CULLMAN, Ala. – While St. Bernard is no stranger to world-class archery, the school is new to implementing its own archery program as part of the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP).
St. Bernard joined NASP to create an in-school program aimed at improving educational performance. Through this program, students are learning focus, self-control, discipline, patience and the life lessons required to be successful in the classroom and in life.
The Units of Study were written by Education, Conservation and Target archery experts to meet state and national educational standards. This enabled NASP to speak the language of educators who are intent on teaching core content throughout the school day. These units were designed for inclusion in a school’s Physical Education curriculum, but in a few NASP schools these archery lessons are presented by history, language, art and even Spanish teacher.
Instructor Training was developed so teachers in every participating school could be certified to present NASP lessons that are safe for students, instructors, bystanders and the facility. Teachers have a choice of being certified as NASP Basic Archery Instructors (BAI – 8 hours) or Basic Archery Instructor Trainers (BAIT–24 hours). To date more than 90,000 people have been certified by NASP.
Archery equipment used in NASP is highly standardized to be safe, durable, economical and most importantly, universal fit for almost every student. In NASP, learning the “process” of shooting is stressed far more than arrow scores. The only bow used in NASP is a Genesis compound, which has no let-off and is adjustable from 10-20 pounds in draw weight at any draw length. The only arrow is the Easton 1820 aluminum “Genesis” arrow.
Nineteen of the near 30 students in St. Bernard’s club were introduced to archery at Sacred Heart School. The program is a club organization and open to any student in grades 4-12. It is an in-school program which has to be taught in the classroom. The main goal is to improve education performance by learning self-control, patience and discipline, etc.
In early March 400 students visited St. Bernard to compete in an archery tournament in the Fazi-Richard Athletic Center. Students came from as far away as Sumiton Middle School and Brooks High School in Killen, Alabama and as close as Cullman City and County Schools. Seventeen teams competed in team and individual awards at the Elementary, Middle and High School Levels.
Competition consisted of shooting targets at 10 meters and 15 meters. Fifteen arrows were shot by each individual from each distance to score a perfect score of 300. The top two teams with the highest scores were presented trophies; the top three boys and girls in each division were awarded medals.
Elicia Fallin, who began the program after volunteering at Sacred Heart School under the direction of Holly Winfrey, started the program at St. Bernard to further enhance the existing programs offered at the school.
With a huge contagious smile on her face, Fallin said, “It’s exciting to watch the two schools come together and to watch the students continue to grow and improve, but for me the greatest satisfaction is witnessing students who once dreaded PE get excited about coming to the gym. They get dressed for archery and look forward to getting started. To see their faces when scores improve, it just makes my day.”
As for the first ever tournament, it was a huge success. Fallin was very pleased with the interest from each school that participated.
“We were elated to have such a wonderful two-day event which drew more than 1,000 people in attendance. The proceeds from the event will be used to purchase equipment such as targets, bows, etc.,” Fallin said.
Winning the elementary team tournament was East Elementary School, followed by the runner-up team Vinemont Elementary. Vinemont Middle claimed the Middle School competition, while Cullman Middle School was runner-up. In the high school division, Vinemont High School took first place, while Cullman High School placed second.
For information on St. Bernard Prep visit www.stbernardprep.com or call 256-739-6682. St. Bernard Prep is Alabama’s only Catholic Boarding School for grades 7-12.