Online Testing: The Challenge of Ensuring Fairness and Avoiding Dishonesty

Jeffersonville High School teachers are using a range of approaches to make sure students are keeping it honest when testing

Story by Amber Walker

With the introduction of Chromebooks, Greater Clark County Schools students were able to switch to online lessons and assignments relatively quickly and easily during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, one issue stands out as a sticky subject: online assessments. 

Cheating on tests is not a new problem. Even before COVID-19, students were able to cheat using a range of methods, from writing notes on your palm to sharing pictures to wearing special sunglasses that allow you to spy on your classmates’ papers. However, the large number of students who are attending school online during the pandemic makes it much more difficult for teachers to spot and prevent cheating. 

Since the pandemic started, many schools have adopted tech solutions to prevent cheating. For example, GCCS Chromebooks have built-in monitoring software called Classwize. Using this service, teachers can monitor students’ screen activity and task behavior. Brittany Wright, who teaches Algebra 1 and Geometry at Jeff High, says she has used Classwize to keep students on task whether they are at home or physically in class working on their Chromebooks. “I can close their browser if they are doing something they’re not supposed to,” Wright says. However, the system is not foolproof because students may still have access to other devices such as phones and tablets. Still, Wright says, Classwize is “better than nothing.”

Some teachers approached the issue by making more thought-provoking, opinion-based test questions. English teacher Taylor Troncin says, “This school year, I have had to think outside of the box when it comes to assessments. Instead of doing multiple choice or true/false questions, I have started using more open ended questions, which challenge students to not only answer questions, but to explain their reasoning.” Troncin is also looking at the concept of an assessment more creatively. “I have moved more towards projects that can be completed virtually,” she says. 

While open-ended questions make it more difficult for students to cheat, there is a major drawback: it takes extra time for teachers to grade long-answer questions. 

Another tactic being used is scrambled questions and answers. Some teachers are also limiting the time students have to complete tests. Finally, open-book and open-note tests have become more common — even for traditional, in person classes. 

As for fairness, it might seem like online students have advantages over traditional students because they are not monitored as easily. Also, as science teacher Eric Robinson points out, taking tests at home allows for “opportunities that aren’t available in your more traditional classroom” such as a more comfortable environment. However, Robinson has noticed one thing in particular that works against online students: motivation. Robinson says, “It’s made students not as concerned about test-taking. It doesn’t feel as concrete to them.” In short, when it comes to testing online, Robinson says “there is more opportunity, but there is also less desire.”

The reasons students are inclined to cheat are often ambiguous. Perhaps it is done out of a simple necessity to move onto the next level in life. Perhaps it is done to achieve a perfect score or avoid failure. Sometimes students just don’t feel up to the task. Even if academic dishonesty cannot be prevented entirely, Jeff High teachers are taking steps to minimize cheating and level the playing field for all students.

Story by Amber Walker

Welcoming Another Creative Mind:Mr. Ridings

After teaching at Parkview Middle School, Corey Ridings adds a new element to Jeffersonville High School’s art program.

Transitioning from a comfort zone can be a challenge, especially if it was for a long period of time. For Corey Ridings, former art teacher at Parkview Middle School, coming to Jeff High this year has been a new but good adjustment. After teaching at Parkview for 18 years, he decided to take the opportunity for a new change. As Mr. Ridings has said, “ So far, so good.” Boosting creativity around Jeff High might just be what we need.

Art teacher Corey Ridings
Hyphen Staff Photo


Mr. Ridings had always wanted to coach Varsity basketball. He had played basketball growing up, and it was always something he planned to do. To be a coach of any sport you have to have a teaching license. This is what led him to art. He enjoyed coaching, but he wasn’t committed like he should have been. “Gradually, about halfway through my teaching career … I started to be more passionate about art and in the process less about coaching.” At this point he knew that his initial future plan had changed direction.


His transition from teaching middle school students and then coming to Jeff High had been somewhat of an easy one. His reasons were, “I wanted to see what it was like to work with kids at a higher level,” says Ridings. “I needed a change,” he added.


He also enjoys working with students who have varying degrees of passion about art. “In middle school you’ve got a lot of kids that get art no matter what, and you still get that here a little bit. You have students who fall under the category of them getting art, and then you have the students who have no art background, and have to figure out a way to connect with them.”


He also works with students who are more experienced. “When you get into painting and drawing in upper level classes, you generally are going to get students who are passionate about art.” There is a constant flow of creativity. The colors draw people in, and captivate them. When there is time put into something, and there is passion, it can create something of meaning. “I try to teach them things so that if they see me in 20 years, something I said meant something to them.”


Regardless of what level students are at, Ridings says his priority is “quality over quantity.” . He explains, “My philosophy on teaching, especially with art, is it’s not just about getting something done, turning it in and getting a grade. It’s about mastering what the content is we are working on.” This gives the students the opportunity to work on something until that skill is mastered. This takes time and dedication, especially if it’s something you enjoy. You aren’t tested on your ability to do something, it’s more of the progression of your work and if there is improvement.


Ridings also looks for opportunities to boost creativity. In the past, he used meditation at the beginning of class to open the students’ minds and really boost that creative side of the brain. He hasn’t really seen an opening where that is needed for his high school students, so he’s not quite sure if he’ll bring that back. With the pandemic going on, he has focused more on how to communicate with students online and the way that each student approaches their art. All different, but all beautifully put together.

Story by Anna Hardin

To Be Canceled, or Not To Be Canceled

The argument over political correctness on social media has reached its highest point yet.

Dateline January 8, 2021: The outgoing President of the United States of America, Donald John Trump, is officially banned from his Twitter account…after being accused of inciting the insurrection which occurred at the Capitol just days earlier…where and when, thousands marched on the Capitol in objection to the certification of the electoral college. Politico among other news organizations termed it as a “coup attempt.” And of course, following the insurrection, Trump wasn’t just banned from Twitter. He was also banned from virtually every other major social media platform: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitch, Reddit, YouTube and even Pinterest.


If the sitting President of the United States can be essentially shut off from social media, it demonstrates something creepily true: You can have 80 million followers, you can be leader of the free world, and EVEN YOU aren’t exempt from a full social media ban. The ban on Donald Trump is much larger than him as an individual alone. It touches on one of the most heated issues of our times: political correctness.

After social media accounts were restricted in the wake of the U.S. Capitol insurrection on January 6, Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia wore a “Censored” mask while speaking on the floor of the House of Representatives. Hyphen Staff Photo
After social media accounts were restricted in the wake of the U.S. Capitol insurrection on January 6, Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia wore a “Censored” mask while speaking on the floor of the House of Representatives. Hyphen Staff Photo


The definition of political correctness, according to Oxford, is “the avoidance, often considered as taken to extremes, of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.” And here comes the catch: While Donald Trump has been “politically incorrect” quite a few times, he’s often been left off the hook, but this time his words didn’t fit the definition of “political correctness.” His words incited “an insurrection,” according to these big tech giants. The controversy the bans bring is pretty explicit in terms of opening the debate for the new question: how far should political correctness go? So here, we’re going to take a look at the history of political correctness, the pro and con arguments supporting it and opposing it (respectively), and why this could have huge ripple effects on the ways you might use social media.


When the term “political correctness” came into common usage in the 1970s (when it was mentioned in a novel), it was really a term of ridicule relating to taboo subjects. The history of political correctness is really summed up by an article written by Richard Bernstein for the New York Times more than 30 years ago. In the article, Bernstein stated, “across the country the term p.c., as it is commonly abbreviated, is being heard more and more in debates over what should be taught at the universities.” In the same article, Bernstein explained, “The term `politically correct,’ with its suggestion of Stalinist orthodoxy, is spoken more with irony and disapproval than with reverence.”


At that time, if you were politically correct, it meant you were careful not to offend anyone or adopt opinions that may be dismal to other individuals. Colleges were termed as politically correct by conservatives. They accused colleges of “brainwashing” and “subjecting” their general opinions on students, leaving no room for open-minded and objective opinions. Of course, some (or many) of these opinions were in one way or another, offensive.


Today is a much different case. With the introduction of social media, people who didn’t like being “politically correct” gained an entire world wide web to surf upon. From here, it got bigger and bigger. Now anyone could be a conservative talk show host, you could share your opinion with all of your delight. You could now create profiles with different names and some profile pictures of deceased politicians and hawks, engaging in banter of all sorts.


These opinions aren’t just hidden in the dark outer reaches of the internet. They’re everywhere. I discovered this myself when using discord for coding. In various chats, individuals would be discussing why the holocaust was justified. I experimented, heading to disboard.org, (the place to get advertised discord server links), and I ended up finding multiple discord servers of a Nazi background. It got worse. I even found a white supremacist discord server, riddled with memes supporting the KKK, and mentions of streaming “Birth of a Nation,” a 1915 silent-film which portrays the KKK as heroes. And guess what? The non-white population is termed as “an attack on society” and the remnant evil which remains. This is outrageously racist. Of course, the server was deleted not long after for promoting the alt-right conspiracy theory known as “QAnon.” But that’s just discord, a friendly app which lets you create servers for multiple topics and variations. Close it down in one place and it pops up in another, like an internet version of whack-a-mole.


In thousands of forums all the way to the corners of the internet, the alt-right lives. But what I’m mentioning only scratches the surface.


There’s no place for this in today’s society. These opinions are racially charged and one of the highest levels of harassment. People and companies who stand up against such opinions shouldn’t be chided for being “politically correct.” They should be lauded for their efforts. They should be commended for showing respect for other human beings. They should be held up as the voice of reason rather than the voice of hate.

By Yousaf Quereshi

Masks: More to the Story

Students see pros and cons of wearing a face covering every day.

Whether it’s due to legal requirements or personal preference, wearing a mask is commonplace since the start of COVID-19. According to the CDC website, COVID-19 is spread through water droplets that are released when people breathe, sneeze, cough, or talk. Masks can prevent this by blocking water droplets from reaching other people by trapping them on the inside of a person’s mask. However, not everyone is wearing a mask. According to a survey posted on http://www.webmd.com only 93% of U.S. adults wear a mask when unable to social distance. This leaves 7% of US adults not wearing masks.

At Jeff High,everyone is required to wear a mask when they’re not able to social distance. For the most part, students are adhering to the rules well — even when wearing a mask makes things difficult.

Senior Milo Shireman makes a fashion statement when
wearing a mask at school. Photo by Paige Moore


Victoria “Jade” Worrall, a junior at Jeffersonville High school says, “It’s really hard to do things because I can’t breathe.” Also, Worrall says, “It fogs up my glasses and I can’t see without taking them off… I have to take off my glasses whenever I go shopping.” According to a New York Times article, fogging occurs because hot air gets trapped inside and escapes through the top of the mask. One solution is sealing the top of your mask with medical tape or athletic tape, which can prevent air from your breath getting through and fogging your glasses. They also recommend molding the top of your masks to fit your face properly.


Others say wearing a mask has caused breakouts — a problem dubbed “mascne” or “maskne” in the media. The problem is so commonplace that the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) has published a list called “9 Ways to Prevent Face Mask Skin Problems.” Senior Michael Broadhead says, “I deal with it, but it’s not as bad as I thought it would be.” Senior Harmony Wayman says “I just wash the crap out of my face to prevent it.” Regular cleaning is at the top of the AAD’s tips for preventing mask acne. The organization also recommends choosing a mask that fits well, so you’re less likely to touch your face, and has a “soft, natural, and breathable fabric, such as cotton, on the inside layer that rests against your skin.” The AAD adds that you should “Avoid synthetic fabrics, such as nylon, polyester, and rayon on the layer that rests against your skin. These are more likely to irritate your skin and cause breakouts.”


On the other hand, masks aren’t always problematic. Many people have used them to further their style and outside appearance. “You can get cute masks and they look really nice on you.” Worrall said. That’s a bright spot — and a spot that has nothing to do with the dreaded mascne.

By Lily Hughes

New x Two: Jeff High Basketball Rebounds With New Boys and Girls Basketball Coaches

Coach Melissa Voyles – Girls Basketball

Coach Melissa (Missy) Voyles took the head coaching job at Jeff High because it presented a great opportunity and a great challenge. Prior to coaching at Jeff, Voyles had coached at North Harrison. However, she wanted the chance to coach at a division 4A (the high school sports division for the largest schools) school like Jeff. She also saw the girls basketball team as a program with potential. “It’s always a program that could really be dominant,” she says.

Despite her optimism, there was a clear challenge for the Red Devils this year: injuries. Voyles said this season they had five ACL tears, one broken wrist, and two concussions. “I have never seen this many injuries,” she says. Despite these challenges she has been pleased with the level of dedication her players have shown, saying, “They play hard every day. I can’t fault them for that.” With this dedication has come improvement, according to Voyles.


Going into the season in a tough conference, and after losing a lot of senior talent last year, Voyles says, “I knew it would be a big struggle win-or-loss wise.” However, she credits her team’s leadership and hard work with their success this year, specifically, she credited Neveah Bates (junior), Baily Gibson (senior), Ajia Estes (senior), Tatum McFarland (sophomore), and Sofia Reese (sophomore) with creating a contagious positive atmosphere on the team.


