St. Matthew’s teacher mines Pan Am silver

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  • September 17, 2007

{mosimage}TORONTO - St. Matthew Catholic School teacher Kateri Vrakking won a silver medal in archery this past summer at the Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Just two points separated the gold- and silver-medal winning teams during the competition. Sharing the silver with Vrakking were Kristen Niles from Edmonton and Marie-Pier Beaudet from Montreal.

“The initial reactions are ‘wow!’ The second reaction was I didn’t expect this at this point in my life. I’m older and I haven’t been doing archery for that long,” said 34-year-old Vrakking who started shooting seven years ago. This was Vrakking’s first Pan American competition.

{sidebar id=1}She first tried archery as a Girl Guides leader after one of the Girl Guides asked to try the sport out. She enjoyed it so much that she took the sport up.

As she got more involved in the sport she started a joint archery program in 2002 between the Toronto School of Archery and St. Matthew’s where she’s taught for six years.

The program lasted three years and produced three champion student athletes from St. Matthew’s, including Christopher Mestre who set five Canadian records.

The first-generation Canadian with Dutch roots still hopes her drive can inspire her students.

“My students see me following a dream. They know I’m coming from the neighbourhood. They know if I can do this, they can do this.”

Vrakking said for her the connection between archery and faith is huge.

“When I first started archery all those things go through your head. I’m too old, I’m just starting my career as a teacher,” she said. “It’s (also) a struggle because it’s an individual sport and being Catholic is such a community (atmosphere) so you search your soul and pray and ask what am I supposed to do here.”

Vrakking said despite border crossing or funding issues she’s always managed to persevere.

“Every time things have fallen into place and it’s because of God.

“If this is what I’m supposed to do here while I’m on Earth then I will continue to try and do it to my best.”

Vrakking was to have competed in the Ontario Provincial Championships in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., in early September. Next she’s off to El Salvador for the Continental Olympic qualifiers.

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