Meet Lavendar, the Minnesota 5th grader with 6 national boxing titles

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It’s the last day of school before Thanksgiving break. Most students have already left the building; after-school programs have been cancelled. But a dozen or so kids remain in the upstairs hallway of Lucy Laney Community School, on the north side of Minneapolis, where Lavendar Nelson is leading them in a boxing drill.

“Jab,” she instructs them. She raises her right hand toward her face and snaps off a neat punch with her left.

The elementary students, spread out in the corridor, jab the air with their left hands.

Lavendar has become a leader to the student boxers at Lucy Laney. At 10 years old, she is a six-time national champion. As she’s grown, so has her weight class. She first competed at 90 pounds; now she is competing at 125.