February 29th, 2024

turpin cardinal logoROBERT PIERCE • Leader & Times


The community of Turpin, Okla., has a long history of rallying around its people in times of trouble, and for nearly a decade, youth in the Turpin Student Council have shown its support  for others through Cardinals Care Week.

Student Council Advisor Kimberly Buller said the week was started by former advisor Randi Jones, now the principal at Eisenhower Middle School in Liberal.

“She started Cardinals Care Week as a way to take a week to appreciate and take care of our own and to take care of the people here in our community,” Buller said. “That week, each day was something different. It was Cardinals Care About Students, Cardinals Care About Teachers and Staff, Cardinals Care About Community.”

Buller said during the first Cardinals Care Week, students went all out, buying T-shirts with the “Cardinals Care” slogan on them, and that tradition has continued every year since.

“Each teacher got three T-shirts through the week, and if they saw students doing something particularly kind or doing something that showed they cared about other people, they could give away a T-shirt to that student randomly in the hallway or at lunch or in the classroom,” she said.

Buller said Cardinals Care Week has become a way to be more aware of people and to show genuine care, concern and kindness for the Turpin student body, teachers and the community.

This year’s Cardinals Care Week is April 3 through 6. Buller said the week is short because of the Good Friday holiday on April 7, but there are still plenty of activities during the week.

“We are doing Cardinals Care About Each Other, Cardinals Care About Teachers and Staff, Cardinals Care About the Community,” she said. “We have an individual in our community who is battling cancer at this time, and we are going to benefit dinner and a bingo night for her, something really fun for the community to bring the community together, but also something that will benefit her and raise money for her as she battles cancer. Her name is Kristina Wright.”

Since its inception, Buller said students and teachers have been part of Cardinals Care Week, and it will likely be a continued tradition in the future.

“We’ve talked about other ideas, but we still want to do some things,” she said. “We do lots of sticky notes. We’ll come in Sunday afternoon that week, and we’ll put colored sticky notes all over people’s lockers, in the bathroom with affirming messages. We’ll do different activities, challenges throughout the day that will be announced on the loud speakers. We’ll give away little prizes for it.”

With Cardinals Care Week now being done for several years, Buller said Turpin students have gotten plenty of practice showing support of their community.

“Now, we’ve done it long enough that other people will join in,” she said. “It’s not a full participation by any means, but people being aware and getting to know somebody they might not know very well.”

Also a part of every Cardinals Care Week, a spreadsheet is produced letting Turpin staff order drinks fromm Sonic Drive-In in Liberal.

“We call Sonic, and they give us a great deal on drinks,” Buller said. “They’re amazing to work with on this. I’ll send them my spreadsheet, and they’ll label cups for me. They’re fantastic.”

Older Turpin students then go to Liberal to pick up the drinks from Sonic before delivering them to staff along with an extra treat, which Buller said may include something made by students or something a teacher can use in their classroom.

“It’s not a big thing,” she said. “We also have a table set up with little cards for students to come by and write a little card for their teacher thanking them for something. We do that every day and have that available to write an affirmation to another student to give them. On Teacher Day, they can do the ‘thank you’ cards to teachers.”

Wednesday, April 5, features Cardinals Care About Our Community, and Buller said the beneficiary of this caring is not known at this time.

“We cannot pin down quite yet if that’s going to be for firefighters,” she said. “Last year, we did firefighters, and we had a movie night. The admission price was a case of water for the firefighters as they start battling grass fires in this area. The bottles of water that were donated, we donated back to the fire department. It may end up being canned goods for our community food pantry this year. It will be doing something for the community where the students get to do something. They get to come and watch a movie.”

March is known for March Madness, the NCAA basketball tournament, and as part of Cardinals Care About Community, the student council will host a community movie night with a similar theme.

“We’re doing ‘Movie Madness,’” Buller said. 

Also along with the March Madness-themed event, students will be given a bracket of eight movie choices to watch that night to vote on, with the winner being the film to watch.,

“We’ll do the bracket winners and keep going and have another vote on the winners until we get down to two,” Buller said.

Thursday night, April 6, will feature a benefit dinner and bingo for Wright. Last year’s Cardinals Care Week featured a silent auction and bingo night for Julie Huffman, who had been diagnosed with cancer.

Buller said the Turpin Student Council wanted to follow suit this year, with Wright too being a cancer patient, but having a silent auction and bingo was a bit much for one night. This is why a benefit dinner was chosen rather than a silent auction.

 “That benefit dinner and bingo night will be for the community,” she said. “There will be a free will offering for the benefit dinner. People can send in donations if they want to. They can send a donation to Turpin Schools in care of student council or for Kristina Wright. Bingo night and all the proceeds of the entire night will go to Kristina Wright and her family.”

The benefit dinner will start at 6 p.m. April 6 in the Turpin cafeteria, with the bingo night to start shortly afterwards.

Buller said the Turpin community, including its students, is amazing when it comes to helping others.

“This rural area we live in, they give and they give and they give,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what you ask of them. They’re giving. They’re going to give, and they continue to do that. They really rally around people who are hurting. They’ve done it for years, and they just continue to do it. It’s a culture that’s been built. It’s the culture around here, and our culture in our school, in the community, in the surrounding area, in the Panhandle of Oklahoma, we just give. When people need, we give.”