For the postseason, the goal was simple for Voyles. “I want to compete with Bedford.” On Feb. 5, 2021, Jeffersonville fell to Bedford North Lawrence 62-36 in the Sectional Semi-final. Despite their season coming to an end, the Devils were able to keep the game within 10 points with the fourth-ranked Stars, until the fourth quarter.

Coach Andrew Grantz – Boys Basketball

Coach Andrew Grantz says he took the boys basketball job at Jeff High for many reasons, including “the history, the tradition, and the fan support here at Jeff.” Grantz also wanted to return to coaching in Indiana, and with the talent at Jeff High, he was excited at the opportunity to build the program.


For Grantz, the biggest difference between this job and his past coaching gigs is the community. “You know, Providence was a great place to be,” he says, “but you know with a private school, you’re pulling from all different directions.” He feels that the closeness in the Jeff High community really sets the program apart, and unlike Fort Myers, Florida (where he was for a past coaching job), basketball is a bigger deal here in Indiana.


For Grantz, his pride in his team was on display after the first semester when he learned the team had a GPA of 3.4 (highest in program history according to Grantz). For him this accomplishment was important as a coach because “they’re setting themselves up for life after basketball,” he says.


Leading up to the season, with all the confusion about COVID-19, he says the goal was simple: “Let’s just play games.” He also felt that despite the loss of a talented senior class last year, the team would be strong.


Despite his optimism, he does feel one of the major challenges was Jeff’s lack of a consistent feeder program. “Whenever I was younger there was the JYBL (Jeff Youth Basketball League), and if you look at the run Jeff had in the ’90s, that happened right after JYBL started,” Grantz says. He hopes to be able to tackle this problem, which he believes will really help the program as it has before.

Looking toward the end of the season, his goal for his team is simple: “We want to reach our full potential… if we do that or come close to that we have a chance to make a run in the postseason.” Over the season, he says the team has “had flashes of it.” But to reach his goal it’s about “putting it all together at once.”

By Max Fisher

Jeff High Theatre Brings “9 to 5” to the Stage This Weekend

The Jeffersonville High School theatre department is putting on a production of Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5”, directed by Jeff High alumni Sarah Holland. Performances are March 12 and 13 at 7 p.m. and on March 14 at 2:30 p.m. All performances will be held in the JHS auditorium.

“9 to 5” explores the experience of women in the workplace, and it includes plenty of quirky characters. Judy (portrayed by Hannah Dickens) is freshly divorced and working in an office for the first time in her life, finding it difficult in a new environment. Doralee (Jasmine Fondrisi) is judged by her colleagues for how she looks and endures hardship over the things she enjoys. And Violet (Joryn Burns) is a strong woman who is trying to move outside of her comfort zone and take control of not only what she needs, but what she wants. “9 to 5” tells the story of 3 women, in very different situations, not only standing up to their sexist and hypocritical boss Mr. Hart (Benjamin Broady) but also a system that is rigged against them. 

The original production of “9 to 5” takes place in the 1970’s, but by adding modern clothing and a more recent set, Holland renews this show by setting it in 2021. Holland points out that this change was to ask how we as a society can be better. “It’s amazing how when I sat down with all the girls in the cast, going around the room, talking about our experiences with sexual harassment. Every single person had their own story to share. That was both disheartening and it was great to speak about it and to have tough conversations. Because with a show like this, I’m not being subtle, I’m very firmly saying ‘this is an issue that we need to work on’ and I’m questioning the audience.” She expresses how lucky she feels to have this cast, and she feels relieved that the students have such great chemistry on stage.

Holland expressed the love she has for this cast. Although it was a challenge to pull it together in such a challenging time, she is pleasantly surprised with the result. “I know tickets are limited, but it’s gonna be streamed. Make sure you see 9 to 5, it’s truly something special.”

Cast and crew members have worked for weeks to prepare for this spring’s musical, “9 to 5”. Photo by Paige Moore.

Story by Emily Proctor

The Pandemic and Mental Health

Let’s be honest: COVID-19 is hard on everyone, but it’s particularly hard on teenagers. It has affected every aspect of our lives. School is different, sports are different, work is different, friendships are different. The list goes on and on. As Pediatrician Rebekah Fenton said in a recent Washington Post column, “The teens of the pandemic are living through a significant and prolonged stress that most adults have never known.”

Under the circumstances, it’s not surprising that teens are struggling with mental health issues. As a result, other aspects of health are suffering. Dr. Fenton says that some of her teen patients “have gained or lost significant weight, in search of comfort or control. Some who had manageable levels of anxiety before the pandemic have worsening symptoms. Isolation precipitates depression or suicidal ideation. More than younger children, adolescents notice and are affected by their parents’ emotions, including financial pressure.”

You should take care of your mental health as much as you take care of your physical health. Mental health illnesses affect the ability to handle daily activities. This means that those who are having a harder time may experience panic attacks, start having a harder time focusing, start sleeping more, start having a hard time completing assignments which make cause in grades plummeting, start having trouble getting out of bed or taking showers and even more obstacles.


Studies around the world are already showing how teenagers’ mental health is suffering during COVID-19, but we wanted to know how it is affecting you, our readers.

The Hyphen sent out a survey to a group of students that have chosen to remain anonymous. When asked how their mental health was before COVID-19, 80% said they were happy or in a good state of mind. Since the pandemic started, 60% of respondents said that their mental health has dropped or they are having a harder time. One student said, ”Corona has affected my mental health by allowing me to have more extra time on my phone, which leads to being on social media, or anything relevant to that, which leads to comparing myself to others way too much. It has also caused me to overthink and worry about things I should not be.”

This is a rough time for all of us. If you are struggling with mental health issues, please reach out. This is not something you should have to go through alone. Below are hotlines if you are not comfortable talking with a
parent or counselor.

By Rachel Lowe

Wrestlers Balance the Risks and Rewards of Competing during COVID

With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the way we live our lives in many ways, one major thing it has affected is athletes and their sports. Some sports are not as affected as others such as cross country, where they can still run the same trails while being socially distant.

Other sports that are close contact such as wrestling have had to change their routines significantly to keep at their success. Junior Wrestler Dillon Mouser says their entire practice schedule has been altered compared to last year. “Last year, we used to be able to just switch partners. Now we have pods of 4 people , and we can’t drill, lift, or practice with anyone outside of our pods. Typically we practice with only one person in our pod until it’s time to wrestle each other for a live match.”


Mouser says they also had to split up into separate rooms. “Stations 1 and 2 are mat 1 , and 2 are in the same room but divided by a curtain. Station 3 is the weight room. Station 4 is mat 3 , which we moved upstairs. Sixteen people on one mat, and obviously we wear our masks everywhere except for when we are on the mat, and every time we switch stations we sanitize.”

Wrestling team members gather around a teammate to offer support before at match at the December 5 meet. Photo by Paige Moore

Practice routines aren’t just the only thing COVID-19 has affected. Varsity wrestler Evan Clayton decided to switch to online school to lessen his risk of exposure during wrestling season. “Online school makes it harder to get work done because you aren’t in the classroom learning first hand and you lack the motivation you would normally have in class,” Clayton says. “But it wasn’t a hard decision knowing I can maintain my grades and not risk missing out on a big part of the season,” he adds.


Over Christmas break, Clayton got quarantined, and not getting quarantined leading into sectionals was a big part of his decision. “I live fairly far from most of my family, but when I got quarantined over Christmas I was upset because I couldn’t go see my grandma, and that was pretty hard for me.” Clayton intends to stay in online school until he can finish up his season and the school quarter to learn the material easier and prepare for his AP tests.


The decision to participate in a team sport has affected some wrestlers at home also. Some athletes’ relatives have health problems that would put them at risk if they contracted COVID-19.


Even before COVID-19, being an athlete required making tough trade-offs. For athletes this year, the stakes seem more significant and the choices more complicated — but the drive to compete has not gone away

By Cameron Allen

Photo Gallery: It’s The Look of The Century

Vintage, Cottagecore, aesthetics galore! All throughout Jeff High, there are plenty of students who have their own unique sense of style. Some of these students agreed to an interview to talk with us about how it all comes together.

Captions by November Shawler and Chloey Trinkle
All photos submitted


When someone chooses their sense of style, it may come from a multitude of different sources. It could come from a certain era of fashion in the past, a certain celebrity who wears certain styles of clothing, experimenting with old items of clothing and revamping them into something new, or even just seeing something from a store and developing your own style based on that. Whatever it may be, everyone has their own taste and it comes down to preference. In the end, it’s all about expressing yourself.

Jeffersonville High School Leaders Considering Whether to Stick With Block Schedule Next School Year

At the beginning of this school year, Jeffersonville High School implemented a block schedule as part of the school’s efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19. According to Principal Pam Hall, “When we went to [block schedule] shortly before school started, the main reason was contact tracing and limiting exposures. The other was to limit movement.”


Now, as Jeff High starts to plan ahead for life after COVID-19, the question arises: stay on a block schedule next school year or go back to “normal”?


Hall says the process of making that decision is underway, but it could take a while to make sure all perspectives are considered. Step one was sending a survey to faculty and staff. This occurred in early January. Of those who completed the survey, 55 percent said they prefer the block schedule and 45 percent said they prefer seven periods a day.

Staff survey provided by Jeffersonville High School


Next, Jeff High’s administrators met with leaders from] other high schools in the district. Those schools had also conducted surveys about whether to keep the block schedule.


The next step in the process is to meet with the building leadership team at Jeff High (a group of people who
represents different departments and interests) to discuss the pros and cons of each option. The survey data is just one part of the puzzle. They must also consider the potential impact on student scheduling, lunch times, teachers’ planning time and more.


Whether Jeff High stays on block schedule or reverts to seven periods, Hall says the longer classes have been
beneficial during this challenging year, and not just for contact tracing purposes. “We learned we need to slow down and make sure students have the skills to be successful.”

Story By The Hyphen Staff

Jeff High Senior Jasmine Fondrisi Sings Her Way to the Finals

Jasmine Fondrisi performs the national anthem before the 3A Girls Basketball State Finals.
Photo Credit: News and Tribune

Eight years ago, on the advice of her friends, 4th grader Jasmine Fondrisi asked to sing the national anthem before a Utica Elementary School basketball game. The scene on that day in the elementary gymnasium was much different than the scene on Feb. 27, 2021, as Fondrisi stood, center stage, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis singing the national anthem prior to the Class 3A Girls Basketball State Finals.

“Ever since I was little I loved singing, and I loved performing,” she says. That love was showcased in her participation in cheerleading, theater, and music all throughout middle school. But despite her talent, many at Jeff High didn’t necessarily know Fondrisi for her voice prior to this year. As an active student, she is just about everywhere: the IMPACT slides warning about avoiding dangerous situations, the auditorium preparing to perform, the football sideline cheering on the team or in the studio as a broadcaster for WJHI (Jeff’s radio and TV station).

Yet this year she was given a new opportunity to represent Jeff High, by singing the national anthem before basketball games. Fondrisi says she got the opportunity simply by asking. As she was sitting in the stands watching her sister play, she recalls relaying to her grandma that she wished she could sing the national anthem. “The worst they could say is no,” her grandma remarked. So she asked the athletic office for the opportunity to sing the anthem prior to tip-off. When they said yes, Fondrisi was once again ready to do what she loved. 

After that, it became a routine — and as she continued to perform, the compliments didn’t stop. One of those compliments came from the referees at the boys New Albany game, along with an offer to sing the national anthem at the state finals this year. After they exchanged information, and the IHSAA approved, the stage was set.

This performance was different than the usual at Jeff High. Rather than warming up in her car, she warmed up in the bathroom, and instead of easily maneuvering through a gym she had been to all her life, she admits she got lost in Bankers Life. Fondrisi summed up the experience in one word – “surreal.” She began as she had so many times before, and as she finished with “home of the brave,” her performance was met with cheers and applause.

For Fondrisi, singing the national anthem means a lot, whether in fourth grade or high school. “I feel proud because I get to represent myself, and I get to represent the school,” she says.  

PDF: February 2021

The Hyphen is back with our first print issue since the COVID-19 pandemic began. This issue includes:

  • News and reader voices about the possibility of keeping a block schedule next year
  • An exploration of the term “politically correct” and its role in today’s cancel culture
  • A photo gallery featuring students who have a unique sense of style 
  • Interviews with new boys and girls basketball head coaches
  • A look inside how COVID-19 affected this year’s wrestling season
  • And more

Download PDF

Black Out: Jeff High Staff Wear Black to Protest Proposed Changes to State Education Funding

English teacher Allison Clary was one of several teachers who wore black on February 24 to support the #Blackout4Ed movement

Many Jeff High teachers wore black on Wednesday Feb. 24, in opposition to recent actions by the state legislature and Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb. While Greater Clark staff typically wear red on Wednesdays as part of their “Red for Ed”campaign, the teachers participating in “Black out for Ed” opted for the color change to underscore the gravity of the moment. “The situation is dire,” said Jeff High English teacher Allison Clary.

The primary reason for the protest is Indiana House Bill No. 1001. The bill has drawn considerable opposition from many including the Indiana State Teachers Association and former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick. 

Passing on a near party line vote, the bill would increase education spending by 378 million dollars over the next two years. However, more than a third of the increase is targeted toward voucher programs rather than public schools according to WDRB.

