With the loss of high school junior Avery Shannon in an off-roading incident this weekend, the Jenks community is left dealing with yet another heartbreaking tragedy.
Students returned to school Tuesday knowing they’d lost another one of their own.
“What I know about Avery Shannon is she was full of joy and happiness,” said Jenks pom coach Kristin Phibbs.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says Shannon and five other pom teammates were involved in an off-road vehicle crash on Friday night.
Her teammates were treated and released from the hospital. Now, they’re back at school without their friend.
“She truly loved life and she made the people around her love life,” Phibbs said. “She left a huge impact on the lives that she touched and there were many. She will be missed terribly.”
Phibbs coached 17-year-old Avery since her sophomore year, noting how much the dancer grew in the short time she knew her.
“They grow as dancers and that’s important in our program, but, more importantly for me as a coach, you really get to experience the growth in a child and watch them start to become young women,” declared Phibbs. “That’s a privilege for me and I got to see that with Avery.”
Now, students, teachers, and coaches are left coping with another loss.
“I think this year, in particular, has created a lot of anxiety for just about everybody,” said grief counselor Paula Lau.
Last summer, a car crash killed four beloved members of the Jenks community and earlier this year two Jenks girls were killed in a car crash near Broken Bow.
“Sometimes, I think kids kind of put it out of their minds, maybe as a defense mechanism,” said Lau. “But I think the adults are acutely aware that this has been a very difficult year for us at Jenks.”
Students are encouraged to talk to a counselor at school if they’re having a hard time dealing with their grief.