Picayune students learn archery
Twenty-six students at Picayune High School were introduced to a new competitive sport this year thanks to a program called Archery In Mississippi Schools.
Archery coach and Picayune Career and Technology Center teacher Jason Childs said he found out about the program a few years ago, but it wasn’t until this year that the program became a reality.
After only a month of practice, the team took first place at last week’s competition at Hancock High School. Childs said the team won by 120 points.
Childs said the bows students use are compound bows, but unlike hunting bows, there are no mechanical releases or sights to help with aim.
“It’s very low tech and it’s a very level playing field,” Childs said.
All students across the state use the same bow model.
Childs said archery is a sport where physicality is not an advantage. Instead the key is being consistent.
“What we do and how the kids shoot the bow is more mental than anything else,” Childs said.
Childs said the archery team and bowling team provide options for high school students to get more involved in the school.
Archery team member Gloria Antoine said she was interested in joining the team because it was something new.
Austin Mitchell said his family bow hunts, but he was always too small to participate. He said the archery team is his way to learn how to use a bow and arrow and he loves it.
“I like being able to do something that requires a skill and see how far you’ve grown and get better as you go along,” said Jaden Hendrix.
For some of the students it is their first time learning archery and for others, it’s a way to be involved and continue to improve their bow hunting skills.
Safety is very important to Childs so he makes sure the students are always taking proper precautions. He explained students shoot on whistle commands and are not allowed to nock their bow or shoot the arrow until commanded. Students are not allowed to retrieve their bows until everyone has finished shooting and Childs instructs them they can.
Childs said the students take archery and safety very seriously.
The team will compete again on Thursday and will also compete in the South State qualifying competition on March 18.
According to Archery In Mississippi Schools, 217 schools across the state have implemented an archery program and more than 20,000 students participate per year.
“I think this is going to keep getting bigger,” Childs said.
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