I cannot think of anyone who has benefited more from the experience of NASP than Laura and Rebecca Wesson. Three years ago while serving as principal of Somerset High School, I worked diligently to offer the NASP program to interested students in an after school setting. I opened it to all grade levels and one of the students who showed up was an extremely shy, very quiet girl in glasses names Laura Wesson. I remember trying previously to make Laura talk to me in the hall and at ballgames where she played in the band. She was simply too shy to do so. When she appeared for our first practice, I wondered why she had made the effort knowing that she would have to interact and therefore speak to people. I do not remember how many arrows she shot, when it was finally her turn, but I remember that it was not many until she was smiling. Most, if not all, of her arrows were going where she wanted them to go. She left the first practice smiling.
Over the next few months I watched a transition from a shy sedate young lady to an excited encouraging positive young lady. Finally the time came to take the group of archers to the first ever NASP state tournament. It was late in the day when I discovered just how the scoring was going that I realized Laura was doing pretty well. It was just minutes before the announcements that I realized that Laura Wesson would be forever the first girl’s high school state champion!
Words cannot adequately express how this has impacted Laura since that day in Lexington. I hope you give her the chance to tell you what she does for everyone. Her story has appeared in numerous publications and newspaper articles. She is the biggest and best cheerleader on the team. Her grades and her future are looking good. She is simply one of my favorite people to encounter. There is always a hug, a smile and a “How are you doing” whenever I see her. Does NASP change people? It changed Laura Wesson.
Following the year when Laura won, her younger sister Rebecca appeared at practice. She was a tiny little thing who could not pull the bow back unless it was at very low in poundage. She participated regularly and soon found Laura’s enthusiasm and excitement. She was simply fun to be around as well.
It was last year at the NASP tournament in Louisville, that NASP bumped full force into Rebecca. Knowing that her shooting was steadily improving, I realized in Louisville that she had shot well enough to possibly make the shoot off for College Scholarship money. Later it was announced that she did. After hugging her and talking to her, I told her to simply do her best, breathe, and enjoy the moment. To make a long story short, everyone there gathered around to a final shoot off which put Rebecca against her cousin, State Champion Ashley Rose, and with the last arrow……Rebecca had won the shoot off! Her tears of joy have been captured in several pictures and her outlook was now even more positive. She is amazing in her personality. Her plans are to begin working on another repeat as a sophomore and following NASP, she will be competing in state 3D archery events. She too would be someone that NASP has definitely impacted in a positive way. If nothing more, the Wesson sisters are super ambassadors for the program!