The Duncan Banner
The National Archery in the Schools Program has continued to grow ever since teacher Misti Mitchell-Bain brought it to Comanche schools five years ago.
This past Saturday, Comanche hosted a tournament, at which nearly 250 students from throughout southwestern Oklahoma attended. It was the largest turnout at the Comanche tournament, now in its third year.
While many were from Stephens County schools such as Comanche, Empire and Bray-Doyle, there were students from Lawton, Ringling and a number of private schools participating.
Mitchell-Bain said that there is a lot of work involved with not just the program, but putting on such a tournament, and that she does it for the kids.
“You do this for the love of the kids,” she said. “My kids love archery and this is why I do it.”
She added the many parent volunteers are important to ensuring the event runs smoothly.
“I could not do this without parent help,” Mitchell-Bain said. “That’s what continues the archery program here.”
The National Archery in the Schools program is designed to promote archery and the outdoors to students. Mitchell-Bain said it gives students another activity they can try, besides what is usually offered at school. The program is not funded by the school and all money is raised through fundraisers and donations.
Program instruction, though, must take place during the school day. It usually takes place during a physical education class. There are two weeks of such instruction, then tryouts are held to determine the teams.
During competitions, participants shoot three rounds at 10 meters and three rounds at 15 meters. One shot is worth up to 10 points, making 50 the maximum score an archer may earn per round.
A team may have up to 16 members, but Mitchell-Bain said she takes additional students to tournaments as alternates. During Saturday’s competition, Comanche’s elementary team had 20 participants, the middle school team had 18 and the high school team had 10. Mitchell-Bain said that participation isn’t as high at the high school level, because there are many other activities available to those students.
“As they get older, they have more things that take up their time,” she said. “But my elementary and middle school programs are very strong.”