also introducing a team dynamic through our tournaments,” McQuivey said. "What sets our program apart is that we not only teach self-defense skills but also when and where to apply them responsibly. These discussions are often absent in other extracurricular activities.” 

McQuivey went on to explain the program's role in addressing pertinent topics.  

“Martial arts is a prevalent theme in popular media, and by teaching kids the nuances of combat in a controlled environment, we open channels for meaningful conversations that might otherwise go unexplored,” he said. 

The Kickstart program not only teaches physical skills but also cultivates essential character traits. With El Paso ISD’s visionary approach and the Kickstart program’s commitment to holistic development, middle school students are placed on a path to become well-rounded individuals capable of achieving bright futures with confidence and resilience.