Students are developing their archery skills thanks to a program being run by physical education teacher Gary Minaudo at Tuugaalik High School in Naujaat.
Minaudo, who hails from the Windsor, Ont., area, said he has also spent time living in Arviat and Chesterfield Inlet, but Naujaat is the first chance he’s had to teach high school physical education.
He said a bit of hunting back in Ontario represents his background in archery, and he only began teaching high school archery when he moved to Naujaat this past year.
“Archery seems to be pretty big in the North,” said Minaudo.
“They had archery in the schools at Chester and Arviat when I was there, but I was never the phys-ed teacher when I was in those communities. So, I’m just trying to teach the Naujaat students a little bit about archery while trying to relate it to their culture, mainly through hunting, and the kids really love it.”
Archery is taught to students from Grades 7 to 12 at Tuugaalik.
Minaudo said the students are very receptive to the instructions they receive and they’ve become quite good.
He said a number of them are naturals with the bow and arrow, especially among the high school students who’ve been at it for the past few years.
“Even some of the kids in the younger grades are pretty impressive at it.
“It can be hard at first for some of them – getting the fingering right and learning the technique – but it can even be very difficult for some of our older staff members to get the technique down pat.
“So, overall, our kids are pretty impressive for how good they are.
“I don’t know if archery is any easier for youth to learn, but maybe youth are just more receptive to a teacher teaching it to them.”
Minaudo and his fellow staff members at Tuugaalik invited the staff members from Tusarvik School down for a little friendly competition on Oct. 18.
He said it was an overall competition, not school against school, and the best shots walked away with a few prizes.
“It was just kind of a team-building exercise with all the staff members,” he said. “We set up a little tournament board and the first six places got a little prize. We shot some arrows, everybody had
a really great time and nobody got punctured.
“I always teach safety as much as possible before anyone even touches a bow.”