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 …

 

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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…

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MULTIMEDIA: JHS’ Baseball Brotherhood

story by Tristan Jackson

video by Bella Bungcayao, Tristan Jackson and Kyle Tincher

Four brothers. One bond.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MULTIMEDIA: Dogs Helping Heroes

project by Ali Apman, Kristen Jacobs and Adley McMahel

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

MULTIMEDIA: Net up or Heads up

video by Emma Ellis & Haylee Hedrick

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

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

MULTIMEDIA: Jojo Spio’s Journey to JHS

— STORY BELOW VIDEO —

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

story by Tomi Clark & Greta Reel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeffersonville vs. Floyd Central Boys Basketball Preview

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

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

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

Transitions: the story of Vic Tomes

story by Kristen Jacobs

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

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

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

Vic is just the same.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here 2 Stay?

story by Carlos Molina 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

all photos submitted

JHS Food Pantry in midst of shortage

by Haylee Hedrick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who this helps

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

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

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

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

How to help stock the food pantry

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

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

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

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

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

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

Items you can bring in to help:

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

Jeffersonville Girls Swimming claim Sectional Championship

Photos by Phillip Steinmetz

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

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

Red Devils send 14 wrestlers to Regionals

Photos by Tristan Jackson

COLUMN: Jeffersonville and New Albany renew heated rivalry Friday night

Story and Photos by Phillip Steinmetz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bailey Falkenstein fighting through CAI.

 

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

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

Jeffersonville is at their best when they are hitting shots.

 

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Michael Minton with the jumpshot against Northeastern.

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

 

Freshman will need to step up for Red Devils.

 

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Tre’ Coleman fighting through Carroll County defenders.

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

So, what will happen?

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

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

PREDICTION: Jeffersonville 65 New Albany 78

 

Janitors having issues cleaning up the mess

By Phillip Steinmetz & Kyle Sanders

 

A dozen pieces of Tuesday’s homework balled up, a few spots of crushed cheddar Goldfish from two days ago and a milk carton from first period’s breakfast on Monday.

That’s what the floor might look like in an average Jeff High classroom at the end of the week.

However the mess is not the fault of the janitors slacking on their job. Instead, it’s a culmination of being understaffed, and not having enough qualified applicants to fill those positions.

“We are just trying to get the stuff done that needs to get done,” said janitor Chris Schwinn. “It all comes down to time management, working extra hours on the weekend and overtime to get stuff that must be completed done. We can’t pay attention to things like washing every window in the school. We’ve got to take care of other things that are more important: cleaning the bathrooms, taking out the trash, sweeping up the hallways, stuff like that.”

On a normal school year, JHS would expect to have three day-shift and eight night-shift janitors each weekday. This year, it has gotten as low as two in the day, and only two at night.

Also adding to the chaos is the illness of veteran custodian William (Willie) Thornton, who has been out since the beginning of the school year. Thornton, who has worked within Jeff High for over 29 years, has experienced health issues that has prevented him from attending work, where he is the lead custodian.

“We had our two-day custodians, Chris and Bridget, step up and have done everything we asked them to do and more in Willie’s absence,” said assistant principal Timothy LaGrange. “The building is in great shape. At times, we’ve had a sub for that third spot, but not consistently. I don’t know when we will get that third position filled. In Willie’s situation, if he came back, we want what’s best for Willie.”

According to LaGrange, there are a few obstacles that have made it challenging to hire custodians this year. The biggest challenge is that other businesses, like Amazon and the newly-erected River Ridge, are offering more money for employment, which is cutting the application pool.

“The pay is probably more important than anything else and that’s one thing we can’t compete with Amazon,” said math teacher Jim Spears. “The school corporation could spend more money on that or anyone’s position. Everyone deserves to make more than they are making, so how do you do that? Right now, we are in dire need of custodians, so how do you do that? It’s not an easily solvable work problem.”

Despite the hiring difficulties, the school isn’t far away from being back to full staff. At the time of print, LaGrange says JHS is two custodians away from full strength.

To make up for the less hands on board, some weekends or long breaks require JHS to bring in multiple custodians from other schools for a “blitz.” The blitz lasts one or two days, and the entire school is cleaned.

“It’s a challenge to meet our standards,” LaGrange said. “(It’s) not because of the people we have aren’t doing a great job because they are doing a great job. They are great workers, dedicated and do a great job.

“But we are understaffed and some of that is a larger, economic issue,” LaGrange continued. “There are a lot of jobs available, like River Ridge, (which) has created a little bit of competition for us.”

A creative way in which Greater Clark County Schools has tackled this challenge is by offering custodial job opportunities to high school students. The position offers $9 per hour to work up to three hours after school, everyday.

The hope for the hires is to give the custodians an extra hand while they are still filling in the other main positions.

“We’ve had a few people who have applied, we are going to hire a pool of high school students very soon to fill in and help us out as well,” said LaGrange. “I am excited for that and we’ve got some good candidates by the people I’ve talked to, we could use some more good people and high school students that want to work. It’s a very good part-time job for high school kids.”

Undaunted Underclassman

Story by Carlos Molina

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JHS: Still Going Strong After Four “Straight” Years

Four years play a big role in our society.
It takes four years for high a school student to go from the “newbie” freshman to the ruling senior. The Olympics, made to test an athlete’s true expertise, happens once every four years. The United States presidential election, voting for the face of our country, occurs every four years.
Around Jeffersonville, a big moment happened four years ago: Julie Straight was named the principal at Jeff High School.
Before Straight was tabbed with leading the school, the Jeffersonville native spent over 20 years in the English classroom, coached gymnastics, girls track and field, cross country and cheerleading teams, and sponsored clubs, such as Renaissance and the Class of 1994.
“I’ve always been very involved and I’ve always loved kids and students,” Straight said. “This is where I wanted my professional career to be.”