Jeff High Principal Pam Hall cited the budget as her reason for wearing black on Wednesday saying, “[the budget] affects every student in our building.” She also had strong words for the legislators who passed the bill saying, “politicians are robbing Jeff High students of the money they are entitled to and deserve.”

Principal Pam Hall wore black on February 24 to support the #Blackout4Ed movement

The bill adds to a laundry list of complaints many teachers’ unions and public education advocates have toward Governor Eric Holcomb and Indiana Republicans. “Holcomb is not really a friend of public education,” said Clary.

Jeff High teacher Kristen Case cited other reasons for wearing black, saying she “hopes the governor will get vaccines pushed out to teachers and keep teachers well paid.”

The bill still has to be passed by the senate and signed by the governor prior to becoming law.

Story by Max Fisher

Photo Gallery: Winter Storms Coat Jeffersonville in Ice and Snow

Photos by Amber Walker, Marni Scholl and Max Fisher

Strike Hard: A Review of Cobra Kai Season 3

It was only a few years back when the YouTube Red series Cobra Kai premiered to an eager base of fans ready to experience an action-comedy drama that brought back fond memories of the blockbuster film, Karate Kid. Despite a great fan following on YouTube Red, Cobra Kai only felt its giant boost when it finally debuted on Netflix in the summer of 2019, reaching the #1 spot on Netflix’s top ten most watched shows, and #1 in Nielsen Ratings nationally (Nielsen ratings measure audience viewership and ratings nationwide).

Cobra Kai builds on the legacy of the Karate Kid movie series, while also exploring the full story of what happened then and what has happened since.The two enemies from the first movie, Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) and Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) are now middle-aged men. Still their lives seem to be rooted by the consequences of the original film’s ending, where Daniel kicks Johnny in the head and wins the All-Valley Under 18 Tournament, all thanks to his wise and great mentor, Mr. Miyagi (played by late Pat Morita). 

The show released its third season on January 1, 2021. So without further ado, we’re going to strike first, strike hard, and show no mercy with this review of Cobra Kai’s third season.

– – – – Warning: Potential Spoilers Ahead! – – – –

Season 3, much like the previous seasons, has received a lot of critical and audience acclaim. We start the season revealing the consequences of what happened at the end of Season 2: Johnny Lawrence is broken and giving up on life again, Miguel Diaz is in a coma, Johnny’s son Robby is hiding from the law enforcement, and Kreese is operating Cobra Kai.

The Plot

By far, the plot of the series is brutally compact with a lot of poetic throwbacks to the film trilogy. However, I believe the third season’s plot sells us short. We see a semi-repeat of Season 2 with Miguel helping Johnny impress girls and Johnny growing his relationship with Carmen Diaz, Miguel’s mother. Even the season finale depicts a rematch of the fight that literally happened in season 2. Among many others, an interesting one is the rehashing of the whole love triangle with Robby getting angry at Miguel and Sam “falling in love again.” The season seems to be reiteration of what already has happened, which is a key recurring theme in the series. Hopefully the creators of the franchise take the lessons they bring to the table: to their hearts as well.

The Narrative

The plot isn’t so great, but there is a plus side to that: the season becomes redeemed by the narrative. A narrative is often binding, no matter how expansive. Like Star Wars. The third season follows the Miyagi-Do and Cobra Kai dynamic, but it isn’t the teachers fighting it out this time. It’s the students. Sam LaRusso is willing to take things into her own hands, Hawk won’t stop bullying Demetri. Robby is willing to live by the Cobra Kai creed, you have a lot of the key character arcs of Season 2 culminating to their greatest peak. You can tell the story is being a little lazy, but essentially it just ends up like the Return of the Jedi from the Saga of Star Wars. The story has way fewer risks, but the result is somewhat more appealing: This season brings a renewed focus to the new characters — building their relationships, building their motivations for future seasons.

The Layering: Shading it together

What Cobra Kai’s third season does, is what movies and television series are constantly trying to do right. The layering. Adding motivations to characters, so you know it isn’t some white-headed nose-less wizard just trying to do stuff because evil is something to enjoy (if you didn’t get that reference, please search up “JK Rowling”). There is a composite and uniform slate of ideologies that make Cobra Kai so compelling to watch. This is why I believe the show has broken so many records to achieve ultimate success.

In season 3, we see the story delve into John Kreese’s background. A bullied teenager, with a mother suffering from mental problems on the verge of committing suicide, who then ends up enlisting to go to Vietnam. He fights in the war, loses his best friend to Vietnamese soldiers after failing to learn the “no mercy” lesson taught by his military superior (NOT EVEN REALIZING that his military superior actually withheld information about his girlfriend’s fatal car accident). As this storyline develops, Cobra Kai becomes dark very quickly. Kreese then ends up being forced to fight with his military superior. In this scene, you see the brutality that has formed the man we saw in Karate Kid and learn more about this season.

And here’s the bigger theme of Cobra Kai: everyone, in their own way, makes sense. Kreese failed to learn “strike first, strike hard, no mercy!” And when he did, he lost people he cared about, he suffered mentally and physically, but most of all: the regrets of those failures create the “monstrosity” which exists in the founder of the Karate Dojo: Cobra Kai. But we’re only skimming Kreese here, when we explore Daniel LaRusso, we explore Johnny Lawrence: you realize their fighting isn’t even over ideologies, of whose karate teachings make more sense. It’s about the people they care about: Daniel cares about Robby, he’s learned to accept Miguel-Sam’s relationship. Johnny has begun to care more about Miguel’s mother: he isn’t shy of who he WAS, when he talks to Ali; returns to the Karate spotlight by launching his dojo.

Is Nostalgia Getting too Much?

Let’s face it, the nostalgia on Cobra Kai makes you laugh, cry, scream, and take the show even more seriously. The past is what makes Cobra Kai’s present all the more endearing. It’s the basis of Cobra Kai’s success. The return of the old characters, and settings, and more importantly the dividing attitudes of society on survival in the real world. Cobra Kai, using this very nostalgia, has transformed this show into one about the hard route with a slate of moral values, and the shortcuts without an exact slate of moral values.

But we reach a point eventually in season 3 and ask ourselves: has the nostalgia reached its peak? Season 1 and 2 masterfully depict the continuation and evolution of what once was, while keeping core ideas intact. Season 3, meanwhile, is reminiscent of the post-Lucas Star Wars films. We see Daniel finding out about a whole new karate technique (Luke projecting himself across the galaxy), old villains who are now supposed heroes like Chozen (Boba Fett saving Baby Yoda), and a bit of copy-paste from Season 2 (Force Awakens copying A New Hope).

There’s very little at stake in Season 3, but….

There’s a Very Good Setup
Sam LaRusso, Miguel Diaz, Robby Lawrence, Tory Nichols, Daniel, Johnny, Demetri, Kreese and his gang … everyone has something to look forward to in the next season. Everything is suddenly at stake. The All-Valley Tournament next time isn’t some beef-bashing on love triangles: A dojo will close, a set of values will triumph, characters reach the peak of their arcs. No matter the shortcomings and great moments from Season 3, the fourth season will be worth the watch. 

Written by Yousaf Quereshi

Greater Clark School Board Will Vote on Cost Reduction Plan Tomorrow

Superintendent Mark Laughner says changes are crucial to making GCCS more financially stable

On Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, the Greater Clark County School Board will vote on the Cost Reduction Plan proposed by Superintendent Mark Laughner and his cabinet. If passed, the plan will cut the budget by over six million dollars in an effort to move the district away from deficit spending and restore cash balances, two things Laughner believes are crucial to making GCCS a more financially stable district. Laughner believes this plan uses money more efficiently, allowing for what he said is the ultimate goal, “Getting all the resources you can possibly get back into the classroom.”

One of the primary concerns for Laughner was the possibility of the Distressed Unit Appeals Board (DUAB) action. This board, created in 2012 by the Indiana Legislature, is meant to address school boards and other institutions in need of relief. According to Laughner, DUAB first looks to see whether a district has a plan in place to correct its financial state. At that point, they will often take action. That is a process Laughner hopes to avoid with the passage of the Cost Reduction Plan. 

Greater Clark County will cut about 3 million dollars from both the Educational Budget and the Operational Budget. Here is a closer look at the changes in the Cost Reduction Plan:

Education Budget

Bridgepoint Closing (Savings – $800,000 per year)

Under the proposal, Bridgepoint Elementary in Jeffersonville will close, and its students will be sent to either Franklin Square or Riverside Elementary. Bridgepoint staff will be moved to the new schools proportionally, and certain staff will be reassigned to different positions. For Laughner, the decision is an efficiency issue, “It’s not financially efficient to have small elementary schools anymore,” he says. However, he also highlighted the benefits of the larger and newer elementary schools for students, saying, “it’s just a better environment.” 

Corden Porter Site Changes (Savings – $500,000 per year)

The Reduction Plan will also seek to shift the Corden Porter program out of its centralized location in Downtown Jeffersonville to different locations. The high school portion of the program will be moved back into the Jeffersonville High School building, and the middle school program would be moved to Parkview Middle School. For Laughner, the goal for Corden Porter students is “to get them back to their home school” by allowing students to slowly immerse back into the school community, while still maintaining a separate area of the school for the students.

Elementary School Related Arts Staffing Change (Savings – $600,000)

In this plan, most related arts education would be taught by Related Arts Specialists supervised by four Related Arts Coordinators at the district level, who will be tasked with designing a consistent curriculum for the Related Arts Specialists. The plan also retains 1 certified teacher for related arts in each Elementary School. To attain this goal, the district will hire around 19 Related Arts Specialists and reassign 10 Media Clerks as Media/Tech Related Arts Specialists. Laughner believes this change, similar to one proposed last year, will “help us have a strong related arts program at the elementary level.” Laughner made sure to clear up some confusion, asserting that this plan in no way eliminates any related arts programs for elementary students and clarifying that it would not lead to the firing of any teachers.

Paraeducation Position Changes (Savings – $300,000)

The proposed Reduction Plan would reduce the number of paraeducation positions in the district. It would also usher in a hybrid approach in which some para-educators would be full-time while others would be part-time (29 hours). According to Laughner, the district would not take away benefits from any current paraeducators. On his decision, Laughner cited efficiency and the district’s difficulty acquiring paraprofessionals.“For years we’ve had a hard time filling para positions,” he says. He also said the district would be strategic to make sure this cut didn’t affect the classroom. 

Other Reductions within the Education Budget

  • Reducing 5 classified positions (Savings – $174,000)
  • Reducing 5 certified (full-time) positions through attrition  (Savings – $347,000)
  • Reducing early childhood education (ECA) positions (Saving – $140,000)
  • Contract Reductions for Administrators (Savings – $62,000)
  • Readjusting grant spending to offset educational spending (Savings – $30,000)
  • Attrition of other certified positions (Savings – $150,000)

Operational Budget

Custodial Service Outsourcing (Savings – Estimated $800,000, but will depend on provider)

If the Cost Reduction Plan is approved, Greater Clark will advertise for an outsourced provider of all maintenance and custodial services. While Laughner can’t guarantee that all current custodial staff will keep their jobs, he does guarantee that they will be able to apply to the new provider. He believes the outsourced provider will be able to pay workers more and provide a solid benefits plan. Acknowledging that this plan may leave current employees feeling uncertain, he said, “One thing I can assure you is that we are going to treat our employees fairly.”

Two-Tiered Busing for Jeffersonville Schools (Savings – $495,000)

Under the proposed plan, Greater Clark will implement a two-tiered busing system for Jeffersonville Schools. Currently, Jeffersonville operates with a three-tiered bus model (different buses for each age group: high school, middle school, and elementary.) If approved,  Jeffersonville schools will shift to a two-tiered system in which middle and high schoolers will ride the same buses. However, the policy could result in 10-15 minute longer bus drives for students, and bus drivers will now be tasked with dividing middle and high school students on the bus. Like many of the changes, Laughner believes the policy will, “allow us (GCCS) to be more efficient.”

Other Reductions within the Operations budget

  • Guaranteed Energy Savings Contract (Savings – $ 524,000, but will expand over time)
  • Reassign 2 permanent subs as bus drivers, and 1 permanent sub as an administrative office assistant (Savings – $135,000 per year)
  • Eliminate two New Washington Routes (Savings – $91,000 per year)
  • Estimated Reduction in the price of Service Contracts (Savings – $385,000)
  • Reduction of Maintenance positions through attrition ($50,000)
  • Moving bus drivers from collective bargaining agreement (CBA) leave to 2-day emergency leave (Savings – $236,000)
  • Other operational adjustments (Saving – $323,000)

Outlook for the Board Vote

Going into the meeting, Laughner expressed confidence in the board. “I’m fairly confident that they see the issue at hand and that they see that we have to do something,” Laughner said. Laughner also said that if the board doesn’t approve the budget, he would be forced to “go back and look at cutting teaching positions.” For him the choice is simple: “Essentially … we have to do something with our budget. You can’t spend more money than you’re bringing in for very long.”

The GCCS board will vote on the Budget Reduction at their 6 p.m. meeting on Jan. 26, 2020. The public can comment on the plan via a Google Form and watch the meeting at https://livestream.com/gccschools

*All price saving values are based on GCCS estimates

Story by Max Fisher

What Will Biden Do?

