From Bleeding Blue and Gold to Bleeding Purple

Stephenville graduate talks about transition from high school to Tarleton


Tarleton State University is one of Texas’ best kept secrets with a variety of traditions and spirit driven students.

Paige Ferguson

79 miles from Fort Worth, Texas lies one of Texas’ best kept secrets, which is a not so small college anymore, Tarleton State University. Established in 1899 and full of culture and tradition, there’s no doubt about it that campus life at Tarleton State is  nothing like the small town feel of Stephenville.

  Sarah Darby, a graduate of Stephenville High School comments on what the college setting is like.

  “Campus life is what you make of it. If you make it fun, it will be one of the best experiences of your life,” Darby said.

  Many of the students at Stephenville High School would never consider Tarleton as  one of their choices for college because they know how boring living in Stephenville can be and want to get away. However,  many of the students attending Tarleton State University say it has a totally different feel.

  “The more you do on campus and the more activities you participate in, the more joyful the campus is. The campus life is full of different attitudes and characters. Some of the people are just like the people of Stephenville and others are totally different and that’s what makes campus life so great,” Bayli Lewis said.

  One of the most important questions I asked some of the Tarleton students was if they have any advice for incoming freshmen or new students.

  “The best advice I can give incoming students is to get involved. Get involved in something whether it be a small club or a member of student council. It is a great way to meet new people and believe it or not, it does help with your GPA,” Kerstin Cole, a former student of Stephenville High School and a student at Tarleton State said. “I know getting your degree is your first priority but if you are miserable the entire time you’re pursuing it, you won’t make it far.”

  When asking why all students who grew up in Stephenville should consider Tarleton I received a heartwarming response.

   “For anyone who is considering going to Tarleton but are having second thoughts because you grew up here in Stephenville or went to Stephenville High School, you are missing out on a true life changing experience. Tarleton is like a town within a town. You are a person at Tarleton, not just a number. The staff at Tarleton truly cares about you and your success and not just theirs. When you succeed, they succeed. Take a chance and attend Tarleton because everybody wants to be a part of a secret,” Cole said.

  At Tarleton there is no doubt about it, everyone is family and no one gets left out. I asked many students at Tarleton if it was their first choice. Many people said yes, but they wanted to transfer.

  “Tarleton was my first choice; however, during my sophomore year I transferred to a different university in Texas, a much larger university. I thought transferring was the right choice for my education as well as my personal life but it was the complete opposite. I felt so insignificant as a person at that university and so far from who I had become at Tarleton. I took a year and a half off and ended up back in Stephenville at Tarleton,” Cole said.

  Knowing that a students are thought of more as family and that they feel welcome and at home when they are here rather than at a bigger college says a lot. This matters a lot to incoming freshmen because no one knows what their first year of college will be like. From family to fun, Tarleton has it all. From the beginning, Tarleton has been full of rich traditions. One of the oldest being the famous Purple Poo founded in 1921. The Purple Poo are found all over the campus. There are twenty Purple Poos, ten boys and ten girls. Members of this organization remain in secret and are in charge of maintaining the spirit of Tarleton. There are so many original and unique traditions at Tarleton State it’s hard to list them all

  “Tarleton is full of traditions. It’s honestly what makes Tarleton so special. Every tradition is a big deal to Texans and no single tradition is bigger than the other. We do have our favorites though; my favorites are Silver Taps and Bonfire,”  Cole said.

  Silver Taps Ceremony is a way of honoring the staff, alumni, and students who have passed away during the previous year. Each new student lights their candle and blows out another signifying that the deceased will truly be a Texan forever. They even honored one of our school’s most memorable students, Alex Wayne Sanchez. This is just another way of proving that the entire campus of Tarleton State is a family.

  “Silver Taps is a memorial tradition that Tarleton holds to remember fallen Texans that have passed in that past year. It’s definitely a somber experience, but it brings us together as a family,” Cole said.

  The more people I asked the more traditions and activities I learn about. Each person is involved in something different and all of them with such different reasons for joining.

  Bayli Lewis, a member of the Delta Zeta, said, “Joining a sorority on campus is one of my best experiences. I’ve made more memories and friends than ever by joining.”

  A school with so much tradition and enthusiastic and spirit driven students, why would anyone not want to attend Tarleton State University? The burning question remains: Is Tarleton considered one of the best kept secrets?

  “Tarleton is the best kept secret in Texas hands down. We seem like a small insignificant institution from the outside, however when you get on the inside you become part of a family. You are never a number at Tarleton, you are a person,” Cole said. “The best kept secret at Tarleton is the fact that we truly are one big family. You will never feel out of place or left out while you’re here and if you do, you’re doing it wrong. Someone is willing to help you no matter what, don’t be afraid to speak up.”

   As I grew up in Stephenville and am attending the high school here, I would have never thought that I would be spending four more years here to attend Tarleton, but I am now very happy and proud to say that I will be attending Tarleton State in the fall of 2018 and will be a Texan for life.

Here are links to help learn more and you find your place at Tarleton State University: