AthleticsDec 3, 2020

updated Aug 9, 2021

Archery lessons take off in term two

When athletics re-started in the fall of 2020, a new activity joined the roster: archery!

(David Smith)

The newest athletic option at Miss Hall’s is also an ancient one.

Twelve archers took to the range (way out on the MHS fields!) in the fall of 2020, under the tutelage of Science Department Chair Donna Daigle, herself an archer. There, they learned the basics of the sport and fired away!

“Our objectives are first, safety; second, fun; third, competence,” explains Ms. Daigle. “I want the students to develop a sense of confidence in their bodies, and you can see that happening. It is such an empowering, beautiful sport. I am also hoping to add a cultural piece to the program, specifically around female archers.”

Archery was to return to MHS (see photos!) in the spring of 2020, but the pandemic delayed that until classes resumed on campusin October 2020. Ms. Daigle had been interested in teaching archery for some time, but it was a sport she did not think she could do.

“I’ve always had a fascination with archery, especially because it has such a rich cultural heritage on every continent,” Ms. Daigle notes. “I have a strong personal interest in the archery of China, Mongolia, Japan, and Korea, and I’ve always been fascinated with indigenous peoples’ archery. I had watched various forms of archery, but I never thought I could be an archer, because of paralysis in my left arm. That all changed after a conversation I had with a competitive archer. She convinced me to try. That was so empowering for me, learning to do a sport I never thought I could do.”

“For me, it’s not about being an excellent archer, it’s about simply being an archer, and I was excited to share that mindset with the students,” she notes, adding that the sport is a welcome and soothing distraction during a global pandemic. “There’s a stillness that you have to reach in order to shoot properly, and it is such a great way to escape the stressors that get at you. It is definitely better than watching television.”

Two of Ms. Daigle’s talented young archers talk about their experiences!

Hazel Grallert ’21

How long have you been an archer? “I started archery during the spring/summer of 2020. I was planning on doing archery as my sport, and then COVID-19 happened, so I wasn't able to do it. My mom ended up getting me a bow and some arrows along with a target.”

Why did you sign up for archery? “I did it during the summer of 2020, and it was so much fun. I thought I would do it in the fall to keep the muscle memory strong.”

What do you enjoy most about archery? “I like the rhythm of it and the repetition. It's calming and a way to take my mind off everything.”

What would you tell another student who asks about what it's like to do archery? Try it, even if you think you might not be good at it, because you learn, and it's fun, even if you're just messing around.

Maddie Tillem ’24

How long have you been an archer? “I have done archery before on occasion, but I’ve never had the opportunity before to do it regularly. I believe the first time I did archery I was on a school trip in 4th grade, but I didn’t practice again for two years and basically forgot all the skills I’d acquired, so it’s nice to be able to practice weekly.”

Why did you sign up for archery? I remember really liking it last time I did it. I’m not too interested in team sports, so it was great to have an alternative that I enjoyed.

What do you enjoy most about archery and what would you tell another student who asks about what it's like to do archery? I would say give it a try! It’s a super relaxed, non-competitive environment, and Ms. Daigle is always there to help if you need it. Even in two weeks, I was able to see myself go from not hitting the target at all to hitting it more than half of the time. Overall, it was extremely fun, and I definitely improved a lot!”

Then .... and Now!