Good Sports: Visually impaired archery students

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A handful of students aren't letting their visual impairment stop them from trying to become archery masters. (KFSN)

The Clovis Unified School District is teaming up with the surrounding community to ensure its students can do anything they set their minds to -- no matter the impairment he or she may face.

At first glance it doesn't make sense. How can anywhere from 10 to 20 visually impaired Clovis Unified students hit a moving target with a bow and arrow?

"We discussed it and we thought it would be a great idea. It's an opportunity for them to do something they may never have an opportunity to do, so we wrote a grant," said Lisa Fiorentino, teacher of the visually impaired.

But just watching for a few minutes it becomes clear: a unique collaboration between the school district, the Foundation for Clovis Schools Classroom Grant program and Fresno's Break the Barriers has given these archery students a chance to do something no one thought they'd ever accomplish.

"I've never really played sports in a while, and it just got me excited that I'm actually doing something that I enjoy," said Jordan Walker, an archery student.

"It just really kind of makes me feel warm inside just seeing how that social interaction, the confidence and the comradery when the kids are shooting. It really is warming to my heart," said Mike Fennacy with the Foundation for Clovis Schools.

Safety is always first priority in the archery room with verbal commands and whistles used to instruct the archers. If needed, a spotter stands behind the student for help loading, aiming and firing. Even world-class archers can't help but leave impressed.

"People reaching out to them, showing them hey there's other things you can do. Someone thought outside the box and said, 'Hey, these kids need to go try something new.' And that's the way we should be looking for our youth," 2012 Paralympics archery gold medalist Jeff Fabry said.

And for the students, the confidence and enjoyment they develop from getting even a single bull's-eye is priceless. Visually impaired, sure. But handicapped? Not in this room.

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sportsgood sportsgood newsclovis unified school districtClovisFresno - Northeast
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