A group of Stephens County elementary school students are in Kentucky competing in a national event.
Liberty Elementary School’s archery team has traveled to Louisville, Kentucky for the National Archery in the Schools National Tournament today and Saturday.
There, Liberty Elementary’s team of fourth and fifth graders will compete against teams from across the country ranging in age from fourth grade all the way up to high school.
Liberty Elementary Archery Coach Keith Foster said they made it to nationals after doing well in two previous competitions.
“We go to a regional competition which we went to and our school won,” said Foster. “After we go to regional, we go to state and even though we did not win, we placed high enough on scoring to qualify for nationals.”
According to Foster, this is the first time the team has made it to the national level, adding that the school had an individual make it one time previously.
He said the students have done a great job taking the skills they learned in practice and translating them into competition.
“You go to a state competition and there are these people watching you, sometimes nerves play a part,” said Foster. “While they were shooting state, I was sitting there and watching them shoot and I am looking at how the arrows are hitting on the targets and I am sitting there thinking about how am I going to get 18 kids to Louisville, Kentucky because they were really shooting good. What is amazing to me is some of these kids have never picked up a bow until we taught them in class.”
Foster also said he is proud of the students for the way they conduct themselves at the competitions.
“I am taking these kids to these competitions and their behavior is so good,” said Foster. “You see some of these other kids and they are jumping around, goofing off. In all of the years, I have been doing the archery, Stephens County’s kids are the ones doing what they are supposed to do. To me, it says a lot about the community.”
At the national competition, Liberty will be going up against nearly 7,500 student archers from 40 states.
Foster said he is grateful to the community for its support that is allowing this trip to happen.
“We have had yard sales, bake sales, and all these different things to raise money and I just want to thank everybody in Stephens County for supporting our archery team,” said Foster.
According to Foster, the National Archery in the Schools program, which sponsors these competitions, covers all schools that teach archery in the classroom.