Archery in the Schools continues to expand in Oklahoma.
Now in its fifth year in Oklahoma, Archery in the Schools is a national program that began in Kentucky where international-style archery is taught in physical education classes from fourth to 12th grades.
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation administers the program and because of its growth in state schools, just hired a full-time Archery in the Schools coordinator.
Justin Marschall, who taught elementary school science in Yukon, began his new job just eight days ago.
Each spring, there is a statewide “Archery in the Schools” tournament where the winners advance to the national competition. In May, Oklahoma had its first two national champions in Archery in the Schools – Kolt Perkins of Zaneis Elementary in Wilson and Merideth Noland of Chickasha.
In Oklahoma, 183 school districts are now teaching archery through the program. Most of the schools that participate are rural schools where there is a strong tradition of hunting and the outdoors.
But more suburban schools are getting involved, such as Moore. Earlier this month, Houchin Elementary in Moore held its second annual archery meet for the three elementary schools in Moore that are teaching archery.
“We would like to see the other 18 elementary schools (in Moore) adopt this program,” said Edgar Fowkles, the physical education instructor at Houchin.
Fowkles raves about Archery in the Schools, saying it has raised the self-esteem of students. His students now look forward to physical education classes and there are fewer absences.
Student grades also have improved, since no one gets to participate in archery if they are making failing grades or behind in school work, he said.
Houchin holds an archery meet to help raise funds to expand the program to second and third graders.
Below are the results of this year’s Houchin Archery in the Schools meet.
Fourth Grade Boys: 1, Ian McKenzie; 2, Spencer Vasquez; 3, Riley Mize.
Fourth Grade Girls: 1, Baylee Brown; 2, Sheridan Stafford; 3, Jaydon Patchin.
Fifth Grade Boys: 1, Jason Bates; 2, Colby Evans; 3, Dayne Taylor and Dustin Ryker.
Fifth Grade Girls: 1, Jennifer Starwalt; 2, Kayci Grigsby; 3, Jane Park.
Sixth Grade Boys: 1, Tayler Brewer; 2, Logan Holt; 3, Cory Munds.
Sixth Grade Girls: 1, Sarah Starwalt; 2, Morgan Weidenmaier; 3, Ashley Gomez.
To learn more about Archery in the Schools, call Marschall at 522-1857.