Hmong College Prep Academy’s Fishing Club was recently awarded a $5,000 grant from The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources No Child Left Inside grant program. According to the DNR website, “The No Child Left Inside program aims to support and increase efforts to expand programming that connects youth to the outdoors. Funded by the 2019 Minnesota Legislature, these grants are provided for outdoor environmental, ecological, and other natural-resource-based education and recreation programs serving youth.”
“Being that many of our students actively participate in outdoor activities, we are very excited about being selected for this DNR grant,” stated HCPA Athletic Director Sam Malone. “It will help to offset the club’s first year expenses which include terminal tackle, team jerseys and rod building supplies.”
Besides fishing, club members will participate in a number of other activities associated with the sport including knot tying, fish cleaning and wildlife management practices. In addition, membership will feature a community service component where participants will take part in clean-up activities, teaching the sport to younger people and volunteering with the Minnesota DNR. Members are also expected to keep up with their studies.
“Besides fishing, a main club objective is to encourage club members to become good stewards of the outdoors,” added Mr. Malone.
“Initial work began in the fall of 2018 when a group of students wanted to start an outdoor club, something different from the traditional clubs typically seen in high school,” explained HCPA’s Elementary Dean of Students and club adviser Xao Xiong. “Due to timing, funding was unfortunately not available, and the club’s first motion was put to rest. In 2019, another student focused the initial club’s idea on fishing which was ultimately approved. One thing is for sure… we’re looking forward to getting out in the water this fall.”
Throughout the country, fishing is becoming one of the fastest growing high school participation sports. In 2019, more than 2,000 Minnesota students took part in their school’s fishing club. Mr. Xiong estimates there are approximately 15 students who plan to be members of the HCPA Fishing Club.
“The credit goes to the students for reaching out for something they are interested in,” he added. “They put in the effort to take an idea to the next level and made it a reality! I am proud of our students for making the effort to promote an activity they love and turning it into an educational group activity that all can enjoy together. In fact, I tell students all the time about taking advantage of such opportunities. They need to learn to run with, learn from and make the best of it.”
Hmong College Prep Academy is located at 1515 Brewster Street in St. Paul, southeast of the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. For more information about the school, interested parties can call 651-209-8002 or online at www.hcpak12.org. The school is currently enrolling students for the 2020-2021 school year.
Images provided by Hmong College Prep Academy. Members of Hmong College Prep Academy’s Fishing Club show off their catch. The club was recently awarded a grant from The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.