Talented teachers sometimes develop their own curriculum. Such is the case of the archery that is taught as part of the physical education curriculum at Toledo Middle School. Don Shaplow is nearly a life-long archer himself and was able to leverage his skills and knowledge for some high-quality archery equipment to be used at TMS.
Shaplow went through the “Archery in the Schools Program” and became a certified instructor, which led him to a grant by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The agency supplied a class set of "Matthew-Genesis" Bows. The Toledo Lions Club supplied arrows and Bob's Sporting Goods in Longview supplied a bow rack and "Buck" archery targets.
Shaplow teaches safety first and the kids stand at the ready, awaiting for his very commands to proceed.
"I am impressed with the way the kids have accepted the role and responsibility," said the middle school instructor. "There certainly seems to be more safety in this than teaching soccer."
Shaplow also has been mildly surprised by who some of his best archers end up being.
"Some of our best archers are non-athletes," he said. He also sneaks in that girls are more consistently among the highest scoring archers in the class.
One example of that is Kaeli Hirsch, who Shaplow points to as one of the top archers in his classes.
"Kaeli is an archery champ," he said proudly.
On Thursday, Hirsch nearly broke through with a standard not yet achieved this year. Shaplow had arranged for dessert to be served to the first archer to score 40 points. Hirsch counted 38 with her second spread.
"It's like a competition," said Hirsch of archery. "It is really fun."
Next to Hirsch, Micheal Flitton was taking aim at the same target and they took turns taking out the balloon on their board.
"Archery give you a lot of reasons to love the world," he explains. "Like hunting, and competition, it teaches you to be calm and respectful."
Calm is part of the curriculum vocabulary. It is also a stressed action word in the sport.
"Archery teaches you to calm down and have to focus on one spot, then shoot and try to hit that spot," contributed Hirsch.
Shaplow says that archery is one of several non-traditional sports taught by the TMS staff. He says that they will sporadically play golf and participate in the occasional game of modified Rugby.
One thing is for sure, the activity is right on target as now it has become a rite of passage for students in Toledo to learn archery at their middle school.
Toledo Middle School Students draw their bows during archery class taught by Don Shaplow, who has nearly 20 years of archery experience himself and is a certified instructor in the “Archery in the Schools Program.”
Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife donated a class set of bows while Bob's Sporting Goods of Longview donated this bow rack that is wheeled out for practice time.
Toledo Middle School Student Kaeli Hirsch aims her bow at targets about 20 meters away.
TMS students Michael Flitton (right) and Kaeli Hirsch (left) remove their arrows from their Buck targets, donated to TMS by Bob's Sporting Goods.