New Target: PE teacher has high hopes for archery growth at CF

By: Taylor Hylton

Students are shooting their way to a new team.

Archery has been the talk of students for a while now and finally the time has come for this section of class to start.

Paul Elser, PE teacher, said that he wanted to teach archery because he used to do it in high school, and schools have gotten away from it. He wanted to bring it back and perhaps start a club or team.

The money for archery came from the pep grant the high school gained last year. However, should the pep grant not have been available, the school would have been able to still start archery in the individual physical education classes from the National Archery in Schools Program (NASP). They offer scholarships to schools for archery classes, clubs and teams. With the scholarship, it would have been basically free.

Associate Principal and pep grant coordinator Troy Becker and Elser put together a proposal to get the section started. “The biggest hurdle is safety,” Elser said. “I took a course where I was taught the techniques.”

According to the NASP, archery has reached over a million students, nearly 12,000 schools in five countries. There are nearly 200 schools in Iowa currently hosting classes on archery.

Archery has become increasingly popular within the school setting. This program started in a pilot run in Kentucky in 2002. Only 38 percent of surveyed students had actually shot an arrow before. Even less owned a bow. After the class, 89 percent enjoyed it, and 59 percent of those surveyed wanted to become archers.

Elser said he hopes to inspire that same enthusiasm by making a team or club. “I would like to see it started in sophomore classes. I would love to sponsor it,” Elser said, but, unfortunately, archery season is during basketball season, which Elser coaches.

Senior Lauren Davis said she would pursue the sport if it were to become a team or club. However, junior Dylan Sands said that although he enjoys it, he would not pursue it if were it to become a team or club.

There are even competitions for high school students. Olympic Archery in Schools (OAS) helps middle schools and high schools get teams together to compete. Currently there are at least two local schools competing in archery. There is even a state competition. Archery is an option in college as well with scholarships.

Elser can see the high school having a large team. “Not only is there interest,” Elser said, “kids come up to me talking about ‘Oh, I would love this.’ If plans go how I want them, I can see us having a large team.”

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