Calhoun’s Heather Berberich Pilots Self-Defense Program

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Heather Berberich, a junior at Calhoun High School, recently completed a Girl Scout Gold Award by researching and piloting a self-defense program as a unit during gym classes.

Berberich, 17, said she was motivated to instill a sense of empowerment in her peer group.

Under the guidance of physical education teacher Gregg Muscarella and Athletic Director Richard Diodati, the program involved a local instructor from Goshinkan Ju-Jitsu Dojo in Merrick who offered various self-defense techniques. 

“I settled on jiujitsu because it focuses on getting away safely,” she said.

“The ultimate goal was to teach students how to get themselves out of a potentially dangerous situation utilizing non-violent maneuvers,” Berberich said. “These life skills could be carried over forever.”