When Athletic Director Joseph Stark introduced his love of archery to students at Bullis Charter School this year, he hit the bull’s-eye.
“It was a passion of mine,” said Stark, who joined the staff in the fall. “It is something I learned and love, and I know it is accessible to a lot of students, so I thought I should bring it to Bullis.”
Stark taught archery during regular physical education classes, then began to offer it as an afterschool sport.
“Our afterschool athletics program is built around the community interest at our school,” he said. “Archery has been at the top of that list for a long time.”
Participation has been solid, according to Stark, with approximately 60 students enrolled in the afterschool program and 20 regularly attending.
The charter school designed its archery program with National Archery in the Schools (NASP) standards in mind, emphasizing safety and proper technique.
“It’s the second-safest sport behind pingpong,” Stark said. “It may not seem like it, because you are using bows and arrows, but we emphasize safety and steps to succeed.”
Stark trained students to participate in the NASP California Archery Tournament, which requires them to shoot 15 arrows from a distance of 10 meters and 15 from 15 meters. More than 20 students competed in the tournament, individually and as a team. Bullis Charter School eighth-grader Skyler Rosenberg placed third overall with a score of 281.
Archery became one of Skyler’s passions after Stark launched the sport at school. Skyler enrolled in the afterschool program and pursues it outside of class as well.
“I think archery is special because it is one of the sports that is really accessible to everyone,” Stark said. “You are not really held back by any disability – you don’t have to be the most athletically gifted in the world. A lot of it is about patience, focus and concentration.”
Skills learned through archery can be used in everyday life, he added.
“You go out every day and try to better yourself,” Stark said. “There are a lot of kids who understand that. They set their own goals and you see the excitement when they actually reach one.”
Stark said he is fortunate to work at a school that allows him to share his interests with the students.
“You can really see how my passion is reflected in the students’ growth throughout the year – I am lucky to have that,” he said.