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Fencing program at Harlem schools

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

"En garde" is the term that marks the start of a fencing match. Some Harlem school kids are learning a whole new vocabulary and skill set.

Olympic fencer Tim Morehouse is teaching the kids of Democracy Prep in Harlem a few basic moves. It's all part of his push to bring the sport into public schools across the nation. 

Morehouse said fencing transformed his life when he was 13.

"I started doing better in classes, my self-esteem started improving and it was such a change in my life," he said. "Now that I've been to three Olympic Games I really want to give back."

Morehouse's plan to give back includes training physical education teachers to teach fencing.

Right now the program, called Fencing in the Schools, is debuting in six Harlem schools and will reach about 1,600 students.

School officials here say it is a welcome change from the run-of-the-mill P.E. classes. 

So far, money for the fencing equipment has come through private donations. Each kit, which includes a vest, a mask and a foil, costs about $130 -- a small price to pay for what students hope will be a bright future.

Students here are eagerly anticipating the start of the fencing program, but they won't be able to lift their foils until the program starts in April.

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