The Modern-Day Penpal – Online Friends

What is an online friend? Well, you can think of them as a modern-day penpal. Almost 47% of the world population use the internet, according to United Nations News. Therefore it isn’t surprising that those people are connecting with others who live nowhere near them. 

If the saying is true that friends help the world go round, what about having friends around the world? According to Pew Research, 57% of teenagers have made a friend online, and 29% said they have made more than five online friendships. It is common to make these friends while playing video games and social media. According to the University of California, Irvine,  many of these digital friendships serve the same purpose and qualities as face-to-face relationships. 

Despite having similar qualities to traditional friendships, online friendships don’t have in person connections like other kids who have friends from school or in their community. Therefore, they have become even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic because many people have been spending much more time online. That may sound like a bad thing, but it can be helpful. You can meet new people without the hassle of social distancing, masks or even getting out of bed. It has not only been beneficial for young people but also for people of any age. Some adults have moved houses during the pandemic and can’t meet their neighbors face to face, but apps like Nextdoor allow you to virtually connect with people around you until it is safe to join social events again. 

Some Jeff High students have online friends who have gotten them through tough times. For example, Junior Georgia Martin says, “It was nice to see how different their life was from mine. I learned about their past experiences and then finding out about mine.” Martin adds that these friendships are mutually beneficial. “I sort of became like their rock. Whenever they needed me or needed to talk to me, I was always there for them. I wish I could do anything for them even though they were like halfway across the world.We could do the same things even though our lifestyles were completely different.” 

Amaya Russell, another Junior at Jeff High, says having an online friend has been beneficial for her, especially through the pandemic. “My online friend has been pretty helpful. Mainly which is like talking about my emotions and talking about stuff other people won’t talk about. They have helped me through a lot that other people won’t talk about, even people I know. They just listen and reply better and sometimes get your situation. It depends on the person, but my online friend has just been very helpful.”

For people who live outside the United States, online friendships can have an even bigger impact. “Jane” (who asked to use a pseudonym), a female from India, says, “Through the internet, we get to know about more things happening globally, and we become aware of our rights. By interacting with people from different nations, we get the idea of what we can do to bring change to our society to make it a more beautiful and safer society. People’s interaction with other people from this vast world can give them the idea for some good thoughts. For example, the farmer’s protest here in India is now becoming a worldwide movement. All can see and give a fair opinion. On the other hand, this is how we came to know about the Black Lives Matter movement.” 

“John” from Iran (who also asked not to use his real name) says his friendships with people in other countries make the world better. “With this ideology, the new generation makes a more peaceful world,” he says. 

The internet has become a world in itself which can benefit us just like our face-to-face reality. With the interconnectedness of the youth across the world, we will see how this impacts the future.

Are College Entry Exams Seeing Their Final Days

The importance of college entry exams such as the Scholastic Assessment Test and American College Testing (more commonly known as the SAT and ACT) have been declining in recent years. It’s decline has only been compounded by COVID-19. Colleges such as DePaul University, University of Southern California, and even Harvard College have gone test-optional due to the pandemic, according to College Advisor. Some schools such as Colorado College and Indiana University were test-optional even before the pandemic. 

As more and more colleges become test-optional, many wonder whether it is truly optional. Will students with test scores still be preferred over students that don’t submit a test score? However, based on interviews and reporting with people in the college admission industry, USA Today says that test optional truly means optional. Despite the effect of the pandemic, admission tests were already on the decline prior to 2020, for a variety of reasons. 

One primary reason for its decline is that many believe the test is unfair, especially towards disadvantaged students. According to the Brookings Institute, Black and Hispanic students typically have lower SAT math scores. Those students are also more unlikely to attend college than white or Asian students. Brookings also believes that SAT scoring can discourage students from working to achieve their goals, saying, “High-potential students may lose confidence and motivation, which could result in them pursuing different fields.”

However, getting rid of these tests altogether could result in colleges overemphasizing other factors. This could favor students from wealthier families who have a more stable background with tutoring and fully college-educated parents. Some allege that high school grades might be a more reasonable approach, but the same risks apply. This is because lower-income students have obstacles that get in the way of them doing well in school, according to the Brookings Institute.  Teachers College Press also mentions that college entry exams are now so influenced by money, parents’ education, and race. Students with high incomes can also have easier access to more time during their tests or a private test-taking area. Those are supposed to be used for students with ADHD or anxiety, states CNBC.

