Our archery program officially started in the Spring of 2017. We fielded our first team the following year and had two fifth grade boys qualify for the state tournament and it was an unforgettable experience. Our principal was so excited, as was the entire district and community, and she set a goal to take a busload of kids the following year. The next school year arrived and we had more kids interested in archery. We fielded a team of 24 4th and fifth graders and from day one, we talked setting SMARTER goals. I learned about SMARTER goals through USA Archery as a Level 3 NTS Coach and was really excited about applying some of the new ideas and techniques to our students here at Patlan. Our big goal at the top of the whiteboard in the gym was "Qualify as a TEAM for the State Archery Tournament." Every week, we met as a team to discuss the steps required to reach our team goal and then set personal goals for each on of our archers. January came and we nervously watched as our kids put forth their best effort at our State Qualifier. I was nervously excited and optimistic as I submitted their scores and then the wait began.
Tears flowed with the email finally arrived and I was able to announce to our kids that they had attained the goal they set way back in September. Patlan Elementary was going to the Texas State Archery Tournament for the first time ever as a team. The email server lit up as news travelled around the district and community that our little elementary school was going to a state level competition. There were newspaper and radio interviews, businesses reached out and offered financial support so we could pay for the tournament and transportation fees.
A few days before we left for Belton, this email went district wide. I still tear up when I read it and remember the sendoff we received the day we left.
"Good morning Seguin ISD,
Over the years, Seguin High School teams heading out of town for playoff games have done so with a grand send-off of well wishers including Matador Band and Cheer adding to the pomp and circumstance.
Tomorrow morning, if you are available, please attend a send-off for the 22 members of the Patlan Elementary School Archery Team as they board a bus to compete in the State Archery Tournament in Belton. The send-off will take place at 8:15 a.m. in front of Patlan Elementary (2501 Breustedt St.). In keeping with tradition, Matador Cheer and Band will be there in support of these students.
The team is currently ranked 15th in the state of Texas for their age class! Best of luck at state, Patlan Archers. We are proud of you!
The day we left, our principal sequestered us all in the gym with all of our equipment and were told that they had a surprise in store and the superintendent was here. The coaches knew about the send off, but none of us, in our wildest dreams, could have expected the send-off that our kids received. As we rounded the corner to head down the main hallway into the front foyer, we found the foyer packed with all of the classes at Patlan Elementary. They had made good luck signs and the kids were cheering. Then I looked outside and saw the bus....and the high school band, and the cheerleaders, and the central office staff. I had to step back and compose myself because I was shaking. What a send-off they threw our kids!! The band played the fight song over and over as we loaded the bus. Kids were hanging out the windows waving. They were rockstars.
They shot well. Some shot their personal best for the year. Some didn't. But it didn't matter. The experience was what was important and they were all winners that day. The cherry on top of this magnificent cake was the group picture that we took. I was getting kids lined up and when I finally turned around to smile, the number of family members that were gathered around us took my breath away. There were easily twice as many family members there as there were student archers. I'm sure our attendance rate was horrible that day because all their younger brothers and sisters were there too! THAT is what it is all about.
This year it looks like both grade levels are wanting to sign up for the archery team after we finish our safety orientation and fire our first shots. We are looking at over 100 students in the program this year. There were also 14 new teachers from Seguin ISD that came to summer BAI classes and were certified as archery instructors for their respective campuses here in the district. Changing lives - one arrow at a time.