Today, Jan. 20, 2020, as Joe Biden is inaugurated as the 46th President, many Americans are asking, “What is Biden going to do as president?” The main concern for Biden is the COVID-19 pandemic, but what about other things? What about improving healthcare, immigration, criminal justice, and education? Well, here are some things that might answer your questions.

On his official campaign website (joebiden.com), Biden addresses the challenges ahead saying, “The battle to control the virus. The battle to build prosperity. The battle to secure your family’s health care. The battle to achieve racial justice and root out systemic racism in this country. The battle to save the climate. The battle to restore decency, defend democracy and give everybody in this country a fair shot. Our work begins with getting COVID under control.” So how and when will these statements become reality? 

According to buildbackbetter.com (Biden’s official transition website), Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris plan on doubling the drive-through testing sites. They also plan on free testing for all Americans and investing in next-generation testing, including home testing and instant testing. The Biden-Harris administration will support spending 25 billion dollars on vaccine manufacturing and distribution to get a vaccine to every American without cost. On the vaccine during the campaign Biden said, “This isn’t about politics. It’s about saving lives.” 

Following up on the topic of health is Biden’s plan for healthcare. The program will be similar to Medicare. With this, Americans would have the option for a Medicare-like government healthcare plan or choose their own private insurance. Biden’s plan also includes lowering the prices of prescription drugs, which Biden claims are “abusively priced generic drugs.” Buyers would also be able to purchase cheaper medications from other countries in hopes to mobilize competition. According to NBC News, undocumented immigrants will be a part of the public option. 

On the issue of immigration, Biden plans to take a much different approach to the United States immigration policy than outgoing President Donald Trump. Biden is planning on admitting 125,000 refugees per year and plans to raise that number over time, according to NPR. Biden also plans to immediately reverse the Trump administration policies that separate children from their parents at the border. There will also be an end to prolonged detention and asylum policies. Federal dollars will also be removed from funding the border wall, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will be held accountable for inhumane treatment. Trump’s Travel Ban, which Democrats have attacked as a Muslim ban, will also be rescinded. Biden also has the ambitious goal of giving citizenship for the United States’ 10.5 million undocumented immigrants, according to Forbes.

After many social justice movements protested police brutality last summer. Biden, who has been a long time supporter of our police system, is now pushing for reformation. Biden also hopes to adopt a national use of force standard, purchase body cameras, and recruit more diverse police officers to start police reform. The Biden administration is also expected to investigate local police departments for possible constitutional violations, says The Washington Post.

Educators will be happy to hear that Biden aims to raise educator pay, and plans to invest in more resources to help students emotionally and physically prepare for their future. Biden’s policy hopes to ensure that no students’ future will be determined by where they live, income, disability, or race. The Biden administration acknowledges the fact that class sizes are growing, but the pay is not. Democrats hope this policy will reduce the number of teachers who have to work second jobs to support their families. 

After two surprising Democratic wins in the Georgia senate runoff, Biden will enter office with majorities in both houses of Congress and hopes to unify the country. Democrats have high hopes for Biden; Jeffersonville High School junior Kyndia Motley says, “The one thing I want Biden to do is to stand on his word. People hustled and fought for his position in office because he convinced us he was real and passionate. All I ask of him is to stand on his promise.” For Motley and other Americans, the main question is, what will Biden do?

Story by Marni Scholl

There’s a First Time for Everything: Jeff High Seniors Experience This Election from a New Perspective

Amidst an election season that never seemed to end and a dramatic lead-up to tomorrow’s inauguration, it’s easy to forget the most important part of elections: the voters. Many new voters, including some Jeffersonville High School seniors, cast their first presidential ballot in this unprecedented election.

2020 was a year full of all sorts of chaos and confusion, especially since the world was hit with a global pandemic and civil unrest all in the same year as an election. These events occurring during an election year can make for some tough decisions on the candidates. Another thing candidates are dealing with are citizens who have never voted before. Jeff High, being a bridge between childhood and adulthood, has students who experienced voting for the first time.

Some of Jeff’s seniors decided to vote before the actual day. Senior Kaelin Elsner decided to go early, despite having planned to vote on election day, because she had to work the day of. Leading up to the election, Elsner said she felt a sense of “impending doom,” but now that the results are in she feels thankful. Senior Jynn Yoo also chose to vote early, as she had heard mail-in voting “is not a good option for an accurate count” (While this is Yoo’s opinion there is no credible evidence that voting by mail results in a less accurate count.)  Jynn was very anxious about the election before voting, as she did not feel her candidate of choice had a strong chance of winning. “Voting in such an important year made me feel like me or the younger generation had the power to make a difference.”

Other first time voters at Jeff decided to vote on Election day, such as Cameron Sanders. “I decided to vote in-person on Election Day due to how my voting area wasn’t that populated and I wasn’t worried about having to wait in a long line. On top of that, I was worried of marking my ballot wrong or mailing it in wrong, so I did it in person for the extra closure.” In regards to the voting process, Sanders said it felt “very underwhelming, yet overwhelming at the same time.” It was underwhelming because “there wasn’t much to do except bubble in who you wanted to vote for,” but he was nervous because voting is taught to be an extremely important thing.

Some voters decided to go on election day purely because the mail-in voting system is “untrustworthy” (While this is some people’s opinion, there is no credible evidence that mail-in voting is “untrustworthy.”)  Colin Brian, while not having cared about the results more than the other years, says the results are about what he expected. Brian also claims to have felt poorly leading up to the big day, as he feels both candidates have bad intentions in the end.

Other seniors, like Brian Klein, Evan Bealer and Mattie Blanton, went because of family. Klein didn’t know where to go until instructed by his aunt. He says he didn’t know anything about the process, but he was eager to learn. In the end, he felt like he had contributed to a major election. Blanton’s parents wanted her to go in-person so she could experience going in for her first election. Because of this, she was able to feel important in this election. Meanwhile, Bealer tagged along with his family. He says the opportunity to vote made him feel excited.

Some seniors who voted on Election day had the opportunity to have Jeff High as their voting area. Jordan Wagner, who voted at Jeff, said he was nervous because he had no idea how the process went. After voting, however, he said he felt good and as if he had suddenly grown up.

Seeing as she didn’t have time to vote earlier than Election day, Laura Gillenwater was forced to vote the day of. “[Voting for the first time] felt really empowering because I felt very strongly about this election and I was glad that I was able to vote.” Before the feeling of empowerment hit her, she felt nervous about her candidate not winning. “I had a clear candidate I wanted to win. I knew this election was going to be super close and that it could end up going either way.” Gillenwater was very happy with not only the results but the fact that this election year was able to give a lot of people who wouldn’t normally vote the chance to voice their concerns and opinions.

Unfortunately, some of Jeff’s seniors were not old enough to vote. Josiah Jackson was only 17 by Nov. 3. While not being old enough, he was still nervous. ”Being a person of color, it feels like either way things would be bad after.” Not being able to participate in the process, Jackson waited anxiously for the results. After a winner was announced, he said he is glad, and that we needed the change.

In a contentious and divided election, we often lose sight of those who the election is about, the voters, and for many, high school is the time where people first exercise their right to vote.

Story by Chloey Trinkle

Jeff High to Move Homecoming to Spring due to COVID-19 Restrictions

On Thursday, Jan. 14, Jeffersonville High School announced the decision to postpone Homecoming until Spring. The decision was made based on the results of a survey to seniors on when they prefer to have Homecoming. Natalie Bronson, a Jeff High science teacher who was in charge of the survey, said she and Principal Pam Hall were surprised by the survey results being in favor of moving Homecoming. 

They presented the option of moving Homecoming to the spring based on restrictions from COVID-19. Currently, Clark County is in the “red zone” – a label the Indiana Department of Health gives to counties most affected by COVID-19, because of the circumstances, Homecoming would have been very different than during football season. “The difference is we were outside. We didn’t have to worry about all that stuff,” says Bronson. 

Because of the circumstances, seniors opted to have Homecoming during baseball season, in hopes COVID restrictions will be eased by then. Bronson had some concern with the spring Homecoming citing that there are no sports in the Spring with a half-time.

Senior Kyle Guepe was indifferent to the choice, saying, “It’s not a big deal, when it happens doesn’t matter as long as it happens.” 

Junior Justus Bowman, who was planning to run for homecoming in the Winter, still plans to do so despite the change. She believes it was the right decision to push Homecoming to Spring saying, “hopefully our cases will go down, and it will be safer for us all to participate and enjoy ourselves.”

While most students and teachers seem indifferent or supportive of the change as long as they are able to have a homecoming, it is just another example of how COVID-19 has changed people’s lives.

Story by The Hyphen staff

QAnon: What is it, and is it Dangerous?

According to several news sources such as CNN, many of the people who stormed the U.S. Capitol building yesterday were part of extreme factions including QAnon. So what, exactly, is QAnon?

QAnon is a group of conspiracy theorists that are reaching hundreds of followers every day. This is happening because people spend immense amounts of time on the internet due to boredom from the pandemic. It is estimated QAnon has at least 100,000 followers, according to Julia Carrie Wong from Theguardian.com. The FBI has even labeled the group as domestic terrorism. QAnon didn’t just show up entirely out of the blue, however. It has its origin and history. The popularity of this conspiracy theory has skyrocketed over the past few months. Though QAnon is primarily concerned with North American politics, some other countries like Latin America and Europe believe in it. 

QAnon followers believe an anonymous online figure called Q posts clues and information about a large-scale conspiracy where Donald Trump is in a battle with secret democrats, Hollywood elites, and billionaires such as Bill Gates.

QAnon had its start on the 4Chan and 8Chan subculture websites where people can post anonymously. 4-Chan has an alt-right user base often spreading doctored images and misinformation, says Oscar Gonzalez from Cnet.com. QAnon believers will gravitate to particular anonymous posts on 4Chan and other alt-right websites where they interpret the post as relevant to their grand conspiracy. Supposedly Q has a trip code that makes his posts recognizable from other anonymous users. Most of these conspiracies fade away, but according to Theguardian.com, QAnon had help. Three unnamed conspiracy theorists dug deep to supposedly translate Q’s posts to make it more digestible for a typical audience. 

The prime concern of QAnon followers is that they think the types of people listed above have links to pedophilia, child trafficking, and even satanism. They also believe these people drain the blood from abused children to harvest a life-extending chemical from the blood called Adrenochrome supposedly. This is derived from the anti-Semitic belief that Jewish people would murder Christian children and use their blood for drinking and baking. All of this has been debunked many, many years ago, as reported by Theguardian.com. 

Megan Cutter is the acting director of the US National Human Trafficking Hotline operated by Polaris. Polaris is a nonprofit organization that works to fight human trafficking and modern-day slavery says, NationalPublicRadio.org. Cutter states that “So far, these (conspiracies) are unproven and are taking away from the discourse around how trafficking happens.” QAnon is creating more of a roadblock for helping trafficked children. It is spreading incorrect information about how trafficking works. Megan Cutter said that QAnon believers see child trafficking as violently stealing children out on the streets and taking them away, which can be the case but is rarer. The most common child trafficking strategy is when the child knows their trafficker before they know their intentions. They build trust with the person. Traffickers will also go for more vulnerable children like children that have been abused, have poverty issues, or have faced systemic racism.  

So why should we be concerned about any of this? Unfortunately, conspiracy theories like this can have real-life implications and consequences. With the popularity of QAnon on the rise, believers can vote in candidates that have QAnon beliefs or similar beliefs. This could affect state governments, the national government, and even the presidency. In this last election, there were candidates for important government offices who do believe in this conspiracy. 

Majorie Taylor Greene, the 2020 winner of a House seat in Georgia, is a firm believer in the QAnon conspiracies. She is now recognized as QAnon’s first political victory, as reported by Kevin Roose from the NewYorkTimes.com. While Greene is a firm believer, some candidates only believe in certain aspects of the conspiracy theory. Republican candidate Lauren Boebert says she doesn’t engage with conspiracy theories. Still, she has openly stated that she hopes Q is real, according to Em Steck, Nathan McDermott, and Christopher Hickey on CNN.com. Another Republican candidate Mike Cargile says, “I started checking into it. And a lot of it I agree with. There’s are some fringe elements I don’t agree with,” An independent candidate, KW Miller, has posted numerous QAnon hashtags, engages in the conspiracies, and has promoted QAnon through Facebook ads. He claims that he does not endorse QAnon, but his followers do. Catherine Purcell, an Independent Party of Delaware candidate, has reposted many QAnon hashtags and content and claimed that not all of the posts are her beliefs, says CNN.com.

A doctor by the name of Hadi Halazun tells NBC News that on his Facebook page, a man left messages saying that, “No one’s dying” (of COVID19) and that it is all “Fake news.” Halazun tried to tell his first-hand experience with dealing with the virus. In a reply, he was told by another user that he wasn’t a real doctor because he attended concerts and music festivals. They even asked for his credentials, and once Hadi Halazun did so, he was kicked off their wall. Dr. Duncan Maru, a physician, and epidemiologist in Queens, New York, heard from his colleagues that a young man went into the emergency room. It turns out it was from drinking bleach that damaged his intestinal tract. President Trump did suggest injecting disinfectants into our bodies as a possible treatment for Covid-19.

