Students at Rocky Heights Middle School hit the mark
Article and photo by Amy Shanahan
Archery is a sport that has become more mainstream, thanks to its popularity at the Olympics and to the impact of “The Hunger Games” books and movie. Rocky Heights Middle School (RHMS) is proud to be the only school in Douglas County, and the only middle school in the greater Denver area that offers Archery as an after school club.
Seventh grade language arts teacher Rodney Graham participates in other shooting sports and has always been fascinated by archery. Graham applied for a grant through the Easton Sports Development Foundation, and received $10,000 in archery equipment for RHMS. Graham and seventh grade social studies teacher Dave Callaway received their certification as instructors, and the school will be adopting archery as one of the focuses of the seventh grade P.E. curriculum.
The RHMS archery club began this fall, and immediately filled up with approximately thirty members. The club meets once a week and practices inside the school’s “base camp” during cold weather, and outside on the field during warmer weather.
Sixth grade student Daren Writer is a member of the club, and knew he wanted to be a part of it as soon as he learned about the opportunity. “I’ve always loved working with bows; it’s a part of my family’s history. I also like the sense of responsibility that goes along with it,” he remarked.
The Easton Foundation sponsors the Olympic Archery in Schools (OAS) program, as a method of promoting archery among youth, with the intent of developing future Olympic team members. This Junior Olympic program organizes inter-school archery leagues and competitions, and RHMS will proudly host the state archery tournament on April 20.
Graham is thrilled with the positive response that the club has received from RHMS and also from the larger community. “Archery is a sport that so many kids are interested in. It’s amazing to see kids with such diverse interests coming together as a team and making new friendships,” remarked Graham. “As far as what this means for our district, my hope is that archery becomes a program in all of our schools. I’m seeing how much our RHMS archers are enjoying this opportunity and the goal should be to extend this opportunity to the rest of the Douglas County community. The nice thing is, with a school district that embraces innovation, I’m feeling very encouraged that our goal is attainable.”