CCPS invites community to experience Sweet 16 with Cardinal Community Caravan

Published 2:09 pm Thursday, March 9, 2023

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Superintendent Dustin Howard had a thought as the George Rogers Clark Lady Cards pulled away from Mercer County Wednesday evening during the KHSAA Girls Sweet 16 in Lexington.

“I started thinking about barriers that would keep people from attending the game,” said Howard.

The game in question is the Lady Cards’ quarterfinal showdown with the North Laurel Jaguars Friday at 1:30 p.m.

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Because, as Howard put it, “There is one high school for the entire community,” the superintendent wanted to make sure the community could come out and root for the Lady Cards.

That is how the Community Cardinal Caravan was born.

Since classes are canceled on Friday, Clark County Public Schools will provide a ticket and free transportation for any community member that wants to go. 

“We decided we are going to buy a ticket for everybody and will put them on a bus. All they have to do is get there by 11 o’clock in the morning. Then will go celebrate the heck out of our community,” Howard said. 

The buses will leave from the Robert D. Campbell Junior High School parking lot at 11 a.m., so anyone interested in attending the game must get there before departure. The caravan is expected to return to Winchester by 5 p.m.

Howard said there is no quota on how many tickets the district will buy, but there are a few things to remember:

  • GRC students must ride the pep bus from the high school.
  • An adult must accompany any non-high school students.
  • One must ride a bus from Campbell to get a free ticket.

Howard, who attended Raceland High School in Greenup County, never got to cheer on a team at Rupp as a student. 

However, he finally got the opportunity when he started working in Clark County.

“Seeing the entire end zone filled up with Clark County folks cheering their hearts out for our community. The camaraderie was incredible,” Howard said. “It’s such a unifying event.”

Now district students and community members who have never experienced the magic of the Sweet 16 may do so. 

“I want to give our kids the opportunity to experience something. Even our community members, how many of them have been to Rupp Arena? We are going to give them an opportunity,” Howard said.

And he hopes that something will be developed beyond just a memory of going to Rupp Arena.

“Let me be clear, we are not canceling school for the sole purpose of attending a basketball game. The vision extends far beyond those four quarters,” Howard said in a news release about the caravan. “Our vision is that we are providing our community, parents and students an opportunity to have a unique, equitable and educational experience that builds stronger relationships within our school and local communities. We want to be the conduit to educate through life experiences that builds pride, cultural experiences, and social skills.”