Some think that QAnon will fizzle away now that President Trump has lost the 2020 election, but others feel that QAnon may stick around for a long time or at least awhile. What do you think?

Story by Marni Scholl
Image licensed from Vectorstock.com

GCCS, Jeff High Teachers Keep an Eye on Safety

The school district and teachers have implemented many rules for student safety during COVID-19

Fear, panic and anxiety are just a few of the many feelings students could have about going to school during a global pandemic. For many this can cause worry and doubt about attending school, and can even drive some students to enroll into the online schooling. While other students continue to attend in person school with precautions. To reduce the risk of students catching COVID, many schools have mandatory procedures and precautions such as wearing masks. Some teachers have started to make rules of their own to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the classroom. 

Jeffersonville High School students have chosen from three options for learning during the 2020-2021 school year. The first of these options is the traditional learning provided by GCCS, in which students go to school five days a week for in-person classes. The second option provided is My School Online. In this option, students remain at home and continue to interact with Jeff High teachers via the internet. The third and final option provided by GCCS is their Virtual Academy program. This program costs $50 a semester and allows students to learn at their own pace via online communications with non- Jeffersonville High School teachers. On the GCCS website it states, “Whether students are attending school virtually or in person, Greater Clark has created challenging curriculum that will prepare them for tomorrow’s jobs and opportunities.” There are also some “hybrid” students, who attend some classes in person and other classes through My School Online.

Greater Clark County Schools, like many other school districts, has made the wearing of face masks mandatory in areas of the school in which it is difficult or impossible to social distance. Jeff High has also changed their cafeteria to allow for more distance between students while they eat by opening up hallways and areas of the gym so traditional students can enjoy a safe eating environment while they enjoy their lunch with friends.

The mandatory school rules aren’t the only thing changing, though. Justin Linde, a Jeff High English teacher, has also made changes. “The main thing that I’ve implemented in my classroom is to convert the classroom into a completely digital environment,¨ he says.

English teacher Justin Linde (photo by Paige Moore)

Jeff High science teacher Jessica Lacobee has digitized all of her work in an attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect both the students and herself from the virus. ¨I find that if students have a specific point in which they are all to walk to and turn something in it creates an unnecessary gathering,¨ she says.  Lacobee also does not want the risk of an assignment turned in from a student to make its way home and spread to people outside of school grounds. ¨I want to avoid any contamination as far as me bringing it home to grade papers and the potential of anything being in my home,¨ she says.

Science teacher Jessica Lacobee (photo by Lydia Church)

Lacobee believes that running her class digitally is also easier as it partially negates the trouble of trying to run a digital and traditional classroom at the same time. “A lot of teachers were starting the school year with the idea that you could run a traditional classroom and an online classroom at the same time efficiently and I have found that that has not worked,” she says.  While the experience has been a tough obstacle, Lacobee and many other teachers are finding ways around the problems COVID brings and teaching their students in a safe and efficient environment.

While teachers are doing their best to contain the pandemic, students appear to be trying to stop the spread rate of the virus as well. “I will say that by and large, the majority of students are adhering to the social distances rules pretty well,” Lacobee says. She also says that students have even taken to advocating and regulating mask wearing among their peers. “They [students] take it off or they pull it down to talk and then someone immediately jumps on them,” she says. She believes this is because students worry a lot about being quarantined and are ensuring their own safety. Linde says that he has noticed students keeping themselves safe. ¨I have observed students being very mindful of students using hand sanitizer, being safe, keeping their masks on, and being aware and taking the situation very seriously, even more so than their adult counterparts.¨

Written by Lily Hughes

Teachers and Students Pivot and Adjust to a New Way of Learning

Coronavirus forces sacrifice and leads to innovation

Teachers have always been subject to a certain societal pressure to succeed: they are accountable for educating the next generation, after all. They are having to face new challenges teaching in the global pandemic. Crucial to academic development, teachers are given little leniency amid this global crisis, especially when the safety concerns are, now more than ever, absolute. For example, teachers must enforce the mask mandate and are expected to correct misbehavior regarding it. Jeffersonville High School is a school that relied on traditional means of education, the norm was physically going to school. However, which path is the right way is no longer clear, and the traditional method no longer stands alone.

Ahnya Evinger, a grade 9 English teacher, is balancing the needs of both traditional and online students. “It is important to understand that different students have different needs, and different families have different needs,” she said. Teachers must now cater to two different student bodies in the same classroom atmosphere. “It’s like everything else at the beginning of the year: getting into the swing of things, and starting to adjust to having students simultaneously in both methods.”

Ahnya Evinger, grade 9 English teacher

Teachers must familiarize themselves with new online systems and can no longer rely on physical work alone. Traditional schooling presents challenges, and they are expected to adhere to safety regulations as well as enforce them. Since going back, they must follow a new protocol, which includes wearing a mask, frequently washing hands, and cleaning desks between classes. With this new year, despite its massive shifts, they are prepared.

“I appreciate that Greater Clark County Schools is on the cutting edge as far as technology goes,” said Evinger. “When we had to shut down in March, we were prepared for E-Learning. We had already practiced that.” They had insight into what the future may look like despite COVID developments, which gave them leverage when it came to schooling online.

Students are also learning how to navigate this new online system and adjust to other changes. For example, block scheduling was implemented this year. Evinger says the block schedule allows for more time to interact with students. “It also gives me that time to really get to know my students right off the bat,” Evinger said. “I’m spending more than an hour with them everytime I’m with them.” A large influx of collaborative effort has also poured into the new year as well. Teachers are relying on one another a lot more and depending on their students to continue doing their part whether they are in the classroom or not.

Learning to prioritize certain matters and procedures has been instrumental in establishing these new grounds. There are times where safety takes precedence, even if that means taking the last few minutes of class to sanitize the room. 

Essentially, the current circumstances have required trade-offs and sacrifices, while also revealing opportunities to make learning more effective for everyone. “There are teachers all over the building who are pivoting what they’re doing. They’ve realized that what they’ve worked on and done in the past might not work this year, and so they’ve had to pivot in a new direction […] and finding new ways to reach their audience,” Evinger stated. This new year has proved the resilience among staff and students, and we can only hope it will continue to expand.

Written by Amber Walker

COVID-19 Casts a Shadow Over Winter and Spring Sports Prep

Jeffersonville High School athletes are trying to keep in shape and healthy even as there are some concerns about how things will unfold this year with COVID-19.

Basketball, a winter sport, presents many challenges specific to the sport such as physical contact, touching the same ball, and being played inside. Sophomore boys basketball player Conner Lyons has some concerns but is ready to start the new season. He says his most pressing concern is “guarding people and close contact,” but Lyons’ concerns are overpowered by his drive to get back out on the court. “It’s always been my dream and that’s what I want to do when I get older,” he says. As of right now, the first game for Jeffersonville boys basketball is scheduled for December 5.

Members of the Jeff High baseball team, who have already lost their spring season this year, are trying to stay positive but realistic despite losing some senior talent. Baseball also has the benefit of being a more spaced out game that is played outdoors. Sophomore baseball player Sam Whallen isn’t getting his hopes up, saying, “we might not end up playing this season because of COVID.” The Jeff High baseball team’s first game is scheduled for April 2. 

Members of the Jeff High softball team are also trying to prepare for a spring season in 2021. Senior Danielle Monroe says the team is beginning winter workouts, which are different this year because of social distancing. Still, she feels like the effort will pay off in the spring. “I’m hopeful. I think we’ll have a season,” Monroe says. “I really hope so because it’s my senior year.”

The Indiana High School Athletics Association (IHSAA) has said the organization is committed to letting students play, saying they believe it is “essential to the physical and mental well-being of student-athletes to return to organized physical activity and build team relationships with their peers and coaches.”

Although every sport has its own precautions for the safety of players, coaches and fans, they have one thing in common: in the age of COVID, athletes are optimistic but unsure about the future.

Story by Caleb Vincent

GCCS Board Approves Revised Spring Semester Calendar

During last night’s meeting of the Greater Clark County School Corporation Board of School Trustees, school board members approved a revised calendar for the second semester of the 2020-2021 school year. The approved calendar is similar to what had been previously approved by the board — with the same dates for semester start, semester end, graduation, and spring break — but with the addition of seven additional e-learning days. 

The e-learning days will be asynchronous and will take place every other Friday. According to a message sent to parents and staff, these built-in days will “allow GCCS staff the ability to increase parent communication, hold in-person assessment opportunities for online students, and receive ongoing professional development.” 

In presenting the calendar to the board, Superintendent Mark Laughner called the plan a “very good compromise” and noted that the district is “trying to balance the needs of all stakeholders, which in this situation is very difficult.” He also noted that the Clark county health department or the state could require the district to switch to e-learning at any time.

The approved calendar preserves a two-week spring break starting March 22. The calendar does not call for e-learning over spring break. 

The majority of the discussion prior to voting was not about the dates on the calendar, but rather about how much notice and involvement parents should have in the calendar approval process. Board members commented that they had received two kinds of input leading up to the meeting: some parents and businesses asked for a quick decision on the calendar so they could make plans, while others pushed for more time to review the proposal before a vote. Laughner noted that with the exception of COVID-19 and moving to a balanced schedule, “we typically do not survey parents.” In the end, the board was split on their vote but did approve the calendar as submitted.

As for Jeff High students, they see good and bad sides of the plan. Junior Abby Napper said, “I wish they would’ve kept the 2 weeks on, and 1 week off, but I like it the way it is now.” Junior Benjamin Broady says the smaller number of e-learning days would be okay “if they weren’t so scattered in nature.” However, Broady noted, “I guess it makes more room for more instructional time.”

Written by The Hyphen News staff

Jeff High’s Confusing First Quarter

As students wrap up the first quarter, the hallways are much less crowded than in years past.

As the first quarter nears the end, Jeffersonville High School students are wrapping up a first nine weeks like none before. The school year began with a virtual week and there have been non-stop changes ever since. On September 25, Jeff High will complete its first quarter with more than one-third the days being e-learning and more than half of the student body working through MySchool Online. 

While the year has been abnormal, Jeffersonville High School Principal Pam Hall is proud of how the students have handled the changes. “I have been so pleasantly surprised,” says Hall. You [students] all have been so compliant, behavior has been wonderful. You all had a lot of changes thrown at you.” 

Hall also feels that the school has dealt with the challenges well and was well prepared for the situation. She says they are constantly getting guidance from the health department, and they have a well-tested system in place.

When Hall is informed of a positive test of a Jeff High student, she asks the student a series of questions to better understand their activities and how to proceed with contact tracing. This includes retracing the infectected person’s location to assess who they were in close contact with and to find others possibly infected. Then she lets the central office know of the case. The nurse determines the contact tracing time frame, and then in building personnel find and alert students that have been in close contact.

One of the most dynamic aspects of this school year is the decision-making on in-person schooling. While the decision is made at the district level, Hall says they decide based on the quality of work students would receive. For example, she cites the school closure for the week of August 17-21. For this week, many teachers were out for legitimate reasons and in looking at the numbers they came to the decision that students would be better academically served by an e-learning week. 

Despite cooperation from students, parents, teachers, and staff, some aspects of high school are impossible to replicate at this point in time. And for Hall, that’s what makes her most disappointed especially for the seniors. 

Looking forward, Hall would love to get back to a normal school environment, saying, “I miss the excitement. I miss all the things that come with school.” But she acknowledges the reality of this year.  “I don’t know if after this school year it will ever look like it did before.”

Opinion: We Are Reaching a Breaking Point

Opinion by The Hyphen Staff

Editor’s note: This piece was written collaboratively by the 14 members on The Hyphen staff. Since this group makes up 0.0067 percent of the student population at Jeff High, we aren’t exactly a representative sample. That being said, our job is to serve as the voice of the students — and we’ve done our best to represent every single one of you.

The alarm goes off at 6:00 a.m. Or maybe it’s noon. Or maybe there is no alarm at all.

The Google Classroom is overflowing with dozens of to-do items. Or maybe it’s just a few. Or maybe it’s none.

The agenda for the day is to log in to four Google Meet sessions. Or maybe it’s just two. Or maybe it’s none.

By the end of the day, we will have completed eight hours of work. Or maybe it’s just a few hours. Or maybe it’s none.

If there is one thing consistent about the experience of a Jeff High student during Coronavirus, it is inconsistency. Specifically, we have noted inconsistencies in:

  • Amount of work
  • Whether the class has live Google Meets
  • Whether Google Meets are required
  • When the Google Meets take place
  • When the assignments are due
  • Whether work can be turned in late

The result is that we are constantly dealing with conflicting priorities — and we are overwhelmed, exhausted, and confused.

Yes, we realize there are bigger issues. Because of Coronavirus, some students don’t know how they will get their next meal. Some are in abusive situations at home that they can’t get away from. Some are dealing with depression and anxiety made worse by isolation.

We can’t fix everything, but we can suggest some changes the school district could consider as a way to lessen stress and increase motivation:

1 – Standardize expectations. Do teachers have Google Meets or not? Are they required or not? Are assignments due in an hour or a day? Are office hours for My School students or everyone? When do office hours happen? What’s the best way to reach out to my teacher?

