Harleton Archery: Aim and Fire!

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Desiree' Hayden, Staff Writer

Bullseye! Step back and let your marksmanship spark with the new Archery program. Harleton’s new after school activity, Archery, gets the youth involved in the craft of bows and arrows. Superintendent of Harleton ISD, Mr. Brian Gray, gives students the experience of learning archery this year. 

What started Gray’s passion of archery?  “I have been involved with archery for my entire life.  It has been a passion of mine and something I can do as I got older.  When I saw that TPWD, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, was starting a program for schools (I was a HS principal at the time.), I thought it would be great for my kids.” Soon after, he brought the sport to Harleton for more students to enjoy! 

Many Harleton students have been so excited to participate in the archery activity ran by the superintendent himself, Mr. Brian Gray. Many signed up to join in on all the fun and learning about what the sport had to offer and were ecstatic over the idea. “Harleton kids and the community [have] really been supportive. I have 177 kids signed up ages 3rd grade through 12th grade. It seems to be a big hit!” exclaimed Mr. Gray. 

With the amount of students he has, each one is talented and working really hard to do well–especially the young ones. “ The younger kids are doing great and are very excited about it and do a great job learning the basics of archery.” Gray is extremely proud of their success and the progress they have made as they make great leaps in educating themselves in their craft. 

Eventually, with more practice, the young archers will be able to participate in contests and tournaments. “There are NASP (National Archery in the Schools Program) events and various tournaments and so-forth. They have a State Championship Tournament in Belton, TX in March.  Harleton will do a couple of ‘virtual’ tournaments this year and perhaps go to 1-2 local events.” 

Though there are always hurdles to overcome, Mr.Gray is confident in his students’ shooting abilities, accuracy, and precision. Students have time to practice often as it is held every Wednesday after school in the elementary cafeteria. The elementary and junior high participants also have an advantage, getting the chance to practice in PE. 

“I think archery provides kiddos a lifelong sport/hobby that they can do for years.  It also teaches patience, concentration and focus. I think school-aged kids benefit from something at school that they enjoy and can look forward to and be a part of.” Archery is more than just a bow and an arrow, also inspiring self-discipline and confidence in oneself.