Concord July 4th

Unique program for students spawned in boxing gym

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Concord native Dan Dorsett, who comes from an athletic family, noticed how boxing was helping dozens of at-risk kids who were training at Fightkore MMA & Fitness Gym in Martinez.

Dorsett was training at the gym and saw how Fightkore owner Sean Sharkey “would help kids no matter what their financial situation, as long as they got to training on Saturday.” Dorsett approached Sharkey about developing a program that could be taken beyond the Fightkore gym and used in schools.

Soon they founded the Feet First Foundation along with Harvard grad Brandon Kregal as an alternative character-building program that focuses on empowering students in local schools. The program uses 60% physical activity and then spends the other 40% of the time talking about what good character is.

Dorsett had witnessed some extreme family court challenges after his divorce and got his two children in the gym He noticed the discipline and character forming in each of them at the gym. From the age of close to four-years-old to this day, both kids trained once a week in boxing lessons.

His daughter Aubrielle now swims for the Terrapins Swim Team, the local USA Swimming team that has national and collegiate athletes. He saw how confident she was at an early age, her enthusiasm in activities and her ability to compete at a high level in the pool. Swimming is her passion and Dorsett gives credit for her confidence to swim at a high level to training in boxing since an early age.

Feet First meets with schools, listens to the challenges with students, and recommends a solution that has been successful in behavioral change. Feet First is a step-by-step process that requires focus, concentration and discipline before moving on to the next stage.

The program is currently at several schools in the Mt. Diablo and Martinez school districts. Dorsett says they will also be in the PE curriculum at Deer Valley High in Antioch next year. Principal Lynsie Castellano and Vice Principal Rick Correa call Feet First “one of the best programs at Olympic High School.”

Dorsett and Sharkey are in talks with MDUSD for adding five schools next term. They have also spoken with Concord Mayor Carlyn Obringer regarding the city supporting Feet First Day on the third Wednesday of October to stand up for strong character.

Dorsett’s goal is to have an all-inclusive center that is available to offer to at-risk youth to improve the community and get kids to commit to school and stay in school by teaching them true character. The Feet First Foundation uses data to track the performance of each student. Data they have so far says depression, anger and anxiety have all been substantially reduced in program participants, as has suicidality.

Dorsett was born in Concord and went to Holbrook Elementary, Glenbrook Middle School and Mt. Diablo High. One of his heroes growing up was MDHS basketball star Todd Lichti, who was a neighbor.

Within two years, Feet First has grown to working with three school districts and helping hundreds (and hopefully, soon thousands) of kids in their program.

Dorsett, Sharkey and harvard grad Brandon Kregel want to scale Feet First nationwide by testing students’ overall behavior improvements. The Feet First team is comprised of 37 volunteers and board members. The program uses pro athletes to help train and talk to the students about “what is good character.” Each student in the program receives a Feet First shirt created by community partner Simply Selling Shirts of Concord. Boxing equipment is donated by Everlast.

For more information on Feet First Foundation visit feetfirstnp.org.

Concord High Odyssey seeking trip funds

Concord High’s Odyssey of the Mind team has won the San Francisco Bay Region and NorCal State competitions, earning the six students an invitation to the World Finals in Michigan.

Now these six creative students are looking to raise the funds necessary to make the trip to Michigan State University May 22-25. The international creative problem-solving competition empowers kids to harness their out-of-the-box thinking and turn it into a unique and entertaining performance.

The Concord High team had a $125 budget to build their solution – costumes, set, props and all – and they’ll have eight minutes to present it at the World Finals.

You can go to their GoFundMe account listed under “Help Concord High get to World Finals” at tiny.cc/chsodyssey if you can help them towards their goal of raising $6000.

MDUSD Superintendent Meyer leaving for ­Silicon Valley district

Last week MDUSD Superintendent Dr. Nellie Meyer announced she has accepted a similar position with the Mountain View Los Altos High School District. She had been with MDUSD for six years and will be leaving her post in June.

Her new district includes two comprehensive high schools with a total of 4300 students. At MDUSD she oversaw over 50 schools with 30,000 students and nearly as many employees as her new district has students.

MDUSD’s announcement of her departure said, in part, “With a heavy heart, we announce that our innovative, effective and supportive Superintendent Dr. Nellie Meyer is leaving MDUSD.

“Dr. Meyer has provided guidance, compassion and equity for our diverse and forward-thinking district. We are honored to have had her as our leader and we wish her all the best on her journey as an agent of change!”

Meyer’s three-year contract with her new district was approved unanimously by the board and includes an annual base salary of $302,500. The contract includes a $25,000 housing allowance to pay for relocation expenses to a place within 20 miles of the district office. She begins there in July.

After the surprise announcement she was lauded on social media by MDUSD teachers and school administrators. Meyer herself is active on Twitter, often retweeting postings of teachers and staff.

MDUSD seek Measure J committee members

As Meyer leaves the District is ramping up its $150 million Measure J general obligation bond program approved by voters last November. The District is currently accepting applications for a seven-member Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee, which will be appointed by the School Board.

Visit mdusd.org/cbocmj or email cboadminasst@mdusd.org for details on the bond and committee.

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