2 – Respect the block. Although opinions on block scheduling are mixed, we agree that it does help us focus. Please avoid posting to-do items for classes on their “off” day or having a Google Meet during another class period.

3 – De-emphasize writing. We are used to showing what we know in class, not just writing all day. Writing takes longer than speaking or thinking, and it is challenging for a lot of people who are otherwise good communicators. If there’s a way to have us show what we know without writing (for instance, draw something and snap a picture), please do that. It is more work to do everything in writing, and it just gets repetitive after a while.

4 – Keep our other commitments in mind. During a typical school year, students have other obligations that keep them busy: jobs, sports, household responsibilities. It’s no different with Coronavirus. In fact, many students are working more hours because their workplaces see “online” as “on call all the time.” Many are also taking on more responsibility for watching siblings and helping around the house. 

5 – Consider the impact of last spring. The entire fourth quarter was a dud for students. For more than a month, students were not expected to keep the same level of academic focus as we are used to. Most students didn’t even take final exams. Due to this, many are more likely to struggle. 

6 – Be kind. A lot of students are going through a really tough time. They don’t show it. They don’t say it. Yes, sometimes we let you down. Sometimes we get overwhelmed and can’t keep up. Please show forgiveness and kindness. We’re all trying to get through this and get back to “normal” (whatever that is). 

These times are not normal. It’s important to realize that the student body is simply a reflection of the world. We’re just as overwhelmed, exhausted, and confused about our future as adults are. We are just as eager for rays of hope, for a light at the end of the tunnel, for life “after all this is over.” 

Also, we know that our teachers are overwhelmed and stressed, too. We aren’t placing all the blame there. In fact, we want to say thank you to some of the people who make this difficult time a little easier. 

  • Mr. Densford, Ms. Paul, Miller and Martinez: Thank you for caring about how we are doing, not just what we are doing.
  • Mr. Hornickel: Thank you for keeping us engaged and active.
  • Mr. McDonald, Ms. Johnson and Mr. Robinson: Thank you for being clear and consistent.
  • Mrs. Rector, Mr. Wigginton, and Mr. Dench: Thank you for always reaching out and making sure everyone’s up to speed. 
  • Principal Hall and the Assistant Principals: Thank you for everything you are doing to keep us safe.

Jeff High Graduate Virginia Moore: “Shocking” Fame Provides a Platform to Help Others

For many people in our area, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear’s daily COVID-19 briefing became a staple of their daily routines. The briefings inspired virtual meet-ups, catchphrases like “you can’t be doin’ that” and even a meme group on Facebook that grew to more than 200,000 members. One aspect of the briefing — and the memes — that got a lot of attention is the sign language interpreter, Virginia Moore. However, most don’t know Moore is a Red Devil.

Moore grew up with both of her parents and two of her siblings being deaf. “My first language was sign language,” she says. However, leaving Jeff High she never thought her career would involve Sign Language, and after graduating in 1980 she attended Michigan State to study criminology.

Her plans changed when she came home from MSU after her father was involved in a car accident. She opted to complete her degree at Indiana University, and to pick up some extra cash she began interpreting for students. After going between different jobs, she would find her career path.

She became the interpreter for the Executive Director of the Kentucky Commission of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Over the years she worked her way through the agency, eventually becoming the Executive Director. The main operation of the agency is to provide advice to the governor’s office on policies affecting the deaf and hard of hearing communities.

However, it was only recently that Moore entered the spotlight as she began interpreting for the Governor at his COVID-19 briefings. 

virginia-meme

Jeffersonville High School graduate Virginia Moore gained meme-worthy fame as sign language interpreter for Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear.

While most of the attention she receives is for her interpretation, Moore and the agency continue to advocate for the deaf and hard of hearing during the pandemic, and it’s at times like these that their work is most important. 

Often, the needs of these communities are not factored in. For example, as the prison system was adapting to the pandemic they began issuing masks. However, many deaf and hard of hearing individuals rely on lip reading to understand others. So Moore and the agency advocated to provide clear masks.

While she has been busy, Moore has noticed the fame she has acquired, “It has been a little bit shocking,” she says. But Moore sees this publicity as more of an asset than anything else. “As COVID is a very horrible virus…there’s this little gold nugget. What we’ve been able to accomplish in the last three months is more than I’ve been able to accomplish in the twenty years prior,” she says.

Over the course of the pandemic, she says she has identified one thing more effective than any other: unity. Moore says, “In order to get something accomplished there is no Republican or Democrat… we can’t have these divisions at the beginning of something like this.”

But through it all she maintains an optimistic view, especially for students. Speaking to the Jeff High graduates and students she says.”This generation of graduates are truly the most creative… This is the one generation that everyone will remember.”

The History and Legacy of Jeffersonville’s Taylor High School

A forgotten piece of history stands at 821 Wall Street in Jeffersonville, Indiana. The two-story building is boarded up, the red bricks slowly losing their color. Over the entrance of the building are the cracked white words “City School.” To passerbys, this may not look like anything special, just a decrepit structure that has worn away over time.

This building is Taylor High School, Jeffersonville’s former African-American school. Built in 1891 and initially named City School, the school was renamed after Robert Frank Taylor (its first principal) in 1924. This building has seen the Great Depression, weathered the Great Flood of 1937 and was a school for the black children of Jeffersonville throughout segregation.

Though Taylor High School had the words high school in its name, it enrolled grades one through 12. The building was basic compared to the all-white Jeffersonville High School and it did not have indoor plumbing or heating.

Flora Clipper, age 97, attended the school from 1936 to 1940. “All of our education was segregated,” Clipper said. “We were always angry (and) unhappy at the difference between Taylor High School and Jeff High. We had no kind of gym, we had no kind of extracurriculars….We were always very unhappy about the condition of segregated schools….We wanted an education equal…to the white schools.”

While education changed as necessary for Jeffersonville High School, it did not evolve for those who were enrolled at Taylor High School. “Education had changed for the white kids,” said Clipper. “We were expected to keep with the same model that was started in 1892.”

In January and February of 1937, the Ohio River flooded and in the Louisville area, the river gauge levels rose to 57 feet. In Jeffersonville, 90 percent of homes were flooded. The majority of buildings had water up to the second story.
Because of the damage from what is now known as the Great Flood of 1937, many of Taylor High School’s students were hopeful that they would get a new school.

“There were many of the young people who said, ‘Now we gonna get a new school. I know we gonna get a new school,’” Clipper reflected. “They were disheartened when…we did not get a new school. Some of the boys never did come back after the flood. Because…they had to try to get work to help out with the families at home.”

For the black students, graduating from Taylor High School didn’t make a difference when it came to searching for jobs. “One of the difficult things was that, in those days, when you graduated from high school, that didn’t make any difference as far as your employment was concerned,” Clipper explained. “And I can remember the boys in our class used to always complain about that. Because at Jeff High…they were having other things that would make them employable.”

In 1952, two years before the Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education ruled that segregation of schools was unconstitutional, Jeffersonville’s school system was integrated. According to an article by the Courier-Journal that was published in 2009, the building was turned into Wall Street Elementary school, a school that enrolled both African-American and white students. However, the elementary school closed in the 1970s.

As reported by the Courier-Journal, on April 4, 2009, a historical marker was put in front of the building. Tom Galligan, the mayor of Jeffersonville at the time, declared the day Taylor High School Day. Later, Taylor High School was made a site on the Indiana African-American Heritage Trail.

The building stands neglected now, with the marker offering a brief summary of the decades of history the structure contains and represents. While it is easy to put off issues such as segregation as long ago, Taylor High School is a reminder of the past and a reminder of the injustices that African-Americans experienced.

Story and photos by Greta Reel
Archival research by Greta Reel and Jaida Bell

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Photo Gallery: Community, School Leaders Celebrate the Start of Baseball Facility Construction

On Thursday, November 21, school leaders gathered with past and present Jeff High baseball players to celebrate the beginning of construction for Jeff High’s new baseball facility. The project, which includes a new turf field and a replacement of the outer fencing, is being funded by a $500,000 donation from the John Schnatter Foundation. 

Papa John’s Pizza founder John Schnatter, a 1980 Jeff High graduate and baseball player, was on hand for the event. Schnatter thanked attendees for their support and said it was good to be back at Jeff after 30 years.

Although the facility will be named the John Schnatter Stadium, the field will still be named after former coach Don Poole. Poole also spoke at the event. 

Construction is expected to be complete in time for the first home baseball game in the spring of 2020.

 

Story and photos by Kyle Tincher

RED! WHITE! RED! WHITE! We all fight for the Jeff High Spirit Stick — but WHY?

 

 It’s homecoming season. You’ve waited all week and the pep rally is finally here. You are separated by classes. Underclassmen are wearing red and upperclassmen are wearing white. You’re screaming back and forth, yelling ” RED!” and ” WHITE!” at the top of your lungs, all to win the spirit stick. But why is a red cardboard tube worth so much to Jeff High students? 

Principal Julie Straight says the answer is simple: “There’s pride in fighting for the school together, just showing that spirit and pride for the school.” A Jeff High graduate, Straight remembers battling over a spirit stick when she was a student — although it wasn’t the same spirit stick we have now. 

The current spirit stick came from Nancy Molnar, a former teacher at Jeff, who made it herself in the early 1990s. She says, “I had new carpet installed in my house. When it was completed…the installer asked if I needed the carpet roll. I looked at it and immediately knew it would work. I sawed the length I knew I could handle at school and big enough for students to see. I fluffed up the plastic at the end to appear like something…perhaps a flame. I placed it on my husband’s sawhorses and painted it red, bought the striped ribbon and glued it down on the stick.” 

Although we don’t know exactly when Jeff High students started battling over some form of stick, we do know that a similar tradition that has been around for many decades. A 1972 yearbook photo shows students claiming a “spirit jug” at a pep rally.  

Principal Straight says that this history and tradition is part of what makes every battle over the spirit stick great. “It brings that bit of nostalgia.”

The seniors claimed the spirit stick at this year’s fall homecoming pep rally.
The 1972 Jeff High yearbook shows a predecessor to the spirit stick: the spirit jug. The caption reads, “J.V. cheerleader, Vanessa Rorrer accepts the spirit jug for the Sophs. from varsity cheerleader Bev Brogan.”


Story by Kaitlyn Monroe

 

PDF: April 1, 2019

march-cover-pic-editedIn addition to a cover story about e-cigarettes, this month’s issue of The Hyphen explores the psychology of addiction. Download now to view:

    • The powerful pull of video games
    • Might as well face it: you’re (possibly) addicted to love
    • The addictive nature of drama and gossip
    • Sports previews for softball, baseball and girls tennis
    • Basketball and bowling sectional championship photos
    • And more …

 

Download PDF

PDFs: Election 2018

The Hyphen is back with our first issue of the 2018-2019 school year, featuring:

  • “This is America,” an opinion piece about how the debate over kneeling for the national anthem reflects divisions in our nation
  • Profiles of the 9th district congressional election candidates and Greater Clark County School Board candidates
  • Behind-the-scenes photos of the JHS Theatre tech crew building sets for OLIVER! The Musical
  • A recipe featured on the recent Jeff’s Chefs cooking demo
  • And more…

Download PDF

MULTIMEDIA: JHS’ Baseball Brotherhood

story by Tristan Jackson

video by Bella Bungcayao, Tristan Jackson and Kyle Tincher

Four brothers. One bond.

For many boys growing up in Southern Indiana, one sport has become a way for them to connect and make friends. As spring hits they flock to the field to play their favorite sport: baseball

From the Little League fields of Jeff/GRC to Jeff High’s own Don Poole Field, seniors Gabe Bierman, Bailey Falkenstein, Hunter Schmitz, and Trey Bottorff have played together since they were seven years old.

“All sports give you a special connection with, and baseball has really brought us closer together,” Schmitz said.

The bond between the four players can be seen as they take the field together, and in the dugout as they get the team hyped for the game ahead of them.

“Team chemistry is one of the most important things in all sports, and it’s going to help us win,” Bottorff said. “I know what brings Gabe, Bailey, and Hunter down and I know how to bring them up.”

Hit after hit, play after play, each guy does his part to make the teammates around them better. And this is very noticeable between these four.

“We play baseball and then we go hang out together. I mean we’re always around each other,” Falkenstein said.

For the past 11 years, these guys have been nearly inseparable. Even though this will mark their last year of competitive baseball together, the quartet will be friends for life.   

“We’ve been playing for so long together, it’s a lifelong connection,” Bierman said. “I’ll be with these guys for the rest of my life.”

Gabe, Hunter, and Trey all plan on attending Indiana University next fall, with Gabe being the lone Red Devil taking his play to the next level and playing for the Hoosiers.

Trey and Hunter with both be going to further their education, going to study pre-law and sports management, respectively, while still cheering on their brother, who has MLB aspirations.

“It’s a dream still, and in order to make that happen, hard work must be put in,” Bierman said on his hopes to play professionally in an interview with The Hyphen earlier in the year.

Bailey will go a different route, and attend Olney Central Junior College in Illinois, where he continue both his baseball and basketball careers.

