Archers take aim

Skipcha Elementary School fifth-grader Jaisey Figueroa-Ramirez and others in the school's weekly archery enrichment group take aim. Archery was a favorite among the school’s 52 weekly enrichment groups last semester.

Of the 52 enrichment groups at Skipcha Elementary School, one of the most popular is more medieval than millennial.

The school’s archery group filled up quickly and may expand to a Saturday offering.

Last semester’s fifth-grade archers at Skipcha completed their term Jan. 11 with a competitive shoot-off before a new group started today.

Assistant principal Connie Wambsgans, who leads the archery group, said her 25 fifth-graders typically arrived eager, were rarely absent and steadily improved through the semester.

“They love it. They’re eager to do it and I’m happy with their progress. I’m proud of them,” Wambsgans said.

She and campus instructional specialist Brian Wadsworth guided the students through archery’s 11 steps to ensure safety and success.

“They take it seriously,” she said. “They have to learn the 11 steps to archery success and then they get to shoot, which is an exciting time.”

Wambsgans said she liked archery and took a course through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Service where she learned about the school program. Skipcha’s PTO raised $3,000 to purchase the equipment to begin the program last semester, and school leaders hope to expand archery beyond a weekly enrichment option.

Nolanville Elementary School started offering archery to third- through fifth-graders as a P.E. unit last year.

‘Contest with friends’

Stepping through the paces, taking their time and responding to their shots, the students obviously cared about their performance. Several fifth-graders said it took time to develop the strength and patience to release the arrows accurately.

“It think it’s cool we can shoot arrows,” said Rebecca Croucher, explaining that the activity was difficult at first, but that she drastically improved.

“It’s really fun,” Jasmine Harris said. “I like shooting and getting points. It was hard at first to pull back the string. We practiced a lot and it got easier.”

Fifth-grader Jayson Brooks said he was surprised when he found out about the opportunity to learn archery in school.

“I didn’t know what it would be like, but it’s fun,” Brooks said.”

Nathan Alvarez said he and his friends feel the pressure to hit the bull’s eye.

“It’s like a contest with friends and with myself,” he said, explaining his desire to improve. “When we started we had no clue. ... Now, I usually can hit the bull’s eye.”

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