BROOKSVILLE — The sun beat down on the Gulf Coast Middle School seventh-graders as they tried out their new compound bows at the Chinsegut Hill recreation area.
In front of them were targets toward which the arrows were flying, resulting in a remarkable number of hits.
The equipment was donated to the charter school by the National Archery in the Schools Program. If an instructor is trained by the program, the organization will provide the equipment, Gulf Coast field activities coordinator and teacher David Peitzman explained. He took the course, and the school got bows, arrows, targets and the protective sheet that is suspended behind the targets.
"One main reason we teach this is it's a lifelong sport and it teaches self-discipline, patience and attention to detail," Peitzman said.
Back at school, in social studies, he added, the students are studying medieval times.
The students were expected to total their scores (math practice) and, if they collectively achieved an adequate total, they would be able to stop for a treat on the way back to school.
The students were divided into three groups that took turns shooting.
"I actually love archery," said Amber Oliver, 12.
She said she has had some training outside of school, but really liked having it during school.
"Experiencing it in school, I think, is really cool, because it (helps increase) accuracy and it helps you throughout life," she said.
Ryan Styles, 13, said archery is a good sport to participate in at home, as long as it is done in a safe way.
Like Amber, Ryan has had some experience with bows and arrows.
"I hunt with bows," he said. "Archery is pretty useful. You can use it for home defense."
Darius Smith, 12, appreciated learning the sport at school.
"It's supposed to help you with survival and teach you new things that you might want to know," he said.
Caitlyn Stueber, 12, agreed with her friends about how archery can help with life.
"I think it's very useful," she said. "It's a technique that can be used in the woods if you have to find food."
Peitzman was assisted by Gulf Coast Middle's exceptional student education teacher, Tizzy Schoelles.