While this year will likely mark their last year of baseball together, the bond they made will last forever.

“We are not just teammates, we are brothers,” Bottorff said.

In this, their last go-round, they will look to compete for a state championship as a part of the No. 7 ranked Red Devils, who have gotten out to a 17-4 record start this season, and have already clinched the Hoosier Hills Conference.

Four brothers. One bond. And it all comes down to this season: the final chapter.

MULTIMEDIA: Dogs Helping Heroes

project by Ali Apman, Kristen Jacobs and Adley McMahel

Dogs Helping Heroes is a nonprofit organization that provides trained service dogs to wounded warriors and first responders to help mitigate their disabilities. On April 7, 2018, the doggos invaded the Big 4 Bridge to help Southern Indiana veterans.

MULTIMEDIA: Net up or Heads up

video by Emma Ellis & Haylee Hedrick

At Jeffersonville High School, the baseball field and tennis courts sit within feet of each other. While the close proximity is useful for watching two sporting events at once, it also creates a safety issue with foul balls easily reaching the tennis courts.

Hyphen writers Emma Ellis and Haylee Hedrick look at the issue, and what can be done to ensure safety for all JHS athletes.

MULTIMEDIA: Jojo Spio’s Journey to JHS

— STORY BELOW VIDEO —

From South Africa, JHS junior Jojo Spio’s journey has been unique

story by Tomi Clark & Greta Reel

In a society where prejudices and discriminations still exist, it makes it tougher and tougher for immigrants to live peacefully without being labeled as different. Coming from across the world, from a different culture, and from a different society is difficult, but not impossible — and 16-year-old Jojo Spio has proved that.

A junior at Jeffersonville High School, Spio excels in his classes, and though he appears shy, he is quite the opposite. However, Spio does not have a typical backstory, as he immigrated from South Africa when he was eight years old.

Adjusting to life in America isn’t easy for most immigrants, illegal or not, and Spio can identify with those hardships.

“Getting used to living in the U.S. was a challenge at first, and it took me months to adjust to certain customs and social norms. At first I didn’t really fit in because of how I dressed or the way I talked but over time, as people got to know me, I was able to assimilate to American culture. I was able to make new friends and feel welcome,” Spio said.

Spio’s family initially wanted to move to New York City, but instead they chose to move to the friendly and small city of Jeffersonville because they had a family friend living there.

Since then, Spio has adjusted to living in the U.S. and became a U.S. citizen in eighth grade when his parents completed the citizenship test. Spio is involved in numerous clubs and organizations at Jeff High, including class officers, student council, and National Honor Society. He has an exceptional G.P.A., and friends and teachers know him as owning a charismatic and amiable personality.

“He is an outstanding young man, both as a student as well as an asset to our school.  He is very friendly and helpful to those around him,” AB Calculus teacher Shadd Clarke said. “He acts a leader in many ways, such as leading impact activities, student council, and acting as an Academy Ambassador for our corporation.”

Given his past and the extracurriculars he’s involved in, it should come as no surprise that Spio is politically involved and is passionate about politics and social issues.

“I’ve known Jojo since middle school and he’s always been extremely passionate about social and political issues, but also passionate in every other aspect possible,” said Kate Stinson, a close friend of Spio.

Spio is a fervent Democrat and was a strong advocate of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election. When Donald Trump won the presidency and took office, hostility toward immigrants increased considerably. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that protects immigrants illegally brought to the U.S. as children, is in peril of being cancelled by Trump. Spio sympathizes with those immigrants, given his own background.

“Coming from a foreign country has widened my perspective in terms of immigration type policies,” Spio said. “Being an immigrant, I can sympathize with those wanting to become American citizens or those wanting to live in this country and live the American dream…DACA recipients are our teachers, students, leaders, doctors. They have contributed to this country as much as anyone else,” he said.

Spio has plenty of light at the end of the tunnel and has enough dreams and aspirations to fill the entire galaxy. His motivation for a future and grades will carry him a long way, which proves that any immigrant can be successful in America and offer much to the country.

America has a long way to go when it comes to hatred and discrimination toward immigrants, but many forget that the country was built by immigrants. These immigrants came from different countries and different backgrounds, and made the country what it is today.

Spio is on track to be one of these people, and will make the country even better than it already is.

Jeffersonville vs. Floyd Central Boys Basketball Preview

Preview
The Jeffersonville boys basketball team (10-1) faces another tough rival on the road next Tuesday — the game was scheduled for Friday, but will be pushed back due to incoming inclimate weather– less than two weeks after an 85-61 loss to the No. 3 New Albany Bulldogs.
Jeff will travel to Floyd Central (10-2) to take on the Highlanders, a match-up between two top-20 teams in the state. Floyd’s home court advantage will play a big factor against Jeff, but will be nothing in comparison to what the Red Devils faced against New Albany in the Doghouse.
For Jeffersonville, they head into this game with something to prove. Expect a quick start for the Red Devils, and for leading-scorer Bailey Falkenstein to come out firing. If Floyd comes out in their typical 2-3 defense, Jeff will look to dominate the low block, and kick out to Falkenstein and Jacob Jones once Floyd’s help defense starts to collapse.
If FC comes out man-to-man, Floyd may not have the athleticism to match-up with Jeff, especially the Coleman brothers (Jaden and Tre). Either way, I think Jeff has too much fire for Floyd to contain them on the offensive end.
Cobie Barnes and Luke Gohmann will handle the bulk of Floyd’s scoring, as per usual. These two are both very talented scorers, but will be put to the test against Jeff, who likes to push the pace on both sides of the court.
With that said, both players will put up a good offensive performance, but Jeff has the ability to limit their impact if they come out aggressive on the defensive end and force turnovers.

Prediction
Pace will determine this game.
If Jeff is able to move the ball up the court and get quick transition buckets, their athleticism will be too much for Floyd to contain, and Jeff will dominate the game. If Floyd is able to slow the game down and work in the half-court, Jeff will have trouble stopping the two-headed monster of Barnes and Gohmann.
I won’t predict a score because this game could really go either way, but I’d lean towards Jeff coming out with a victory. Whoever comes out on top, you can expect a hell of a game in Floyd County.

Conclusion
The Jeffersonville sports fan in me wants to say they will dominate come Friday, but the reporter in me knows this one is too close to call.
No matter who you’re cheering for, you can expect a great game next Tuesday. I believe fans in the stands will be pleased by the performance from both star-studded teams.
Starting Lineups
Jeffersonville- Jacob Jones, Bailey Falkenstein, Jaden Coleman, Zeke Smith, Tre Coleman.
Floyd Central- Matt Weimer, Gabe Shireman, Luke Gohmann, Cobie Barnes, Brendon Hobson.

Transitions: the story of Vic Tomes

story by Kristen Jacobs

Senior Vic Tomes puts his pants on one leg at a time. He draws, plays instruments, and has friends that love and care for him.

In a lot of ways, Vic is exactly like the rest of us. But in some ways, he is not.

That’s how everyone is though, right? Everybody has ways they are like the rest, but they also have originality.

Vic is just the same.

Although Vic was born a female, he identifies as a male. At the beginning of his sophomore year, Vic realized who he was.

“Being trans, you’re always trans, it just comes to this point where you realize the way you’ve been living isn’t how you want to be living,” Vic says.

Feeling unaccepted, Vic hid his true self from the rest of the world. After falling into a depression, he attended therapy to release his thoughts and feelings.

Finally, Tomes surrendered to himself, and confided in his mom, Kristie, about who he truly is. On the way to a concert for the band Avatar, Vic divulged that he was transgender.

He was never surprised by his mom’s reaction — there was no screaming, no yelling, no crying — just unconditional love. That’s all she has ever had for Vic: love and acceptance, no matter who he is.

Once Tomes acquired enough courage, he decided to come out to the world on social media.

Of course, showing yourself to the world comes with a price. Although the truth was met with support, it was also met with hatred and hostility.

“People are very closed-minded,” says Vic. “But I’ve realized that I have never surrounded myself with negative people.”

In fact, many people in Vic’s life have been supportive, including his older sister, Haylea.

“Well I’ve always known on a certain level that he was transgender. At first, I thought it was just a tomboy stage and he would grow out of it, but later in life, I realized that it was who he was,” Haylea said. “When he told me, I was more happy that he had the courage to come and talk to me about it, and I wasn’t worried about anything else than protecting my brother and making sure he knew he was loved and that I supported him.”

Another JHS student that identifies as transgender, Shaun Williams, supported Vic’s decision to share his news.

“I didn’t expect it, but I was happy that he found himself, and I’m happy that we can relate a lot now,” Williams says.

Although Vic’s immediate circle includes supportive people in his life, he also has some people against him: one being the President of the United States, Donald Trump.

Months after Vic decided he wanted to join the Navy, Trump released a statement banning trans soldiers, saying “…the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military.”

According to a 2014 Research and Development study, it is estimated that somewhere between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender individuals serve active duty in the United States military. However, no statement was made about the actions that will be taken regarding these current military members.

Vic was disappointed by this statement, but has decided that if President Trump follows through with his declaration, he will join the Peace Corps. His dream is to travel and be accepted, both of which he can do in the Peace Corps.

“That’s my dream,” Tomes says, “to travel the world, meet as many people as possible, and help them in any way I can.”

Vic believes that body parts don’t define a person. He is confident in his belief that someone is who he or she feels they are, and whatever parts that individual is born with don’t distinguish the person he or she is inside.

According to Vic, he is the same as everyone else. He eats, he drinks, he breathes.

“The only reason I am different from the rest of you,” Vic says, “is my green hair.”

Here 2 Stay?

story by Carlos Molina 

It is known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

In short, it was a program for illegal immigrants who entered the country as minors to receive a renewable two-year window of deferred action of deportation and eligibility for a work permit.

This program, which was passed in June 2012 by the Barack Obama administration, protected over one million children from being deported after they were brought to the United States illegally with their parents. Those children, nicknamed “Dreamers”, were eligible for work permits and the chance to learn (and succeed) in this nation.

Fast forward five years, and major changes are on the horizon for the program.

On Sept. 5, 2017, the Donald Trump administration ordered the Department of Homeland Security to stop processing new applications, all but halting the program. In addition, Trump has since given Congress six months to come up with an idea for those children, or they will face deportation.

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In a statement made by General Attorney Jeff Sessions, he used controversial language calling these children “illegal aliens,” saying they have “victimized millions of American citizens with this unfair system.”

These words have offended many DACA recipients, including students at Jeffersonville High School. Senior Mayra Hielo-Venzor is a “Dreamer” and the program has allowed her to live life as a normal American teen until recent events.

“We call ourselves ‘Dreamers’ because that is what we are — we dream of having an opportunity in America,” Venzor said. “(DACA) was policy that enabled immigrants to study, have a job and simply be able to feel safe here. I say ‘was’ because that has now been taken away from us.”

With the end of the program, the impact will not only affect over 800,000 Dreamers nationwide, but could also hurt the United States’ economy if they are sent away.

“Many argue that DACA is unconstitutional, that we can’t just come to a country, and demand things. We were children and teenagers who came with family members,” Venzor said. “We didn’t do anything criminal. Instead, we went through background checks and biometrics. Now we contribute over billions of dollars to the economy.”

Even American citizens, like senior Adrian Blair, don’t see eye-to-eye with DACA’s removal.

“We, as Americans, should welcome those who wish to live and thrive in our great country,” Blair said. “Illegal citizens come to our country to have a better life. We should not make it hard for them because they are a different color, or come from a different lifestyle.”

The new order could also impact those currently enrolled in college, as well as others contributing to the work force. Children brought at young ages remember either little or nothing from their parent’s country.

”I believe that DACA should not be rescinded because it could potentially be detrimental to participating individuals and families, as well as to the United States,” said foreign language department chair Jenna Felix. “They are contributing to this country in a very positive way.  Without DACA, they would not be able to make these contributions.

“This country was built by immigrants,” Felix continued. “DACA recipients are, by definition, immigrants who arrived as children, therefore, the United States is their country and their home.”

In the upcoming months, Congress will have their hands full with creating a solution for the “Dreamers.” If not, millions of people could be forced to leave a place they’ve called home for their entire lives.

“We have the same dream as any American, only difference is that they have the resources and we do not,” Venzor said. “We are your neighbors, your doctors, your teachers, your military. We are your Dreamers.”

all photos submitted

JHS Food Pantry in midst of shortage

by Haylee Hedrick

One of Jeff High’s biggest problem has nothing to do with grades or attendance — it’s about hunger.

Almost 60-percent of students in the Greater Clark County School district qualify for free or reduced lunch, with 55-percent of the JHS student body alone qualifying. In comparison, roughly 35-percent of students at Charlestown High School and nine-percent of students at Floyd Central qualify for the program.

To combat the growing food issues within the community, JHS applied for a grant for a food pantry during the 2014-15 school year. The school received $1,000 from the Community Foundation, and GenerationOn gave $250 to start up the collection of food.

Thanks to those donations, the JHS food pantry allows students to take a cinch bag home containing food for them and their families.

“Every student needs something to be successful, and this is what these students need,” assistant principal Marianne Fisher said.

