SJA students take up archery through school programThe sport of archery has come to Jamestown students through a program at St. John’s Academy. More than 70 students, grades four to six, have been able to experience target archery for the past month through the physical education curriculum, which St. John’s Academy Principal Mark Wiest said is a great thing for the students.
By: Brian Willhide, The Jamestown Sun
The sport of archery has come to Jamestown students through a program at St. John’s Academy.
More than 70 students, grades four to six, have been able to experience target archery for the past month through the physical education curriculum, which St. John’s Academy Principal Mark Wiest said is a great thing for the students.
“Archery is a lifelong sport — something all kinds of young people can participate in, compete in and really enjoy,” Wiest said.
The program, which began development in December, is part of a national campaign designed to promote teaching international-style target archery in physical education classes for grades 4 through 12.
The National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) was started in Kentucky in 2002, and has been implemented by more than 9,000 schools nationwide.
It is also being offered as an extra-curricular activity at the academy.
“Everyone in eligible grades is welcome to participate,” said Glen Sargeant, volunteer and a member of the St. John’s Academy School Board. “It’s a lifetime sport that promotes focus and discipline in a positive way.”
Sargeant said about 30 students participate in the program as an extra-curricular activity, including seven who will be representing the school at Saturday’s state competition in Bismarck.
“They’re expecting about 300 to 400 total shooters on Saturday, and the best will qualify for the national tournament in Kentucky in May,” he said.
For having only been practicing for a month, Wiest and Sargeant have been impressed with the students’ attitude and their progress.
“This is something a lot of kids really haven’t been introduced to, but they’re starting to do very well with it,” Wiest said.
One of these students is sixth-grader Makenna Mathison, who not only practices her archery skills during the couple times a week of after-school practice, but hones her skills at home once a week as well.
“It’s been so fun for her,” said Tamara Mathison, Makenna’s mother. “It’s been a way for her to be more involved with her classmates and to see the smile on her face is really great.”
St. John’s Academy is currently the only school in Jamestown with an archery program, but Sargeant said schools from Pingree, Carrington and Medina will be represented in Bismarck on Saturday.
“Ideally, we want to be able to compete with other schools right here in town someday,” Sargeant said.
Jamestown Middle School Assistant Principal and Activity Director Mark Stillwell said the idea for such a program is new to him, but said he would entertain the idea.
“We’re always interested in hearing about opportunities for different activities for the students, so it’s something I would be open to hearing about in the future,” he said.
Tamara Mathison said she hopes this program will continue at higher grade levels, as she’d hate for her daughter to miss out on the opportunity to participate in future years.
“Those who may not be interested in some other sports, this program gives them a wonderful opportunity and I just really hope it continues as Makenna gets older and into the upper grades,” she said.
Sargeant said all equipment used in the program is paid for by grants from the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, Stutsman County Wildlife Club, Easton Foundation and by staff at the U.S. Geological Survey North Prairie Wildlife Research Center.
“We provide everything you need — the equipment is standard for everyone and it is already paid for,” he said.
All volunteers, whether experienced in archery or not, simply have to complete a one-day, on-site training program to help out. The training is provided by the ND Game and Fish Department.
Wiest said he hopes that the program at St. John’s Academy will spread to other local schools.
“I really hope this will expand,” he said. “I’m glad we’re getting it off the ground here at the academy and we look forward to sharing this with the rest of Jamestown.”
Sargeant said with the program only in its beginning stages right now, he hopes it will hit its stride in the fall when the new school year begins.
For more information about the target archery program at St. John’s Academy, call Glen Sargeant at 701-269-2070.
Sun reporter Brian Willhide can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at email@example.com