Students with mental illnesses such as emotional and behavioral disorders also are more likely to receive low test scores and lower chances of being admitted into a college. Some SAT scores are also artificially inflated due to social privilege. Wealthy parents have money for multiple retakes and for tutors who specialize in tutoring students for the SAT, says Diverse Education, a group that works for equity in education. Diverse Education thinks GPA might be the way to go when it comes to college admission. Studies have shown that students with high GPAs in high school and low SAT/ACT scores tend to have high GPAs in college, and students with low GPAs and high SAT/ACT scores usually have a low GPA in college. Studies have also found that students who do submit scores and those who don’t submit scores have no difference in academic performance, according to Inside Higher Ed. 

Jeffersonville High School graduate Alexa Roach says, “I think they are a little ridiculous, honestly. I don’t think a huge exam should be the deciding factor of whether someone has the brains or the motivation for college. Some people have test anxiety or other factors that prohibit them from performing well on something like that, and I don’t think they shouldn’t be given a chance just because of it. I can see the appeal of an entry exam for scholarship purposes or recruitment, but overall I think it is time to do away with them and come up with a new way of deciding whether students are fit for a college or not.” 

Restaurant Review: Kabuki Hibachi & Ramen

In early Spring, Kabuki Hibachi & Ramen opened up near Jeff High. From an outside view, the restaurant is welcoming and will pique your interest with windows filled with art. Upon entering, you are instantly greeted with paper lanterns, warm lighting, and a mural in a traditional Japanese style. 

First my group started with an order of crab rangoons, which is a fried dumpling filled with crab meat and cream cheese. Crab rangoons are traditionally a semi-sweet dumpling paired with a sweet and sour sauce, but the ones offered at the restaurant were sweeter than usual, which I didn’t mind. Aside from the sweetness, the dish was great. The presentation of the crab rangoons was appealing thanks to the light fabric separating the food from the plate and adding to the aesthetic, but nothing extreme.

Next we tried some sushi , beginning with an order of Pink Lady, a pastel pink-colored sushi that has tempura shrimp, spicy crab, cucumber and avocado wrapped in soy paper and topped with spicy mayo and eel sauce. The Pink Lady sushi, when given to us, had a lovely presentation. The sushi was arranged so that they looked like hearts, and at the top two sushi rolls had the tails of the tempura shrimp. The taste of the sushi matched the presentation, an amazing flavor tied together by the sauce selection. We also tried an Alaska Roll, a sushi roll which has salmon, avocado and cucumber. The Alaska roll was served on a wooden serving dish, giving it a more classic feel. It was well put together, even if it was a simple roll.

Then we moved on to the steak and scallop hibachi dinner, which consists of various vegetables such as broccoli and mushrooms, steak and scallops, your choice of fried or white rice all cooked on a Japanese teppanyaki grill and served with two specialty sauces on the side. The steak and hibachi dinner was organized so that the vegetables and meat were on one side of the plate and the rice on the other. The steak, cooked medium well, was perfect for my group, and the scallops were cooked near perfection. The rice was cooked evenly and the sauces added to the already flavorful dish.

Lastly we tried the Tonkotsu Ramen, which is a traditional ramen with egg, ramen noodles, narutomaki (a white cured fish with a pink swirl inside), a pork broth and your choice of char siu (roasted) pork or grilled chicken.The Ramen was excellent. However, expect to take some leftover Ramen home, as the portion was large, but who complains about more food? The ramen is presented with a spoon to drink the broth, numerous toppings which make the ramen aesthetically pleasing and a load of noodles for you to enjoy with everything else. In summary, the ramen was superb.

The service of the establishment was impressive, considering the low number of staff members and the amount of customers in the restaurant at the time. Our server came to check on us often, made sure we had refills for our drinks when needed and was very friendly when taking our order. The manager of the restaurant also made rounds in the restaurant to check on his guests. 

The overall experience of Kabuki was amazing, and my group and I enjoyed the experience. While the food was a little pricey, it was worth it for this spectacular small business!

