LA JARA — The archery program at Centauri Middle School has a reason to celebrate. Thanks to a generous grant through the Friends of the NRA Foundation, students have new archery equipment and a storage container to keep them in.
Paige Fringer has taught archery at Centauri Middle School for 28 years. In the beginning, she used bows like the ones Native Americans had. Students used to shoot into straw bales.
With the grant money, Fringer was able to buy 20 high-quality Mathews Archery compound bows, along with 20 bullseye targets, arrows, arm guards, bow maintenance equipment, and a watertight, safe storage container to put everything in.
The purpose of the grant is to educate people about firearms history and use and promote shooting sports, marksmanship, and hunting and firearms safety. Archery is an excellent way to introduce people to the safe handling and understanding of shooting, and firearms, Fringer said.
Fringer is a certified archery trainer with a national organization called NASP — National Archery in the Schools program — that teaches teachers how to teach archery in schools. Fringer bought the new equipment through NASP.
Archery is one of the most popular sports at Centauri Middle School.
“Anyone can do it,” Fringer said. “Special-needs children, students in wheelchairs, boys and girls."
The classes are growing every year. Safety is paramount. The students learn to wait until everyone has shot their bow before retrieving their arrows and watch to be aware of their surroundings.
There are different types of bows for different activities. Bows used in schools are not as hard to pull back and are easier to use. A different type of bow is used for hunting.
The archery class is offered in spring and fall to sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders. Centauri Middle School is the only school in the area with an archery program, according to Fringer.