Local teen earns black belt in Taekwon Do

A local teen can put a big checkmark next to a personal goal: earn a black belt in Taekwon Do. Ana Pacheco is a 15-year-old freshman at Northview High School. She’s been participating in Taekwon Do since she was 9. In early March, she received her black belt in the sport. A huge feat for anyone, but especially for Ana, who has Downs Syndrome. “The best thing about this sport has been the discipline, the interaction and the acceptance of a group without special needs,” said Ana’s father, Enrique. “It’s not always easy for someone with Down’s Syndrome to make friends, so being a part of a group, being treated as an equal and having the opportunity and support to keep moving up the ranks has been very positive for her.” Enrique adds that, according to Ana’s Sensei, she is one of the few girls with Downs Syndrome around the world to have achieved this level. Congratulations, Ana!