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Kaitlyn Correll, left, and Melanie Ziegle partner to practice self defense tactics during a class in May 2018, put together by Correll at Gretna High School.

Stopping sexual assault and promoting awareness proved a worthy cause for 2018 Gretna High School graduate Kaitlyn Correll.

The focus of a paper in her English class soon spilled over into Correll’s efforts to earn her Gold Award, the highest achievement available through Girls Scouts of the USA.

Promoting leadership skills, award requirements ask participants to organize and complete a project in the community.

For her project, Correll partnered with ATA martial arts to host a self-defense class at Gretna High School.

“As a senior heading to college, this is something they kind of warn you about,” Correll said. “I decided to host a self-defense class at my school and open it to all students.”

The Saturday morning class last May drew several attendees, who paid a small fee for a course on how to defend themselves. Money collected through the class was donated to Voices of Hope in Lincoln, an organization that aids victims of domestic violence.

“It was an awesome class,” Correll said. “I did a lot of research and spent the first part of the class kind of going over basic information and sharing statistics. Ryan Miller of ATA did the physical part of the class, where we were able to partner up and learn a lot of strategies for different situations.”

Following up, she worked with the school guidance counselors to ensure self-defense and safety discussions are a part of school curriculum. She also helped her church, Good Shepherd Lutheran, host a self-defense class as well.

Correll’s grandfather was big into Scouting, prompting Correll, her twin brother and younger brother to participate as well.

She said the work enhanced her communication skills and made her more organized.

“I wanted to make my family proud and make myself proud,” Correll said. “I just went for it and I’m really glad I did.”

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