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Students Learn Discipline Through Archery

Jessi and Cody
Archery competitors Jessi and Cody pose with their bows. (Photo Credit: Melanie Foehrweiser)

Under the Springfield Public School system, there’s a place for students who learn best through non-traditional means.  Some are there because they’ve caused trouble in their original schools; but most are there because they’re working through social or academic issues. 

For many students at Pepperdine Learning Center, the last bell means work is over. For the students in Pepperdine’s Archery Program, however, their work has just begun. KSMU’s Melanie Foehrweiser had a chance to visit with members of the team and has this report.

Twice a week in the Pepperdine Cafeteria you can find a team of 13 students. But they aren’t eating; they’re practicing, because what looks to be an ordinary cafeteria is easily transformed into an archery field.  

[Sound:  curtain being pulled back]

Don Provance, one of Pepperdine’s Archery coaches, pulls a ceiling-high, beige curtain across part of the cafeteria to section it off.  He says archery is a sport for everyone.

“Any kid can shoot. There just are no restrictions. A lot of times in football or basketball, you need to be a big person or a real strong person, or in track you need to be real fast or whatever. That’s one of the things I really like about it is that any…any of these kids can do it,” he said.

Two members of the team I talked to were evidence of this. Jessi, a 6th grade girl, is 4 foot, ten inches tall, while Cody, an 8th grade boy, is over six feet tall. Provance says the two can even use the same bow with just a minor adjustment.

While the equipment may be the same for everyone, their reasons for joining are very different. Jessi joined for a new experience.

“I got involved because I never shot bow and arrows before and, well, I wanted to shoot them. So I told my grandma to sign me up.  And I got signed in and now it’s really fun to shoot bow and arrows, and your friends are there and they cheer on for you," she said.

Cody joined because of familiarity with the sport.

“I got involved because my uncle, he has a bow and arrows and stuff, but he goes hunting,” Cody said.

Provance says the structured nature of the sport is great for students.

“It really teaches responsibility and discipline. We make sure that they’re very safe,” said Provance.

He says the rules are very precise and must be followed.  If they don’t follow the rules, students run the risk of having to sit out. Their practices are a regiment of responding to commands given by whistle.

The Pepperdine Archery Program is part of the National Archery in the Schools Program.   

The Pepperdine team is preparing to compete in the Southwest Regional Tournament which will be held Saturday at Willard Middle School. Provance said Cody was the team’s best shooter last year, and both Cody and Jessi are expected to do well at the tournament this weekend.

For KSMU News, I’m Melanie Foehrweiser.