Cupid Shuffle 2023

Community responds to inaugural ‘Cupid Shuffle’ at O’Neal ​
Posted on 02/28/2023
Hattie Ligons

A total of 16 booths were set up with goodies to distribute to all elementary students during O’Neal’s inaugural ‘Cupid Shuffle’ in celebration of Valentine’s Day.

“It’s a way for every kid to have a positive, non-competitive experience on Valentine’s Day,” said organizer Ashley Robertson, O’Neal librarian. “Local businesses have a chance to promote their business and put a smile on kids’ faces, and they end up feeling good as well.”

Third grade teacher Allison Bell explained how she was initially looking for a way to get the public involved with the elementary while not "splitting the community support" during other established traditions such as Jingle Jog at Oak Grove or similar trunk or treat events around Halloween.

“We have such a great community, as far as people wanting to give back to the kids,” Bell said. She noted that Robertson “took the idea and ran with it” once the librarian began reaching out to partners including churches, businesses, organizations and parents to book the booth space.

In attendance, Nikki Mouser, family director for Kids Side, pointed out how the West Side Church of God is represented on the O’Neal Bright Future Site Council and she has multiple children from the school who attend their church, which is “right around the corner.” Mouser said: “It’s just a fun day going out and about, and doing.”

Andrew Jefferson, park ranger with Wappapello Lake, who has a grandchild at O’Neal, said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is getting back into promoting water safety at events, following a disruption in public outreach during the pandemic. Three Rivers College Coordinator of Admissions & Recruitment Heather King commented how she would not pass up an opportunity to plant the seeds early for higher education.

"Our kids need to be exposed to more than just the core subjects," said Robertson, who hopes to continue to expand the tradition going forward. “That’s what helps make well-rounded children.”


Cutline: Second grader Hattie Ligons came dressed for the occasion during O’Neal’s Valentine’s Day celebration held earlier this month.

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