ARCHERY is now offered in Ag classes at Davis Public Schools. The curriculum began last week and all students are required to complete a Hunter Safety Course and learn the basics of the sport before taking the range. Next year, participating students could have the opportunity to compete at a state level.
By Alisha Thompson
Davis Public Schools Ag Teacher Brandon Sapp said that Ag class is taking a turn toward students not showing animals like they used to. Mr. Sapp is now teaching an Archery class with materials that were part of a grant he wrote with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife.
“Kids aren’t wanting to show livestock as much. The cost of animals, the cost of feed has decreased the number. With the economy, the people can’t afford it,” said Mr. Sapp. “I wanted to get kids involved in the Ag Program itself.”
Ag students started with Scholastic Shooting Sports (trap shooting) in the fall. He said that he didn’t have many participating but after word got out about the class, he’s scheduling a spring session of Shooting Sports.
Looking for other ways to engage students or entice them to be a part of Ag class next year, he started the Archery in the Schools archery program with students. Before starting any shooting sport, Mr. Sapp said all of his Ag students have taken the Hunter Safety Course (Mr. Sapp is a certified instructor and the class is a requirement for the Department of Education to be taught in schools.) He said they did a refresher before they started Archery started.
Archery began last week. Students are closely monitored by Mr. Sapp and consistently encouraged to follow rules of archery.
Ag student and FFA Officer Lilly Keenan is excited about the new skill she’s learning and she’s pretty good at it a week into the class. “All of the supplies were donated to our class,” she explained “Our Ag Mech class put together the safety nets.”
With no experience prior to this class Keenan is excited about what she’s learning and feels she’s pretty good. Mr. Sapp said she hit a bullseye her first time shooting. Ty Hillis is another student in the class who had natural ability and had no clue until he started learning to shoot.
“My cousin lives in Kentucky and shoots in competitions,” he explained. “I haven’t shot before. I’ve only watched videos. I’ll send him pictures of class. It’s fun.”
In one week, students are coming in during Encore to practice. “There are advanced courses,” explained Mr. Sapp. “Some kids start shooting in schools in third grade so they have developed a course called Varsity Archers. In this program they use a similar bow with a release and sights.”
There is no test for students to qualify in shooting. There is a state wide competition. Davis students won’t compete this year but the possibility is there for next year with increased interest and participation. Students who choose to participate in this program are eligible for college scholarships, just like any other extra-curricular.
“Kids can join Ag without it all having to be about animals. It’s not,” Mr. Sapp explained. “We are so diverse now. That is our background and what we live. My hope is for kids to get kids involved and this is a start with a new class to offer.”