Before their regular meeting the school board also swore in Nate Burkhart as a new school board member. They also did their yearly elections with Michele Peterson elected school board president, Tyler Mitchell vice president, Gina Mitchell secretary and Tyler Kyffin treasurer.
On Monday, Nov. 25, during Sargent’s school board meeting, Tom Nichols came before the board with more information about the proposed trap shooting team. Nichols told board members that he had been approached by about 20 students who are interested in participating on the team. The students asked Nichols if he would be willing to lead their trap team if they got one going. Nichols has agreed to help with the program and shared with the board some research he has done.
Nichols said if the program is started it would join the same league that Del Norte and Sangre De Cristo trap teams are members. They would have to coordinate with the two schools to have competitions. The competitions would be held in the spring. “The last day to sign up to be part of the league is March 23. We’ll need to have all our athletes in by that time,” Nichols explained.
They already have a partnership with the Rio Grande Sportsman’s Club which is located between Monte Vista and Del Norte. They will be able to hold their practices there on Fridays after 4 p.m. Nichols told the board. He explained that for every 10 students in the program they will have to have one coach. Nichols said that a couple of qualified people have already shown interest in helping coach the team.
“I’m a shooting enthusiast and I know that safety is a No. 1 priority. To be on this team, and to be part of this league, you either have to have your hunter’s safety certification or you must be certified through the league. They have an online course for students that costs $25,” said Nichols.
Nichols shared with the board about how those involved with the team would go well and beyond the universal laws of firearm handling making gun safety their biggest priority. “This league has been going since 2001, there hasn’t been a single accident for athletes or spectators so it’s a very safe sport. Within the league we’d be covered under the league’s liability insurance. All coaches, trainers, and student athletes would be covered with the league’s insurance,” said Nichols adding that all the instructors must go through an eight hour online training.
If they are unable to get sponsors for the team and it has to be 100 percent student funded the cost to students participating would be $250. This would cover the cost of shells, clay pigeons, uniforms and the time to participate in the sport. Nichols said that they would use the school’s name and would like to make it a varsity sport that students could letter in. “There’s no bench warmers in this sport everybody gets 50 shells, or 25 shells a round, and they shoot two rounds in competition. No matter your skill level, you get the same opportunity to compete. It’s very competitive, and there’s no participation trophies given out, but everybody still gets the same opportunity to show what they’ve got,” said Nichols.
All of the teams are invited to participate in the state competitions. There they take the top 75 to 80 percent of the team’s score and those athletes move onto nationals. If they make it to the national level, they have the possibility of going even farther as Olympic recruiters go to those events.
The board made and approved a motion to approve the request to get the trap team started at Sargent.
Another exciting new program that was approved at the meeting is Sargent’s aviation stem program. The program would qualify as a vocational program. The school is hopeful that offering the program will give their students an exciting start into a field with many career opportunities.
The new aviation program that they hope to start would be one of the few high school aviation programs offered in the state of Colorado.
Rebecca Copley is a San Luis Valley native who covers news stories in the Monte Vista, Colorado area. She can be reached by email at [email protected]