The National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) has named Alexa Namphy, an 8th grader at Clark-Shaw Magnet School in Mobile, Alabama, as one of the top 10 Academic Archers in the U.S. For this honor, Alexa will receive a free Genesis bow and special Academic Archer arrows from Easton Archery.
The NASP Academic Archer program recognizes students who maintain high academic achievement while enjoying the sport of archery. Student archers are nominated by their coaches to be included in the program. Since the program began in 2015, Alabama has consistently ranked in the top five participating states. Alabama currently ranks fourth in the nation with 1,888 students registered in the program.
Keith Mattern, advanced 7th grade math instructor and archery coach at Clark-Shaw Magnet School, said Alexa is very deserving of the honor.
“Only 10 students are selected in the U.S. each year, and Alexa was the only student chosen from Alabama,” he said. “I was excited to hear that she was selected for the award.”
Alexa has been a member of the Clark-Shaw Magnet School archery team for three years and was in Coach Mattern’s advanced math class last year.
“She is the kind of student who always does her best, always seems to have a positive attitude, and is always a good classmate to her peers,” he said.
Alexa, who is currently learning remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said she was excited to receive the honor.
"It is great to be chosen as an Academic Archer," she said. "I think that this is a great way to end 8th grade."
As her 8th grade year concludes, Alexa's favorite subject is language arts and she plans to study music and art in college.
Learning her daughter was chosen as a top 10 Academic Archer was also welcome news to Alexa’s mom, Heidi Hall.
“I was very excited to find out she was selected," Hall said. “One day after school, Alexa told me that she won a spot to go to the state tournament this school year. But after COVID-19, the tournament was canceled. It was refreshing to have some good news.”
Alexa’s mom highly recommends archery to parents interested in getting their children involved with the sport.
“Archery is an exciting sport,” Hall said. “It challenges students to concentrate and focus. Since being involved with archery, Alexa’s confidence and ability to focus on tasks has increased. She has also been able to socialize with other students at her school and students from other schools during tournaments.”
In Alabama, the NASP is a joint venture between the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division (WFF) and the Alabama Department of Education.
“NASP is first and foremost an educational program,” said Michael Bloxom, WFF Regional Hunter Education Coordinator. “The shooting merely serves to teach and enhance the life and educational lessons learned in school. While not everyone will win a trophy or an award during a tournament, being an Academic Archer is something every NASP participant can strive to become.”
An additional perk of being nominated to be an Academic Archer is that some nominees will receive a scholarship during the annual Alabama NASP State Championship. In 2019, five students were randomly selected from a list of all registered Academic Archers who shot during the state tournament to receive a $500 scholarship.
Since the Academic Archer program began, WFF has made promoting it a priority. From educating teachers and coaches about how to sign-up their students to maintaining a current database of participating schools, WFF and Alabama’s educators have partnered to increase student participation in archery with a focus on education.
“We have promoted it from the beginning to our teachers as a way to reinforce educational achievements while using archery as a positive tool in that goal,” Bloxom said. “Alexa being chosen as one of the top Academic Archers in the U.S. was a nice surprise and a well-deserved honor for one of our Alabama students. Hopefully this recognition will help grow the program and increase our ability to recognize even more NASP students in the state.”
Academic Archer will open for nominations from teachers on September 1 for the 2020-21 school year. For more information on beginning the Academic Archer program at your school, please visit www.naspschools.org/opportunities/academic-archer.
To learn more about Alabama’s NASP, visit www.outdooralabama.com/programs/alabama-archery-schools.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through four divisions: Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com.