Students have taken aim at a new sport at Wauka Mountain Multiple Intelligences Academy and recently earned state recognition.
Wauka Mountain offers the only elementary-level archery class in Hall County.
"This is a very popular program," said Robert Parks, physical education teacher and archery coach.
Parks traveled with his students to a Georgia Archery in the Schools tournament in Perry last week, which drew more than 700 competitors.
Each student fired seven arrows, and about 100 archers from all grade levels competed at the same time.
"It sounded like fireworks had gone off," student Maggie Rogers said.
Rogers, 9, placed second among female third-grade archers and her classmate Maci Gillespie placed third in the same category.
Isaac Edwards, 9, came in third among male third-grade shooters.
It was the school's first trip to state, Parks said.
"It was a learning experience for us, and I am very proud of the way the students represented the school," he said. "We asked them to give their best effort and they exceeded that expectation."
Parks said archery was introduced at Wauka Mountain last December.
The program allows kids that may not be drawn to traditional sports to become more involved in athletics.
"Archery is a sport that's lifelong, and it's good for any age group," he said.
It's also fun for both genders, he added.
Maggie joined the class because of a family interest in archery.
"My dad does archery, and it's something I can relate to now," she said.
Parks said there's much more to archery than the physical nature. Like golf, it takes mental toughness.
"There's problem solving," Parks said. "If they're not shooting well, they might adjust slightly to shoot on target. That's not something that is taught' it's something they have to figure out."
To teach his lessons, Parks uses the National Archery in the Schools program. The students spend several weeks studying archery techniques and safety strategies before they pick up a bow and arrow.
"The students don't consider it a weapon; they consider it a piece of equipment," he said.
Parks said he hopes to expand the archery program this August and create a club for students interested in competing at state next year.