Choctaw Strong: Community Focuses On Moving Forward Following Deadly Shooting

After a deadly shooting at Friday night's football game, the Choctaw community is focusing on healing and moving foward.

Wednesday, August 30th 2023, 5:25 pm

The Choctaw community is reacting to Friday night’s deadly shooting, including Choctaw High School's pom coach, who says they are ready to start moving forward. 

"As we all start to heal, I think that forward is the only way to go," said Lynse Iwersen. "As a community, you've seen us really bonded together. Everybody is doing whatever they can to make sure the kids feel comfortable."  

The phrase, “Choctaw Strong,” has been coined as the community begins the healing process. 

"Choctaw strong is just the representation of how we all got so much closer in that moment when we all needed to be there for each other, and we did it," said Layla Cochran, a member of the pom team.  

Layla Cochran and Norah Voigt were on the sidelines with their fellow pom teammates when gunfire erupted Friday night. 

"It's hard to feel safe after everything that's happened, but we're just trying to remember that everyone is trying to help us and that's their main priority," said Norah.  

Layla echoed her fear, but also her feeling of support. 

"I think we're all a little nervous to get back on that field. But we all feel a little safer knowing that Choctaw is going to make us a plan and that we are going to know what to do," said Layla.  

Both students say the outpouring of support has been overwhelming. 

"We've been instructed to talk about it in class and to have open conversations about it," said Norah. "No one wants us to just be scared and traumatized all the time and let that take over our whole entire lives. So just knowing that there's people who want to help and want to help us move forward."  

They say Wednesday's arrest is a step in that direction. 

"I think having a suspect in custody makes everyone feel a little bit safer and stronger," said Lynse.  

Now, they can begin to look ahead, one step at a time. 

"They're working on a game plan for our upcoming homecoming game to help everyone feel safe and encouraged to be here," Lynse said.


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