Fifth grade student transformed to fencing star

By Hanna Kimball


The plastic chairs of the auditorium began to fill with the students of Woodcliff Middle School. A hush fell over the room as the students heard the new opportunity that would be offered: taking fencing as a ninth period class.

With encouragement from his parents, David DeScherer enrolled into this program. He since has fallen in love with fencing through his many years of practice and matches. Now a Pascack Hills sophomore, David competes in a few different levels of fencing, even Division 1A- the level directly below Olympic qualification.

DeScherer originally went to the club offered to his middle school, but they soon got rid of his weapon, Sabre. Sabre is one of the three different fencing techniques. This method is much quicker than the other two, épeé and foil, because the fencer is able to receive points for touching their opponent with all sides of the blade. DeScherer said he was already “…way too far into this [to stop], so [he] may as well go to a different club…” He then found a club in Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J. that he still goes to today.

Practicing four to five days a week makes DeScherer able to make many friends. Since he practices at night, he is able to have both school friends and fencing friends. Overall, DeScherer’s  school friends support him, even if they do not know much about fencing. DeScherer’s friend, Abilio Cerdeira, said that even though DeScherer does not talk to his friends about fencing a lot, “it is pretty cool that he goes to national fencing tournaments.”

Besides the friendship, DeScherer enjoys fencing because “it is an individual sport that is just one person against another, so you really are like fighting for yourself.” This drives him to want to be the best fencer he can. He currently is ranked 45th in the national Cadet division.

Although DeScherer loves the competitiveness, he wishes there was less pressure. He said, “You’re fencing at a competitive level…and you want to do well so maybe you can even fence in college, or maybe even go to the Olympics. That’s the pressure that can kind of just mess with you.”

This pressure is evident especially at competitions, which DeScherer attends most weekends. He has gone to places such as Milwaukee, Detroit, Dallas and Cleveland because he mostly fences on the national level. Along with these far travels, comes the issue of missing school. However, David’s English teacher, Jamie Marootian, said that DeScherer always makes up his work on time.

Throughout the last six years, received support from his parents. However, his younger brother, Michael, does not always support him. DeScherer believes this is because “he used to [fence], and then he quit. So now he…thinks it is really stupid.”

The last six years have been filled with hard work that DeScherer hopes will pay of. While qualifying for the Olympics is a possible goal, he hopes more to be able to fence in college.

DeScherer believes people should fence because of the lessons learned through it, such as work ethic. He says that one reason fencing has been able to make an impact on his life is because “You become taught to do [things] for yourself and how to really make yourself better.”