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Anonymous donors give Newport Independent Schools student gift of self-defense, self confidence

It’s a Christmas one karate kid will likely never forget.

Through a combined mix of holiday spirit, shared benevolence and the desire to help a little girl find herself, 11 anonymous Newport donors have given $100 each to pay for a year’s worth of self defense classes at a Newport martial arts training facility.



“It’s one of the most unique Christmas presents I’ve ever seen or heard of,” said Newport native and Chief Master Instructor Charlie Fry, an 8th degree black belt who operates Master Fry Defense Systems in Newport.

A few months ago Fry was contacted by a man who grew up in Newport and who benefited from martial arts training when he was a boy.

“This is a guy who grew up in Newport, spent a lot of time on the streets and had a hard time as a kid,” Fry said. “At one point in his life, he took martial arts and it really helped him out. And now he wanted to give back to a kid who would benefit from martial arts but probably was in a family that couldn’t afford it.

“So he paid for four weeks,” he said. “He gave me cash and said he wanted to remain completely anonymous. He didn’t want anybody to thank him, he didn’t want anybody to know. He just wanted to help a kid, and it had to be a kid from Newport.”

Fry, who graduated from Newport High School, contacted Newport Independent Schools Superintendent Kelly Middleton for suggestions of a student who would benefit from martial arts training.

Middleton gave Fry the name of a family and Fry reached out to the mother. In an unexpected coincidence, it turned out the 10-year-old student Middleton suggested had previously taken classes from Fry.

“Turns out it was a little girl that I had previously taught,” Fry said. “She loved it, so the family jumped at the chance of getting another four weeks. But when that four weeks was up, the family has been through some financial struggles and they couldn’t afford to continue the classes.”

So Fry went to a Newport police officer who had originally introduced him to the anonymous donor and asked if there was a way to raise money for more classes for the child.

“The officer, who also wants to remain anonymous, comes back two days later with $1,100 in cash, all from people who wanted to donate, who wanted to help out, who wanted to give something from the heart,” Fry said. “I threw in a discount, and now the girl can train for a year.”

Fry has learned that a police officer, a business owner, a bar owner, a judge, an executive and others chipped in for the very unique Christmas present for the girl.


“Charlie has such a great program that teaches not just self-defense, but also self-confidence,” Middleton said. “And when you see that people step up like they did, it’s such a great story at this time of year.”

The girl and her mother – who also wish to remain anonymous – wrote out 11 thank-you notes for each of the donors.

“She’s getting a lot out of it,” Fry said. “The tenets we teach kids are courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self control, indomitable spirit and personal victory. They have to strive to like the person they see in the mirror. I can tell you, she feels a lot better about herself than when she came in.

“The kids have to have good grades to continue with the training,” Fry said. “The girl’s mother said her grades as well as her outlook on life has improved. And there are 11 people out there who made this happen for her at Christmas.”

Newport Independent Schools

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