Restaurant Details:

Number – (812) 590-3430

Address – 2784 Meijer Rd, Jeffersonville, IN 47130

Hours – 11 am – 2:30 pm, 4:30 pm – 9 pm, Closed on Mondays

Prom is Back with Some Changes

This year has been a whirlwind for Jeffersonville High school seniors. With uncertainty around many other staples of high school life, Prom’s fate has been a major question. Due to COVID-19, the Class of 2020 ended highschool without a Prom. This year’s Senior Dinner Dance and Anchor Club were both canceled, but Prom is still on. 

Prom’s theme will be “A Night in Venice,” and will take place on June 2 at the Refinery in downtown Jeffersonville from 8 p.m. – 12 a.m. However, this prom is different than most years. This year, Prom will only be for Jeff High seniors, meaning no underclassmen and students from other schools. Also everyone is required to wear a facemask when inside. 

Jayden Schweitzer, a member of the Junior Class Officers planning Prom, has mixed feelings, “Since I am a part of planning Prom, I get to go, but it sucks that my other Junior friends and boyfriend can’t come with me. The seniors got a pretty rough senior year, so I’m happy we get to give the seniors something.”

Senior, Erynn Dickson expressed a similar sentiment, “This year is already so different from any other school year to begin with. As much as it does suck we can’t bring other dates and celebrate it with other schools. It does bring our senior class closer together to get through this year and graduate as a class. It’s one last ‘hoorah!’ at Jeff High

Anxiety With Faceless YouTubers

It isn’t as easy as it seems

Your face is most likely the first thing a person sees. It shows emotions, past pains and many other things that  broadcast who you are as a person.  Your face is a major part of your identity. So what happens when it can’t be seen? As an influential person on the internet, your face is what covers the brand you create. Is someone able to create a personality without your face? The answer is yes. 

To some, leaving your face a mystery to the public has more pros than cons. It leaves some free from cameras and crowds of fans, and it gives you the opportunity to live a more private life. Overwhelming fame isn’t as cozy and fun as it seems, at least not for all. For a variety of reasons, leaving your looks out of the picture can seem to be the easier option. 

Anxiety is a major issue with a lot of influential people, especially Youtubers.”Corpse Husband and Dream, two Youtubers that have been climbing in popularity this past year, have both benefited from the growth.”. Dream is a Minecraft YouTuber and Streamer; Corpse, though originally starting out telling true scary stories, has shifted into occasional gaming and creating his own music.  Gaining followers has not made their life any easier, at least when it comes to mental challenges. Both have said they deal with some form of anxiety. 

Both have been hit with the question of, “When are you going to do a face reveal?” or “Will you do a face reveal?” Both have discussed it in detail. Explaining why, even though they have a major following, haven’t done it yet. During a Q&A video posted in the early ages of his popularity, Dream discussed his plan on a face reveal. He said, “I’m not really the most secure person… I’m fine with how I look, I’ve just never really been comfortable on camera.” This was the first, but not the last time he discussed this. 

Several times the content creator has been threatened by people on the internet, and he has been doxxed – when someone’s personal information is exposed to the public. Though he still plans on revealing himself in the future, more and more stress is added when these problems keep coming up. 

As for Corpse, he has shared that he suffers from severe anxiety issues on top of several medical conditions. These have had an impact on his ability to create content. Sometimes he has had to leave streams suddenly due to his health or panicking, and he often will open up about his problems and anxiety on stream or Twitter. 

Along with a few other faceless Youtubers, SwaggerSouls and BlackySpeackz, sat down with Anthony Padilla (another popular YouTuber, best known for being on Smosh, a sketchy comedy channel, back when it was popular). At one point Corpse is asked, “Do you feel anxious any time you’re out in public, without your face hidden?” in which he responds, “I have really bad anxiety, I never leave my house..” Then was given the follow up question of, “Do you think this attention is the cause for your anxiety?” In which he explains it had definitely added and gave a more logical reason to it. 

SwaggerSouls at one point explains there’s a lot of anxiety when putting your face in the world. Setting things up and trying to get things perfect is really difficult for some. Society today has set standards for how things should go which can cause people rather not take that risk.

During an “Among Us” stream on YouTube, Corpse had a small panic attack. His game shut down and the stream went black. For several moments there was silence until he spoke. He apologized for the troubles as he tried to get the game up and running again. Later on he explained he’d seen his reflection on the screen and thought that his face was showing on stream. This caused him to panic a bit, but later he  laughed it off. Slip-ups are a possibility, and for him he just can’t afford that. 

