Students, Staff, Officers Work Together During Chaos of 2019’s Jamboree


Faced with a terrifying situation like the one presented Friday night at the jamboree, students and staff in attendance came together to help friends and strangers cope with the event. The events of that jamboree will be remembered by the people in attendance; however, so will the people who acted with bravery, integrity, and courage.

Sara Hong and Cassie Schoene, Multi-Media Gurus

A high school football jamboree is supposed to be a night of fun as students come together to start the football season. However, on Aug. 23, a fight and possible gunshot occurred at the Parkway North jamboree leading to chaos as students, families, and faculty ran to safety.

Despite the terror that filled the stadium, Parkway North proved that friends and strangers can band together to make sure people are safe. Strangers offered each other car rides to a safe location; friends held hands to calm themselves down; faculty gathered students and families in an attempt to bring order and calm the nerves; and police officers ran towards the source of it all to stop the possible threat. 

One person who saw a need to help and acted on his training was resource officer Ezra White.

“The first thing that I responded to was a large amount of people who were there for the football Jamboree. They all started moving at one time towards the entrance,” said White.“My normal reaction was to, as quickly as possible, scan the crowd.I had people running towards me stating ‘he has a gun’ and my normal reaction, due to my training, was to go towards what I thought the threat was going to be to address it and defuse it in any means possible.”

With people running full speed to safety through the small exit, there were bound to be casualties. However, some people wouldn’t let others be left behind. 

“I saw a girl get really injured and a lot of people came to her defense and helped her get up when she was injured,” said junior Chase Davis.

Witnessing students from eight different schools (Parkway North, Lafayette, Bishop Dubourg, Hazelwood West, Hazelwood Central, McCluer, Francis Howell North, and Riverview) run towards the exit was a startling and scary sight. Many students leaned on each other for support.

“We stayed calm by staying in a group and we ended up holding hands like in kindergarten,” said senior Ana Pancini. 

Not everyone was fortunate enough to be with their friends or family when everything went down. Many people got separated while everyone was running. Staff members like sophomore guidance counselor Chandra Brown stayed and helped find lost students to reunite them with their family or friends. 

“I had to make sure I remained calm because everyone was extremely overwhelmed. It was just a high intense situation,” said Brown.

Amidst the chaos, staff kept students calm and contained. With a huge number of football players, it was a big task for the coaches.

“I work with a great group. They all followed directions, and we were able to make the best of a bad situation,” said head football coach and social studies teacher Karl Odenwald.

Even though the players were told to stay on the field so they could be accounted for, some felt their families in the stands were too important to ignore.

“My first initial thought was that my momma was up there and I thought to myself ‘I gotta make sure she’s straight’ so I grabbed my teammate’s phone and called her while I was on the field,”  said senior and football player Mason Peebles, “I asked if she was okay, and she said while people were running she got trampled and messed her knee up, so I took my pads off and ran up there to where she was and got her out of there. I didn’t know what was happening, but I knew I wasn’t going to let her sit there and try to wobble to her car by herself while people were still running and fighting,” 

After the incident, some students still felt too shaken up to go home or too scared to face the large amounts of traffic. Instead, other students offered their houses for others to stay as a safe place for the night. 

“By the time I got home, I called up my friends to make sure they were safe and some came over to take shelter. It was just instinctual because I knew a lot of my friends were there. When they said that they were nearby, I just said ‘if you need to come over, my door is always open,’” said sophomore Oliver Buckley.