Cartoon "Dawgs" teach students life lessons at Dorchester Co. school

By Nicole Johnson  bio | email | Twitter

LADSON, SC (WCSC) – They are fighting bullies and negativity one karate kick at a time. The "New Adventures of the Karate Dawgs" is an animated cartoon series locally produced and aired at an area middle school that is helping students learn valuable life lessons.

"Through my experience as an educator I was able to relate to my students, through that relationship I discovered many of them had character issues and I wanted to think of a creative way to build character," said Oakbrook Middle School teacher Daniel Bryant.

The "Karate Dawgs" deal with important issues students face today such as peer pressure, self-esteem and bullying.

In one episode, a "Pumpkin Bully" tells a little puppy, "Listen here you little puppy, you're never going to be nothing."

The puppy replies, "You're hurting my self-esteem, please stop."

Then out come the "dawgs" with some quick thinking and karate moves to fight all the negativity and replace it with positive thinking. All students at the school get the chance to watch.

"They're helpful. Everybody can see what to be and what not to be to other people," said sixth grader Morgan Kephart.

Each five-minute show, takes about two and a half weeks to produce. Bryant sketches about 70 to 80 images for each episode, and then he scans them into a computer program, colors them in and creates the cartoon.

"It makes a pretty good difference. You'll see a lot of people being bullied, then they'll watch 'Karate Dawgs,' and then they'll feel a lot better about themselves," said sixth grader Hunter Allan.

Four students regularly lend their voices as the main characters. Mo Mitchell plays "Sophie."

"I'm like whoa, that's what I sound like? This is pretty good. It makes me feel better that I can make somebody else change for the better," Mitchell said.

So far there are 13 episodes in the cartoon series. Students and the school's resource officer regularly contribute voices and ideas for stories.

"I'm not getting paid to do this, but I get paid back with a positive attitude and feedback from my students here at Oakbrook Middle School," Bryant said.

Students at OMS get to watch the "Karate Dawgs" cartoon series on the school's morning news show. It is also on the school's website.

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