New Madrid County R-1 Middle School is the 600th school in the MoNASP program

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NEW MADRID, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) announces New Madrid County R-1 Middle School is the 600th school to participate in the Missouri National Archery in the Schools Program (MoNASP). MDC officials presented the school with a check for $1,500 and the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation (MCHF) presented the school with a $1,700 check, to cover costs of equipment for the program at a ceremony on Feb. 3.

“We are thrilled to be recognized as the 600th Missouri school to participate,” said Dr. Sam Duncan, New Madrid R-1 superintendent. “Our students and their parents are even more excited than the school personnel because it made them feel that they were a part of something really special.”

MoNASP is part of the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP). Eric Edwards, MDC MoNASP coordinator, said having 600 schools participating in the program puts Missouri as one of the top 10 states involved in NASP.

“MoNASP is proven to affect students’ attitudes about school, improve behavior and give the students a sense of belonging,” Edwards said. “Schools that conduct MoNASP contact me regularly to report a real positive change in their students after incorporating archery into their school curriculum.”

Edwards said one of the best things about having an archery program as part of school is the fun students have in the program, but MoNASP teaches more than archery shooting techniques. It teaches students to slow down and concentrate on the process. They must work on 11 prescribed steps to archery success.

“This ability they find in archery to concentrate and link the steps together carries over into the classroom and their school work,” Edwards said. “They must self-analyze what was good and what could have been better with each individual shot, which translates into their school work in that they must self-evaluate how they did on homework, quizzes and tests and decide what they could have done differently to provide a better result.”

Duncan said he’s impressed with the students’ response to the program.

“I believe that it builds a sense of self-worth and that it has great potential to impact nearly every student in our school regardless of their socio-economic status or physical ability,” Duncan said. He added that all 300 students at the middle school will eventually participate in the program, either through physical education classes or the after-school program.

More than 650,000 students in Missouri have participated in MoNASP since it started in 2007. MoNASP is a program for grades fourth through twelfth. Edwards said students involved in MoNASP get excited about going to school and want to be there because of the program. It helps students learn to work together and lets many students who are otherwise not involved in any other physical activity be part of a group. Many schools start archery clubs either before or after school to fit in extra practice in order to compete at a higher level at one of over 100 MoNASP tournaments. More than 2,400 archers will compete in the MoNASP State Tournament this spring in Branson.

Edwards said the truly special aspect of MoNASP is that any school and any student can participate.

“We have schools that have 30 students in the entire building do this program and schools that have well over 1,000 students participating,” Edwards said. “MoNASP can fit any school.”

“It is a great thing when you unlock the potential of collaboration among school and local, county, and state resources,” Duncan said. “We look forward to further collaboration as we develop this program to its fullest capacity over the weeks and years to come.”

MDC and the Conservation Federation of Missouri offer reimbursement grants to help schools purchase equipment and MDC provides NASP certification to any Missouri school teacher free of charge. More information about MoNASP can be found at