Markmanship program to launch at Porterville Military Academy

Jermaine Johnson II

Board approves new marksmanship program for junior high and high school cadets at the Porterville Military Academy

PORTERVILLE – It’s rare that students in school are taught how to properly handle a firearm, but one local school is looking to change that. The Porterville Unified School District (PUSD) approved a new program at the Porterville Military Academy (PMA) which will teach students basic skills and knowledge associated with marksmanship.

The marksmanship program will cover the history of marksmanship, firearm safety, fundamentals of shooting, and will help students develop a healthy respect for firearms. It will be available for junior high and high school cadets at PMA which instructs grades 7-12. They will have the opportunity to compete throughout the state at various events with other schools that offer similar kinds of programs. There are also various college scholarship opportunities for qualified junior marksmen.

The course will likely begin at PMA in the upcoming fall. It will be a yearlong program and will be a part of cadet classes. It will also extend into an after school team once competitions begin.

Before any student is able to fire any rounds down the range, they must pass a written safety test and a dry fire exercise.

According to PMA principal Doug Ihmels, it is important for kids to understand how to handle firearms safely and they’ll develop practices that will carry on with them for the rest of their life. He’s eager to be adding yet another unique program to the military academy.

“I’m really excited about the kids competing against other schools and repping our school,” Ihmels said. “There’s a lot they can gain from marksmanship such as self control, self disciple, and focus.”

Ihmels has worked hard to change the school’s perception in the community. PMA is not a boot camp for children with behavioral issues, but a place for students committed to developing their leadership skills. PMA uses the military model to give students leadership opportunities in real time.

For more specific questions about the marksmanship program contact the school’s Commandant of Cadets Major David Archer at [email protected].

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