People of Siouxland – Portraits of the Extraordinary

Young Fighter with a Heart of Gold

Born in 2005, Molly Sek is a mixed-martial artist and Judoka. She has won more than 70 medals from local, state, to national Judo competitions. Molly became a Judo champion, earning back-to-back golds in the Iowa State games and Sioux City Judo Championships.

This North High School freshman just completed her first season of wrestling. She discovered her passion for martial arts when her dad introduced her to the sport at a very young age. A powerful athlete, Molly, has bravely dived into unknown waters, defeating some of the strongest competitors, mainly boys, since she started Judo approximately eight years ago. She is resilient and knows how to stand up for herself; however, she’s also very compassionate to others and especially her family. 

As a Cambodian-American, Molly said it is a great honor to be of mixed races. Her dad  arrived in the U.S. from Cambodia in 1985 to escape the war and to pursue a better life for his family. Fast forward to the future. It was more than two decades later that Molly’s parents would be married in July of 2017. 

“Representing our country is everything. Representing my family is even more important. My dad gave everything for me to be who I am and worked so hard to be here. Representing where I come from is something I keep close to me,” said Molly. 

Today, you can find Molly teaching Judo to aspiring fighters and kids in Siouxland, teaching them not only the ancient techniques of “the gentle way” (Judo), but also the art of accomplishing your biggest dreams. 

“Don’t let people stop you from what your goal is,” said Molly 

Hello, I’m Jetske Wauran and I am so excited to team up with Siouxland Magazine! This team effort will serve as an avenue to share my passion project, “People of Siouxland – Portraits of the Extraordinary.” I launched this project in September 2020, in hopes of inspiring and uplifting others in the most trying of times especially during the pandemic. As a visual storyteller, my mission is to connect with people who have made a true and profound impact in our community and write stories about the underrepresented individuals and hidden gems within Siouxland. You’d be amazed by how many there are! These are everyday people, from all backgrounds and walks of life, that are changing our world for the better. It is an honor to share their unique and remarkable stories with you. Stories that are worth encouraging, enjoying, and celebrating, and can fill our lives with positivity.  

Jetske Wauran is a community activist, professional photographer and Emmy-award winning journalist.

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