TURNER — In times of tragedy, one often looks to those closest to them for guidance and comfort.

Editors Note: This is part of a series profiling the finalists for the 2019 Cheerleader of the Year award, which will be announced at the Best of the Arbuckles Preps banquet in May. 

TURNER — In times of tragedy, one often looks to those closest to them for guidance and comfort.

For Turner senior cheerleader Ryanne Richardson, her time of sorrow came at the beginning of this school year when she lost a close family member.

What followed though was clear evidence of why Richardson has always considered Turner home, as everyone from students to faculty kept her pushing forward in a difficult time.

“Going to such a small school like Turner and being a cheerleader here has meant everything to me,” Richardson said. “I went here in kindergarten and then left, and came back in the seventh grade, but didn’t know a lot of people as well as I could have. When I lost my cousin, he was like a brother to me, and he went to school here and had just graduated. The loss had a huge impact on everyone.”

“As a cheerleader, I felt so bad that I wasn’t able to portray that message of smiling and always being happy during that time,” Richardson added. “But having everyone here to support me helped me never give up on any aspect of being a cheerleader. I’m not the type of person to give up on anything, and everyone here at Turner reminded me of that during a very difficult time of my life.”

While Ryanne might only get to shine as a cheerleader during basketball season, she cherishes every moment she gets to perform on the hardwood, as she said it’s special getting to cheer on the people you care about, who also happen to be your classmates. 

“Honestly, I do wish we had football and more opportunities to cheer,” she said. “But at the same time, it’s special to get to cheer just for basketball. We have just 19 people in our graduating class, so we know everyone who is playing, and on the bench. It’s special knowing just what to do to make them feel included, and when they win we feel like a small part of that.”

Aside from being the first ever representative from Turner High School on the All-Ardmoreite cheer team this year, Richardson has also left her mark in other areas of her community and school.

Ryanne has been a starter for the Lady Falcons softball team under the guidance of coach Shane Hill, and has also served as the secretary and President of the FFA. She is also a member of Gifted and Talented as well as Beta Club, and is currently ranked No. 4 in her senior class with a 4.0 GPA.

“Cheer has always meant a lot to me throughout my life,” Richardson said. 

“The first time I ever tried out at a different school, I didn’t make the squad. I was then able to make it on a competitive cheer team, and being a cheerleader at Turner has meant so much. Being the first representative for Turner on the All-Ardmoreite cheer team is very special for me, but I also hope it will open the door for more people to realize that dream and achieve it.”

“There’s times where I just want to take a break with all the activities I do,” Richardson added. “But the people in this community constantly remind me that I have great things ahead of me, and that’s what keeps me going forward is all the support they give me, and how they help through so much.”

Ryanne plans to attend Murray State to complete her basics in college, with the hopes of attending the University of Oklahoma in the future and getting a degree in dental hygiene. 

Before she walks the stage in May, Richardson hopes to make one more piece of history by becoming the first ever Cheerleader of the Year, which will be awarded in May at the Best of the Arbuckles Preps banquet.

“I’d love to represent my coach Kelly (Minyard), my school, and my squad,” she said. “Kelly has done so much for this program in the two years she has been here, and she’s been an amazing coach for us. To be able to be a product of her hard work and show that Turner isn’t just a small school, but a place where people can be successful would mean everything to me.”