False face claims of these content creators are made almost everyday. People are going to massive amounts of work to uncover the faces behind these voices. The curiosity of those who watch becomes almost unbearable. Thankfully, many fans understand the issues they face and are willing to wait. They show their support through tweets and encouraging those searching for these faces to leave them be. 

Anxiety is no different for YouTubers, making daily tasks a struggle. It causes fears to dwell within us as we go about life. Not one person is excluded, and for some it weighs more. For these YouTubers, their privacy is a treasure.

Will Biden Cancel Student Debt?

For years parents, teachers, and mentors all had a simple formula for success – go to college. However, while many college graduates leave with better job prospects and a diploma, often these young adults also leave with large amounts of debt. According to Forbes, by February of this year, the collective student debt in American topped $1.7 trillion spread over about 45 million people. Now President Joe Biden is considering how to tackle this challenge, and as students burdened by this debt enter an uncertain economy, many questions remain.

In the first 100 days of his administration, Biden has taken some steps to lessen the amount of debt for certain borrowers. For example, Biden has already cancelled debt for 72,000 victims of fraud and 41,000 debt holders with disabilities, according to Business Insider. Despite these progressive actions, many activist groups and Democratic politicians are urging the Biden administration to do more to tackle student debt.

In 2020, then-candidate Biden promised to cancel $10,000 in student debt for each American borrower. He planned to forgive these debts using his authority from the Higher Education Act of 1965, which many believe gives the President the authority to cancel student debt. Biden is said to have directed his Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to assess the legal issues surrounding student debt cancellation. 

Despite these recent moves, many progressives are pushing Biden to cancel $50,000 of student debt for all American borrowers. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York is part of the group pushing for the larger debt cancellation saying, “It will do so much good for America.” The debate inside the Democratic Party represents one of the first big disagreements of Biden’s Presidency. Advocates for cancelling larger sums of debt say it would help stimulate the economy and decrease the racial wealth gap, while Biden and his allies argue forgiving those large sums of debt for all Americans would benefit some who are wealthier and chose to attend private institutions.

As the debate rages in Washington, the people affected weigh their options. Senior Joselen Lopez cites student loan debt as a huge factor in her college decision, “Financial Aid is always my first consideration. I hope that the Biden Administration takes action and gives more thought to forgiving outstanding loans and decreasing future student debt,” she says. Lopez will attend IU Bloomington in the fall.

As pressure mounts from activists, students, and politicians, Biden will face the same question about student debt that has defined his presidency so far – just how big will Biden go?

Staff Editorial: Moving Forward

This year, our coverage has been dominated by one topic: COVID-19. The pandemic has altered every aspect of our lives. Articles about what were the usual high school moments – sports, dances and clubs now included precautions and notes about how the pandemic affected the event. 

Despite this, we don’t believe the pandemic was over-covered, as its effect can barely be understood even now. Its impact has been all encompassing and has forced us to reconcile with long held beliefs and norms in the face of unprecedented change. We too have reflected not only on our work, but what this pandemic has taught us about ourselves and our world.

As vaccination rates rise and cases fall, life will start to look more normal. However, we as a school and a community should not immediately snap back to the ways of before without question. We would be remiss if we allowed this pandemic to come and go without teaching us something about ourselves.

Here are some things we have learned:

1.) We need community. While America has always been a nation that prides itself on individualism, we must realize that some issues are too widespread and important to face alone. In times of trouble we need help; we need each other.

2.) Division is our weakness. There are important differences in politics today, and those disagreements should be hashed out and vigorously debated. But it is when we fail to recognize our common humanity that those small differences become irreconcilable. That’s when we fail.

3.) School is more complicated than we thought. With virtual school, our learning drastically changed. For some it was a dream come true – the chance to work at your own pace and make your own schedule. For others it was a nightmare – sitting in bed on your chromebook with motivation decreasing by the second. But as we move forward we understand that school is about more than learning in a classroom. It’s about social interaction; it’s about the structure of the school day and it’s about our personal growth.

4.) We all can benefit from some personal changes. In quarantine most of us took up new activities. Whether it was crafting, meditation, or baking, we learned new skills, and as life slowed down we were able to make the changes that we needed. Many people also had changes to their friend group and peers. While change isn’t always easy, sometimes change is what we need.

