After the sudden death of Park City sophomore and football player Jed Hoffman, students and staff at the nearby Columbus schools have come together to show their support.
Instead of the traditional Cougar green and white, students wore Park City Panthers colors red and black in honor of Hoffman. He collapsed on the football field on Oct. 26 and died after a week in intensive care.
Some students at Columbus High School knew Hoffman personally, but this was a district-wide show of support.
“We did some open gyms together when we were younger and you could just kind of see that he had a lot of potential ahead of him,” student Kaeden Daniels said.
Students from 12th grade all the way down to kindergarten decked out in red in honor of Hoffman.
“This morning they were super excited to wear Panther colors and wear a hat, and bring money to support his family,” said fourth-grade teacher Joni Haug.
Haug and Columbus Elementary School secretary DeAnne Nelson thought of the idea together.
“With having a child around his age, I just felt like as a community, we should do something and everyone jumped on board and this happened,” said Nelson.
The compassion was tangible at Columbus High School with students knowing a death happened to someone their age just miles away.
“My brother and cousin played with him, so I kind of knew him when I was little, but it’s just sad to think about,” said Columbus High School football captain Caden Meier.
Columbus High School Principal Jim Browning is proud of his students, but he feels a great loss.
“Whenever you lose a young person, it’s so tragic, as the boys earlier mentioned, there’s a lot of potential there, and to see that snuffed out, it just breaks your heart,” said Browning.
Hoffman’s death really hit home for students on the football team as many of them played Hoffman on the field.
“Both teams are kind of still in the playoffs, so a lot of are talking about playing this game for Jed, stuff like that, so we can play as a team, and have something to play for,” said Daniels.
A light amidst a shocking tragedy, this tight-knit community came together to share love and kindness to their mourning neighbors.
“It fills up your heart to see everyone come together as one and kind of just support each other,” said Columbus High School football captain Matt Ivankovich.