MOORE, Okla. - When 13-year-old Lexi Farnsworth picked up her first bow and arrow, she had no idea how much her life would change.
She and her fellow archery team members would be under the mentorship of Ed Fowlkes.
Coach Fowlkes ended up teaching them more than archery skills. He became their life coach.
“He’s an inspirational coach. He talks to us about being a good person and helping others. And always saying 'thank you,'" Lexi said.
And along the way, the team has won two consecutive state championships.
The shelf of trophies are symbols of excellence. But, they stand for so much more.
“They learned how to try again when you fail and not to give up. They learned they have somebody fighting for them," said Houchin Middle School Principal Krystal Swindler.
Coach Fowlkes has even used his own money to help pay for team expenses. But he says, he's just happy to do it.
"I'm floored. I just love this school. I love these kids. I don't get paid to do it. I do it because seeing them come back and tell me, 'Mr. Fowlkes, I'm in college now,' or, 'Mr. Fowlkes, I just graduated. I'm doing this with my life,'" Coach Fowlkes said.
Pay it 4Ward is sponsored by First Fidelity Bank.