BELTON — Trennon Pa’au didn’t hear the popping sound that filled Bell County Expo Center’s exhibition room as hundreds of arrows glided through the air toward their targets.
Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with his opponents, Pa’au honed in on his target as he competed for the first time in the state archery competition March 6 at the Expo Center in Belton.
“I’m really happy,” Pa’au, a deaf Nolanville Elementary School fifth-grader, said through an interpreter. “When it was time to get on the bus, I was running down the hall.”
Pa’au was among more than 1,300 students from 51 Texas schools, including Ellison High School, who registered for the event, with 100 students competing at a time as they lined the walls of the competition hall.
Pa’au said he joined the school’s Archery Club because he wanted to learn everything he could about archery.
When the Nolanville club held it’s first meeting in September, physical education teacher RaeAnn Melvin said she hoped at least 30 elementary students would showed up so the school would have enough members to form a team, which consists of between 16 and 24 students.
She was surprised — and a bit overwhelmed — when 100 students signed up, with signed parent permission slips allowing them to participate.
After tryouts in November, the club’s top students started training for the state competition.
“It’s been a really neat experience,” said Melvin, adding other schools in the district are hoping to start their own archery club.
Josh Stacey, one of three teachers who sponsor the Ellison club, said the group gives students another avenue to succeed and showcase their talents.
“Not all these kids are gifted athletically, not all these kids are gifted musically. It’s just another way our district and our school is very, very big on getting these kids connected somehow, someway,” said Stacey, who is also offensive line coach for the Ellison football team and the head girls’ track coach.
“You don’t have to be the best athlete, or the best singer or the best dancer or the smartest kid. You just come out, have focus, and concentration and you’ll be very successful.”