August 7, 2004
To Whom It May Concern:
I am a special education teacher at Trigg County Middle School in Cadiz, Kentucky. Over the past two years, I have had the opportunity and privilege to observe and assist Special Needs students in the Trigg County Archery program. I can say wholeheartedly that this is the most beneficial sports program I have ever witnessed.
I have watched students who have previously experienced little success in their lives become champions in the eyes of their peers and community. Participating with their non-disabled peers allows my students to experience inclusion in a way that is difficult to achieve in the classroom. Additionally, archery helps these individuals to improve motor skills, acquire self-discipline, and refine thought processes. These newly acquired skills transfer to the classroom and are evidenced by academic success, increased self-esteem, and improved behavior.
A shining example of this is a young man who recently lost use of his hand in a gun accident. Archery was so important to him that he asked his doctors to rebuild his hand to hold his bow. Within months of his accident, he became top high school shooter in the nation. He claimed the title again this year and has since been approached by Olympic officials.
Another example is a middle school student who has severe learning, communication, and motor difficulties. His newly acquired archery skills and enthusiasm helped his team place second in the 2004 Nationals. On his own, he achieved academic excellence and received numerous school awards for classroom performance. He is truly a champion in the eyes of his peers.
These are only two of the many examples I could give. I have been so moved by the successes of my students, that I have learned to shoot a bow and taken training to become a coach despite a lack of athletic interest or involvement throughout my lifetime. I will continue to encourage all of my students to join the archery club.
Special Education Teacher
Trigg County Middle School