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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

Student Spotlight: Senior Luke Portale

Senior carries black belt skills into future
Mallory Friesen

As you see Luke Portale, ‘24, walk past you in the hall, you might not guess he is a black belt in Taekwondo. But as you get to know him, you will hear stories from his six years in Taekwondo at Break the Barriers.

Having a black belt is thought to be a mark of excellence because it requires a lot of time and hard work. To get to a black belt you have to go through tests at each level, including yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, red, brown, black. You start as a white belt and end as a black belt if you persevere.

Portale did not have any friends that started Taekwondo with him, but made good friends along the way.

Luke Portale, now a senior, still remembers his Taekwondo skills.

“I didn’t know a single person when I started,” Portale said. “There was only one other kid that was my age at the time, and he was a higher-up belt when I was a white belt.”

Portale joined Taekwondo because his parents wanted him to join a sport. Portale ended up really enjoying it.

“My parents were like – you gotta do a sport to stay active,” Portale said.

When Portale was practicing skills, he would go on YouTube to help remember them. Portale really liked learning to flip people. In the beginning, he was often the one being flipped because he was the youngest. Doing Taekwondo teaches you to punch and kick. but also develops discipline and mental toughness.

When Portale got his black belt, it was a big accomplishment. Many of his friends already had their black belts so it was a cool thing to have with his friends.

Jessica Swartz did Taekwondo for six years with her family and really treasured it. She got her black belt and still remembers most skills from more than 26 years ago.

“I really enjoyed learning the kicks and sweeps,” Swartz said. “Being a girl, my legs are stronger than my arms, so I really enjoyed focusing on my strengths.”

Luke Portale earned his black belt in 7th grade.

Randy Poudrier is Erin Poudrier’s, ’27, uncle and has been out of karate for 15 years and still remembers the skills.

“I don’t remember everything exactly correct but I notice when I start practicing regularly it comes back pretty fast,” Poudrier said.

Although Portale has been out of classes for five years, he still remembers most of the skills. Today Portale is more invested in snowboarding, but Taekwondo will remain a lifelong skill.

For more from The Feather go to CIF Victory: freshman standout takes first in impressive debut or Veterans Day Chapel.


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About the Contributors
Erin Poudrier
Erin Poudrier, Journalist
Erin Poudrier is a freshman,  who is new to The Feather. Poudrier loves playing volleyball for Fresno Christian. She plays acoustic and electric guitar. You might find Erin in the kitchen crafting a layered cake. She hopes to learn how to write and post articles for The Feather.
Mallory Friesen
Mallory Friesen, Photo Editor
Mallory Friesen returns to The Feather for her second year as a photojournalist hoping to improve her skills. As a ‘lifer’ at Fresno Christian, you can find her on the soccer field or cheer mat. Friesen hopes to attend college and continue her creativity by traveling the world and using her photography skills. 
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    TylerDec 20, 2023 at 11:27 am

    yea Erin great article.