A Kentucky girl used to wear only black attire to school and wrote for 21 consecutive days in her diary: "No one spoke to me today."
A boy from a single-parent home had trouble establishing classroom stability because of frequent moves.
Both said the National Archery in Schools Program improved their self-esteem, which in turn boosted their overall academic experience. The girl graduated near the top of her class.
Roy Grimes and Tom Bennett, who launched NASP in Kentucky in May 2002, believe it particularly has benefited students who weren't involved in other school sports. Bennett is a former commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, and Grimes was a deputy commissioner.
Beginning with 21 Kentucky schools, NASP has expanded through much of the United States and into Canada and even Australia and New Zealand.
Tennessee's NASP participation has grown from 12 pilot schools in late 2004 to more than 100, from elementary to high school. Among those having high finishers at the 2008 state championships were schools in Meigs, Bledsoe, Cumberland and Warren counties.
More than 500 students are registered for the 2009 state event today at Tennessee Tech's Hyder-Burks Agricultural Pavilion in Cookeville. The national tournament is set for May 8-9 in Louisville, Ky.