OKLAHOMA CITY– Crooked Oak students have been learning life skills at the gun range.
They put those skills to the test against dozens of students from across the state in the first ever Sooner State Games Junior ROTC rifle competition Sunday.
Retired Air Force Colonel and Crooked Oak marksmanship coach Tom Huizenga said his junior ROTC team has their eye on a target.
“Our marksmanship program really teaches personal responsibility, and a good dose of safety,” Huizenga said.
The high-powered air rifles donated by the NRA, shoot pellets at 700 feet per second.
Huizenga says getting the kids in the program is well worth the risk.
“Some of our kids come from pretty tough neighborhoods and some interesting backgrounds, but the great thing about marksmanship is it’s a great leveler. Everybody is the same once you get behind the rifle; you either aim true or you don’t,” Huizenga said.
A lesson that’s keeping team member Tiara Kurta’s aim on the bulls eye.
“To graduate college and have that time discipline and all that, that’s pretty much my hopes,” Kurta said.
“We’re trying to give them a sense that there’s more out there than just the local neighborhood, that there is something you can do to contribute to your school and community,” Huizenga said.
It’s a game of self-discipline and constant learning.
On Sunday, the team learned just how far they’ve come.
“Competitions like this give you an opportunity, side by side with other cadets, to really measure yourself against the same standard and whether you measure up on the final winners board or not, these kids are all winners because they came out and competed.” Huizenga said.