When first asked to write down success stories that directly relate with the Archery in the Schools Program I was at a loss, not because I couldn’t think of any but because I didn’t know which one to choose. After careful and exhausting thought I would like to tell you about Michael Shaw.
Michael Shaw is an 8th grade student that has been a member of the South Middle School Archery Team for two years. Michael arrived at South on a trial basis from Central Learning Center, an alternative school, where he had been a student for 3 years. His placement at this school was due to his disruptive behaviors in the classroom and blatant disrespect for authority.
Michael had expressed an interest in bow hunting to the teachers at Central when they began to make plans for Michael to return to South, I was called and asked about the Bulldog Archery Team. The teachers at Central thought that this would help him with his transition back to a regular classroom. I agreed to meet with Michael and explain the rules and what it would take for him to be a part of the team. Michael became very excited and proved to be an outstanding archer. His grades improved from a 2.0 to a 2.7 and his behavior was outstanding; during archery season (6 months) he had only one office referral. Teachers were so impressed that a recommendation was made that he be allowed to come for a full day instead of half a day. It seemed as things where finally headed in the right direction for Michael.
Unfortunately after our National competition, his teachers noticed a drastic change in his moods and his attitude toward his school work. They came to me and asked when archery was going to start again; this seemed to be the only thing that he cared about.
The next year Michael didn’t even try out for the team and his year was a disaster, His parents called and asked me to talk him into trying out for the team just to regain his focus, but he refused and had one of the worst years possible. He had even been recommended to return to CLC. At this point I had finished with football and was asked by his transition teacher to speak with him about archery, I did and to my surprise Michael showed interest and said that archery was the only thing that made him come to school and that he had made a mistake by not trying out for the team. I made a deal that if he got his act together he would be allowed to participate in archery next year. His attitude changed, his grades improved and his mom was overjoyed.
This year Michael is an 8th grader and one of our team leaders. Michael has maintained a 3.0 grade point average with no office referrals. His parents where so pleased that they rewarded Michael with his own bow, something he cherishes dearly. He has a younger brother that wants to shoot; I overheard Michael telling him that he must stay out of trouble and keep his grades up in order to be a part of the program.
This is just one of many success stories that are a direct result of the Archery in the Schools program. I must admit in the beginning I thought that this program would never last but after positive experiences like this one and several others, I know that it will. We currently have a competition team and an archery club. Students come from all backgrounds. The Archery program provides an opportunity for good clean fun in a competitive environment and gives students a sporting activity they can enjoy for lifetime.