Laurel Henry is our youngest competitor this year, at the ripe old age of 7. She was born in Carteret County, and is the big sister to two younger brothers. She is homeschooled and enjoys being able to learn in so many different places. She hopes to be a famous musician when she grows up.
Laurel loves dancing, singing, playing the cello, skiing/snowboarding and Martial Arts, of course. Her parents are the owners of Grand Master Dong's Martial Arts, so she comes by it naturally. In fact, she is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and has had an actual light saber battle with the REAL Darth Maul! Laurel has also climbed a 14,000 foot mountain at the age of 2, so she obviously loves a challenge.
Proud father and dance partner, Phillip Henry, has been involved with martial arts since the age of 12. He achieved his black belt while attending Barton College in Wilson, NC, and founded the self-defense club there as well a Wilson's only full-time martial arts school. He has spent most of his life working with children. During his college years, he volunteered as a tutor and mentor at the Eastern NC School for the Deaf in Wilson. He spent many summers as a camp counselor for Easter Seals, and worked seven years as a Guardian ad Litem with Wilson County, serving as a voice in court for neglected and abused children. Phillip and wife, Shannon, own and operate Grand Master Dong's Martial school in Morehead City, and are generous philanthropists for many non-profit organizations in the area.
Phillip enjoys hiking, mountain biking, scuba diving and camping. He has hiked nine (9) 14,000 foot peaks......four in one day. As a beginner snowboarder, he completed an accidental black flip and landed it. he says his wife ran over his head while snowboarding in deep powder.....thank goodness for helmets. He is father to daughter, Laurel, and sons, Liam and Kian. He says it took a 7-year old little girl and dare to get him in the competition.
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