SANTA ROSA — For 11 years, Alberto Trevino, Afterschool Centers on Education (ACE) project director and NASP-BAI certified instructor, began the archery program that has now opened the doors to more activities at the Santa Rosa Independent School District.

On Jan. 21, the program hosted a National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) instructor certification training. Nine people earned their NASP Basic Archery Instructor (BAI) certification and can begin teaching archery to school students.

“I started this a long time ago, however most recently we started competing at the state level,” Trevino said.

“The program started back in 2002 and has been all over the country now. It includes schools that are doing these programs. In addition, it is also an international event because other countries compete as well,” he said.

The training was part of the school district’s Outdoor STEM Youth Leadership Project funded by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Community Outdoor Outreach Program (TPW-COOP). One of the objectives of the TPW-COOP grant is to increase the number of lower Rio Grande Valley schools offering archery classes to students. Thanks to the training, Vanguard Academy and San Benito Consolidated Independent School District can begin offering an archery program at their schools.

“High school kids when they compete, they actually compete for scholarships. I want to say this year there is $30,000 worth of scholarships available for those competing on the state level,” he said.

Trevino said he has seen many students benefit from this non-traditional sport.

“This was initially designed to give another opportunity to traditional sports, by teaching them to focus through this activity and self control,” he said.

“Students have increased their self-confidence, improved their school attendance and raised their academic performance after being part of the school’s archery program,” Trevino said. “I’ve seen the self-esteem and self-confidence of students go through the roof when they hit the bullseye for the first time. Once students taste success, they want more of it.”

According to Burnie Kessner, archery coordinator for Texas Parks and Wildlife, Santa Rosa High School was one of the first schools south of San Antonio to participate in the state NASP tournament. SRHS has qualified for the state archery tournament the past three years.

Trevino said the school district will sponsor archery tournaments for NASP-certified schools as well as archery academies. It will also sponsor camping, hiking, kayaking, fishing and other outdoor activities throughout the school year and summer months.

“They learn how to set goals and how to apply those archery skills to set their individual goals. Our job when we do archery, we work with those that are not attending, that are not doing great in school. Through the program we work with them and provide academic support, archery is one of the components of the bigger picture,” Trevino said.

Some of the children he used to teach are not archery instructors. Trevino added the program is part of a Texas Wildlife grant which allows to expand the teachings further into the Valley.

“We are very proud of the archery program here at Santa Rosa. Like many extra-curricular activities, archery is not only fun, it offers lifelong benefits. It particularly helps students learn to focus and filter out distractions,” Superintendent Dr. Angela Gonzalez, said.