Elite Series pros share fishing at after-school program

Darrin Schwenkbeck
Darrin Schwenkbeck

DUBOIS, Penn. — After school programs typically send their participants outside to play organized sports or indoors to let their creative juices flow through art projects and other mind-soothing activities.

Bassmaster Elite Series pros Paul Hirosky and Darrin Schwenkbeck put a new spin on that curriculum at a Pennsylvania school system when they introduced their sport and careers to the students.

On a recent Friday, the two pros spent their downtime sharing that experience and more at DuBois Middle School, located in the rolling hills northeast of Pittsburgh.

"I knew a teacher at the school and we thought it'd be a great way of sharing fishing with the kids there," said Schwenkbeck.

"It was an awesome experience," added Hirosky. "The program was opened up to other students and adults."

The connection between the anglers and students came from Project S.U.C.C.E.S.S., a grant program from the Pennsylvania Department of Education rolled out to school districts and agencies, including Cen-Clear Child Services.

The program provides academic, artistic and cultural enrichment opportunities to help students achieve their potential. To do that, the program coordinates special events and activities such as the event supported by the pros.

More than 200 students from schools throughout the DuBois district were bused to the middle school's football stadium, where Hirosky and Schwenkbeck took the stage from their personal wrapped boats used in the Elite Series competition. About 60 adults joined the group to learn more about the anglers' careers and fishing in general.

BASS provided materials for the participants to introduce them to the sport.

"The kids were really interested in what we do for a living," said Hirosky. "We went through our entire day on the water, from sunup to sundown and then after hours on the shoreline. We showed them how we prepare for each day, wrap each day and prepare for the next."

"The adults were really surprised who much time we spend in an average week," added Schwenkbeck. "They really had no idea that we drive across the country, from California to New York, to do this for a living."

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