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Pan-American Gold Medalist Uses Own Success to Inspire Youth

By Sam King, Journal & Courier, 05/14/19, 12:00PM CDT

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The idea is to present medals to the kids, given they prove they are champions beyond the mat.

Joey Morgan showed up to the Impact Zone Training Center self defense class last week with a stack of certificates in hand. The St. Mary’s first grader earned the “Ready Reader” awards from school for exceptional work in classroom. He wanted to provide hard evidence that he’s succeeding beyond the mats.

“One of the reasons he is doing this is he wants to show the coaches he is not only working here but he is working at home and school as well,” said Estella Morgan, Joey’s grandmother. Morgan’s hope is that it can earn him a medal at month’s end. It is part of the medal-earning initiative the 38-year-old West Lafayette resident Carlos Soto created for the class after the enthusiastic group of roughly 45 to 50 kids ranging from ages 4 to 11 beamed with excitement when Soto showed them his own medals earned at last month’s Pan-American Championships in Buenos Aires, Argentina.