However now, the food pantry isn’t stocked well enough, and is too low in funds to provide meals for all the students that it should benefit at JHS. This is a huge issue, according to Fisher, considering one-fourth of the school uses the pantry weekly, with students getting their main meal of their day from school.

That results in the weekends being a recurring struggle for families. Several families don’t even get to eat as a family, each individual eats whenever the opportunity presents itself.

‘We don’t really have any food in the house at all except a can of corn,” said an anonymous JHS student that uses the pantry. “Now we can have a real meal together as a family.”

Who this helps

There are a significant amount of students among the JHS student body that cannot rely on stocked cabinets or kitchens at home on a day-to-day basis, mostly due to homelife difficulties, financially or otherwise.

Inside the walls of JHS, there are all levels of poverty, ranging from homeless students, to students who have a home, but the family cannot afford enough food on the weekends for essential meals.

With the pantry, however, students can go home for a weekend and not have the worries of where their next meal might come from.

“I can’t thank (the pantry) enough for helping me out,” the anonymous student said. “I didn’t know what I was going to do while my dad was gone.”  

How to help stock the food pantry

The 45-percent of students at JHS that are not on free or reduced lunch can help the other half by bringing in items and food for their peers and classmates.

Non-perishable items that are lightweight and easy to put into cinch bags are needed. Pop-tarts, peanut butter sandwich crackers, mac n cheese and ramen noodles are items students usually enjoy receiving the most.

Canned goods and frozen items are not unacceptable, but are not preferred, due to storage limitations. The cans are too heavy to put in the cinch bags that are sent home with students, and the school has no way to keep the frozen items cold.

Currently, Key Club is the main JHS group that stocks the food pantry; however Fisher welcomes other groups to donate items they deem appropriate.

“Donating to the food pantry gets (students) needed service hours, plus you get to help support your fellow students, friends and peers,” Key Club president Caroline Elliott said. “You could be helping one of your best friends and you don’t even know it.”

If you are interested in donating, bring items to Dr. Fisher’s office (A137). She will also answer any questions regarding food pantry items, including inclusion in the program, at mfisher@gccschools.com.

Items you can bring in to help:

  • Mac and cheese
  • Sealed jelly packages
  • Pasta (in box/plastic)
  • Ramen noodles
  • Poptarts
  • Powdered milk
  • Cereals (box, bag, or cup)
  • Boxes of rice
  • Boxes of cookies
  • PB jars
  • PB sandwich crackers
  • Soups in plastic containers.
    fisher food pantry

Jeffersonville Girls Swimming claim Sectional Championship

Photos by Phillip Steinmetz

Jeffersonville edges Floyd Central 465-464 after winning 400 yard medley relay to clinch the Sectional championship.

The Red Devils finish with 24 best times, five events won, three school records, two meet records and two pool records.

Red Devils send 14 wrestlers to Regionals

Photos by Tristan Jackson

COLUMN: Jeffersonville and New Albany renew heated rivalry Friday night

Story and Photos by Phillip Steinmetz

Jeffersonville and New Albany play each other in basketball at Johnson Arena on Friday night. Is that a big enough statement for you to read further? It should be.

The two prominent programs meet for what looks to be another heated battle. New Albany “supposedly” leads the all-time series 81-76 after winning the last four matchups with some pretty lopsided victories (aka the Romeo Langford effect) but we’ll talk about that later.

The Red Devils sit currently at 7-3, coming off a third place finish in the Teddy Throckmorton Tournament, while New Albany is 8-2 after playing an excruciating schedule to begin with. Last time the Bulldogs played at JHS they won by 42 points (wow the Red Devils were bad then.) Don’t expect that type of outcome to play out this year.

Okay, I said I’d talk about “him” later and later is now (what a wait you had to experience).

ROMEO LANGFORD IS THE BEST HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL PLAYER OUT OF THE STATE OF INDIANA SINCE GREG ODEN.

This is the fourth time Langford will be facing the Red Devils — in the last matchup he had 24 points to go with 13 rebounds in the sectional championship. Oh yeah, he’s only a junior now and shot up all the way to second in ESPN’s Top 60 recruiting rankings.

How do you stop a player of his caliber from tearing your team to shreds? It’s simple, you don’t. There’s no way to hold him from scoring 25 or more points against a defense of Jeffersonville’s caliber. That means there are only a few ways the Red Devils can make this a respectable game throughout.

Not a single player other than Langford can score in double digits for New Albany.

That’s easier said than done considering the Bulldogs have two other outstanding scorers in Isaac Hibbard and Sean East who each provide matchup problems. Hibbard is the senior guard that can shoot lights out but can be a liability on defense at times but seems to never be rattled by the big moment. East is the starting point guard who can hit open three’s and might be the fastest player on the court. Jeffersonville will have their hands full with Langford but can’t forget to get a hand in the face of both of these players if they want success.

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Bailey Falkenstein fighting through CAI.

 

Bailey Falkenstein will be the second best player on the court.

The junior guard leads the Red Devils in scoring and is a prime candidate to score 20 or more points against the rival Bulldogs. Last season, in their regular season matchup he did score 25 points as a sophomore despite the ugly loss. Falkenstein is one of the strongest guards you’ll see step on the court and his play shows it. He’s at his best driving to the basket absorbing contact as he finishes the double clutch layup. Falkenstein is also known to drain a couple three’s a game to compliment. He will be leaned on even more Friday night to try to make Langford’s scoring total not look completely insane by scoring a ton himself.

Jeffersonville is at their best when they are hitting shots.

 

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Michael Minton with the jumpshot against Northeastern.

This could be said for every team but the Red Devils truly live and die by the three. In their win against CAI they went 9 for 13 from behind the arc and in their loss to Cathedral the same day, they only scored three points in the second quarter. Gerrin Moore, Joe LaGrange and Michael Minton will be looked on heavily to drain their open shots as the Bulldogs will dare Jeff to beat them from the outside. If a few shots fall early, we could have ourselves a shootout but if NA extends their defense and makes the Red Devils uncomfortable at the very beginning, the game could be over by halftime.

 

Freshman will need to step up for Red Devils.

 

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Tre’ Coleman fighting through Carroll County defenders.

Two freshman play big minutes for JHS as 5’8 Jacob Jones is the pestering point guard and 6’6 Tre’ Coleman comes off the bench as the defensive specialist. Jones will be tasked of keeping up with East but he’s frustrated guards all season and will need to carry more of a load offensively. Coleman might earn his first career start against NA because of how great a defender he really is. It’s almost impossible to get a shot off against him which he proved in the last couple of games blocking shots left and right. He’ll also be used to pound the glass which is a weakness for the Bulldogs. Both of these players will be looked upon to play well above their years for Jeff to have a chance Friday.

So, what will happen?

It’s a rivalry game, anything can happen. The Red Devils need to be hitting their shots early and often while forcing New Albany to shoot extremely deep shots for most of the game. Last game, NA went 1-22 from three against the 3rd ranked Logansport (Loganberries really?) and still dominated the game. Obviously they can beat you in other ways including their defense but I believe Jeff is one of the better offensive teams in the state.

Second year head coach Joe Luce will have his young Devils ready to play against the reigning state champions. This could become a game just like last year if Langford gets in foul trouble but I don’t think it’ll be much of one come the fourth quarter. I’m a Red Devil for life but I think the scoring and pure intimidation of this team will be the downfall for Jeff. Can they make this a close game? Of course they can with their scoring ability but Romeo Langford is still one of the best players in the COUNTRY and is almost impossible to beat without someone of his caliber playing for you.

PREDICTION: Jeffersonville 65 New Albany 78

 

Undaunted Underclassman

Story by Carlos Molina

With high school basketball starting back into play, Jeffersonville fans will be looking forward to watching old names, such as returning juniors Bailey Falkenstein and Gerrin Moore, with the leadership of senior Michael Minton.

But few know much of the young, talented freshmen players this year’s team will carry.

Jacob Jones, a freshman point guard, will be one of the two freshmen expected to get playing time on Varsity. Tre’ Coleman, a power/small forward, is also expected to see minutes.

As for Jones, the 5-9 guard has been playing basketball ever since he started grade school at Maple Elementary. During the offseason, he joins his AAU basketball teams, the ‘Ville and the Eric Gordon All-Stars, which has helped the guard out with his ball skills.

“I’ve been playing basketball since pre-school, and I play AAU all year, and school basketball. So I have a lot of experience,” Jones said.

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Jones looking for an open teammate in the home opener against the 7th ranked Southport Cardinals       Photo By Braxton Troutman

As a freshman, the expectations for Jones are set high; not only by his coach, but as well as his teammates. Junior Gerrin Moore, who was the last freshman to start in a JHS varsity game in 2014, sees talent in the 15-year-old.

“He’s young but a lot is expected from him,” Moore said, “He’s going to do well setting up the offense and I think he’ll be able to add some points to the board.”

Jones did exactly that in the home opener, recording 13 points in a season-opening win against No. 7 Southport on Nov. 23.

“I am just expected to help my team win games,” Jones said. “Contributing however I can, whether it’s scoring, rebounding or playing defense.”

With the upcoming season, head coach Joe Luce expects Jones to contribute to his new system by starting him and giving him more playing time in games. His confidence in what Jones can bring to the table has given him a more relaxed player on the court.

“The biggest thing with Jacob is to just relax and play his game,” head coach Joe Luce said. “He’s had the chance to experience a lot of different basketball games as far as AAU, junior high and travel ball. It’s a lot different playing at eight o’clock on the Varsity level. And with him, we want him to relax and play his game.”

Jones’ unique and vast skill set has been what has made him stand out the most of all the other freshman. In the Red Devils scrimmage against Charlestown on Nov. 15, Jones showed what kind of talent he can bring to this year’s squad, tallying no turnovers and leading the team with 16 points.

“He brings a lot of energy. He’s very quick with the ball, gets it up and down the floor, finds open men and he’s very unselfish,” Luce said. “The one thing he did in our scrimmage against Charlestown is shoot the ball very well. He’s a good decision-maker that plays very hard and brings lots of energy to this team.”    

Jones, and the rest of the Red Devils, will be back in action at home on Friday, Dec. 9 in a HHC conference matchup against Seymour. JV tip off to begin at 6 p.m., followed by Varsity at 7:30 p.m.

Matt Barker’s goal: a “great experience” for athletes, fans and visitors

Athletics are a big part of student life at Jeff High, which means there has to be an athletics director to keep sports running smoothly. Recently someone new has come to the position, Matt Barker. Having prior experience in the GCCS corporation and plenty of familiarity in the athletic department, Barker is ready for any challenge that comes his way. “I’m enjoying it, it’s a lot of work,” he says, “I’m really just trying to do the right thing.”

Athletics Director Matt Barker
Hyphen Staff Photo

Barker has had a passion for coaching for most of his life, starting with his first coaching gig for a girls powder puff team as a junior in high school. He ended up coaching and teaching PE at Parkview Middle School, and after that Barker and his family moved to northern Indiana. He pursued his education and now has a bachelors from Valparaiso, a teaching license from Manchester, a masters in secondary education from IU Southeast and a masters in administration from Grand Canyon University. Having no plan to move, Barker was looking into an administrative position at a nearby elementary school when he got a call from an old friend from Parkview, Pam Hall (now Principal at Jeff High). Knowing the love he had
for coaching, she offered him a job as the Athletics Director. “I’ve always respected Pam. She was a really great leader. So I said let’s do an interview and I’ll let you know. I interviewed for it, I honestly, being a coach for 20 years, seeing the hours of work athletics directors put in, figured I didn’t want to do that. But I interviewed and everything was kind of what I wanted to hear, so I accepted the position.”

Jeff High can be a very intimidating place, but Barker feels right
at home. He explains that although things can be quite hectic, the people around him are truly helpful. “I’ve found in the couple months I’ve been in this job, the athletics director world is very open to helping people out.” When he first arrived during late October, Barker was informed that there was a little bit of financial strain in the athletics department. Naturally, he got right to work on this issue and a couple others, such as transportation. Barker makes sure to note that he puts emphasis on communication between coaches and student athletes. With the spring season quickly approaching, there is plenty more work to be done.

Working as an athletics director in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic is complicated at best. Barker expresses his dejection about the crack down on fans allowed at games. “It sounds weird, you only have 500 people, but it would have been much easier to let 4000 people in.” He elaborates on the importance of proper mask protocol and social distancing.


Current events aren’t all Barker is focusing on, though. He is also making plans for the future. He believes that an important part of bringing up a good athletics program is a comfortable atmosphere and well-kept equipment. “My goal is to make sure that when people come to Jeffersonville — whether you’re an official, an opposing player, opposing coach, a fan — that you come here and you have a great experience.” This summer he wants to clean up the basketball lobby before the next season starts, and in the more distant future he hopes there will be turf on all of Jeff High’s fields and a new weight room. Barker isn’t only concerned with
the aesthetics of our facilities; another concern of his is our hospitality. “When you get an email about how welcoming you were as a school, that’s a great feeling.”


Barker conveys that success isn’t all in the wins and losses. He values sportsmanship and the overall experience for student athletes. He feels the most important part of his new position is getting students ready
for the world outside high school. Looking to give athletes team working and communication skills for future opportunities, he hopes that sports can be a well-needed escape for high schoolers.

By Emily Proctor