5.) We need to pay more attention to local government. Often all eyes are on our national government. We hold our breath for presidential and congressional elections, but often the most important governing is done at the local level.In the beginning of the pandemic it was state governments that took action, shutting down businesses and schools in the name of public safety. As we attempted to reenter school this year, it was the school board who set guidelines and rules for how we went back to school safely. While sometimes hard to understand or less exciting, local government matters.

As we enter our new normal, we hope all people learn the lessons this past year has given us. As we head optimistically into the future, let’s make sure to not return to the status quo, but rather, to re enter our normal routines with an open mind, an appetite for improvement and the will to change our lives for the better.

After a year off the field, the Jeff High Baseball Team is Ready for Success

The Baseball team departs the field in their game against Floyd Central. Photo Credit – Claire Smith

Sliding into the season on a new field, the Jeffersonville High School Baseball team has been working hard to make up for what they’ve missed. Going through the challenges of this year, the team has been able to build a family-like connection.

After the season was cancelled last year, the team worked hard and looked forward to this season. Alex Kelley, a Junior on the Varsity Team says,  “Baseball has brought together a brother-like bond that we can turn to keep our minds off the virus and the crazy things going on in today’s world. Baseball has been something I love and can always turn to when things go south and I think that goes for a lot of the guys on the team.” For most members of the team, baseball is really something that keeps them motivated not just on the field but in school as well. Kyle Campbell, a freshman on the JV Team says, “Baseball has helped me by keeping me focused on school work, which helps with baseball, because bad grades equals no baseball.” 

The team has worked hard to improve every time they play. Since COVID-19 spiked last year at the start of baseball season, they lost some teammates. Kannon Stull, another Junior on the Varsity Team says, “Not being able to play was a hit for younger players with little experience on Varsity. Although the sense of having so little experience has given us a sense of being the Underdogs and that really allows us to be calm and play our style of game.” Despite the challenges, this season allowed the team to experiment with new techniques and work even harder. Kelley says, “This season feels like it means more. We didn’t have a season last year and we never know what is going to happen for next season so it really made us play every game like it will be our last because it very well could be.” The time and effort has really paid off.

The new field also provides new opportunities. With easier maintenance and space to control fielding, the new field was a huge benefit. Campbell says, “It’s amazing that we get to play on the turf field. With the turf it helps infielders be able to read the ball better and we don’t have to worry about bad hops. Also when it rains on game days there’s a better chance it won’t get canceled.” Having this field made the team even more appreciative of the work put in.

The team will begin their post season on May 29, 2021, in the Semi-Final of the Floyd Central Sectional.

Senior Leadership Guides the Girls Tennis Team Into the Postseason

The Hyphen sat down for a Q&A with Evelyn Minton to discuss the tennis season.

Evelyn Minton, Congratulates her teammate on a successful point. Photo by Emma Blacklock

The Jeffersonville High School Girls Tennis team is moving through their postseason, optimistic about their chances and fresh off a sectional win against Providence. Senior Evelyn Minton helps prepare her team for the upcoming challenges of the postseason. The Hyphen staff was able to ask her a couple of questions about her experience in the sport and what the team is like this year.

Q: Why do you play tennis?

“I play tennis because it is super fun and I like having a competitive outlet.”

Q: What is the team dynamic?

“We have a lot of strong leaders on the team and we encourage our team mates while we play by cheering up and down the courts. We have 6 seniors on the team so we have a lot of experience and a desire to win for our last season.”

Q: What does a normal practice look like for you?

“Normal practice for me is a ton of serving and doubles drills with the other doubles teams. Sometimes we do game play and other days we just work on strategy and communication with our partners.”

Q: What inspired you to join tennis?

“I started playing back in middle school because I wanted a sport to do in the spring.”

Q: What is the hardest part about tennis?

“The hardest thing about tennis is playing in the weather. If the wind is crazy or it’s super hot it can be hard to adjust.”

Q: What has the season looked like thus far?

“So far we’ve had a good season. We’ve played competitively all year and we’re still getting better as a team every match.”

Q: How do you feel about your performance this season so far?

“I’ve had a ton of fun this season. My partner(Loran) and I have a winning season and we’ve gelled as a team. We feel like we have unfinished business and were looking forward to racking up some more wins this year.”

Q: What is your favorite thing about the sport?

“I love the energy and competitiveness of tennis. I always have fun while playing.”

The Jeff Girls Tennis team will continue their season Tuesday, May 25, 2021 against New Albany in Regionals.

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.