The beginnings…
“When I first stepped in as interim principal, it was very challenging because we ended up down a few administrators (and I) had to bring in some extra help,” Straight said. “The structures were what worked for someone else, (but) weren’t what would fit my style the best.”
In 2012, there were changes that Straight had to devise, such as organizing structure throughout the building.
“When I was named principal at the end of (the 2012) school year, that was a whirlwind of a summer,” Straight said. “Hiring people, re-establishing some leadership, and the way we would just do business here.”
Once she got the ball rolling as principal, she set her sights on several educational improvements, including honing in on higher test scores.
“If you look at data, all of our main metrics moved up,” Straight said of the improvements since her take over. “ECAs continue to go up, our graduation rate (is) up, our P.R.I.D.E. program has flourished. I think that being a part of the Jeff High family is something that a lot of people have pride in.”

What others are saying
Greater Clark County Schools Superintendent Dr. Andrew Melin, who is Straight’s direct boss, has been impressed with the new principal.
“I believe all of Mrs. Straight’s efforts have resulted in the improvement of many important metrics like graduation rate, post-secondary acceptance, dual credit attainment, etc,” Melin said. “As a result, I believe the image of JHS in our community and region is the best it has ever been.”
Melin also praised Straight’s progress of bettering JHS’ culture.
“Perhaps the most significant change I have seen in JHS since Mrs. Straight was named principal is the establishment of a positive school culture with the students, parents, staff, and community,” Melin said. “She has also been integral in expanding our College and Career Readiness initiative, which includes enhancing our counseling program and our efforts to join the Ford Next Generation Learning Network.”
Assistant principal Tim LaGrange agrees with Melin, saying that Straight became principal at a grueling time, and that he was impressed on how she took on the challenge.
“I think first of all she took over the building in a difficult situation, meaning she was the third principal in a matter of a few days,” LaGrange said. “She calmed the waters (and) she steadied the ship.
“I think one of her most positive attributes is that she bleeds Jeff Red Devils,” LaGrange continued. “She loves Jeff High and all of our kids. That is apparent in all of her decisions. I think that from a personal standpoint, she’s a great boss. She’s the kind of boss that you want to work hard for and that you don’t want to disappoint. On a daily basis, she is a very positive leader who cares about the kids.”.
Despite the kind words, Straight commends the teamwork that her, and her apt-called JHS family, have had throughout the last four years.
“We really work together: students, teachers, and faculty,” Straight said. “I’m very proud of that, and how far we’ve come. It’s hard to believe it’s not really that long.”

The future of JHS
Although principals are considered the ‘top dog’ of the school building, Straight explains that to get the full picture, one must include all of the moving parts. She says the staff and faculty go into making JHS such a great school just as much as she does.
One way to see the improvement would be looking at all of the clubs that have popped up, which are student-run, but also teacher-sponsored.
“We have blown up club-wise: we have our debate team, chess club, key club,” Straight said. “Now we have Optimist club, and so many other things that are growing that we’re taking pride in.”
She explains that all of these various clubs give the school a more community and family feel. She would like to think that this feeling within the school has increased since she has been principal.
In four years time, Straight has said to have brought a young atmosphere to the school, increased the positive culture of the building, positively impacted test scores/graduation rates, and implemented P.R.I.D.E throughout JHS.
So what are Straight’s plan over the next four years? According to the principal, it’s seeing continued improvement. Straight said that she doesn’t plan on going anywhere and is content with being a Jeff Red Devil.
“I’m very happy doing what I do,” Straight said. “I like being in a school where I’m supposed to be, and that’s where I want to be.”

Jeffersonville defeats Fort Wayne Wayne 67-60 to improve to (2-1)

Photos by Phillip Steinmetz

Takeaways from Jeff’s 80-51 win in Charlestown basketball scrimmage

Story by Phillip Steinmetz, Photos by Jay Williams

On Tuesday night, Jeffersonville basketball officially started their season with a home scrimmage against Charlestown. This was the first time anyone has seen this years boys team with the first regular season game just around the corner against Southport next Wednesday. They played five 12 minute running quarters, four of varsity and one of junior varsity. The young Red Devils looked impressive the entire night and showed great potential for a team with only two seniors on the roster.

Jacob Jones looks poised for a standout freshman season

Could there be any more pressure on the freshman point guard? He’s been asked to start varsity as a freshman on a team that is rich with tradition and pride. This scrimmage was the first time a lot of people have seen him play on this kind of level. The freshman guard impressed early and often. He shot the ball with confidence as hemade his first basket with a corner three and played sworming on ball defense throughout. Jones played quite a bit in the scrimmage and only committed one turnover on a bad pass in transition. He won’t impress you with size or his passing ability but he plays with the type of confidence that makes him able to compete with the bigger and stronger guards. Jacob Jones lead the team in scoring with 16 points and looks poised to lead the Red Devils in scoring for quite a bit of games this season and will only improve as the season goes forward.

Interior defense could be an issue until Coleman is eligible

In the starting lineup for the interior it included Gerrin Moore, Michael Minton and Bailey Falkenstein. Junior Jaden Coleman figures to be the main big man in the post this year once he’s eligible but the timetable has yet to be figured out for when he will be cleared to play after playing at Rock Creek last season. Jeff figures to be able to score in the post with Moore being able to put the ball on the floor and having a soft touch around the rim but defending the post is a different story. Senior Cam Northern played the best on defense in the post with being the biggest player on the team. When Coleman is eligible though, is when the Red Devils could really take off. He is a lengthy and athletic forward that can crash the boards with the best of them. The Pirates got most of their points in the paint and were able to draw fouls going toward the basket. Until Coleman is eligible, the weak point of the Red Devils will be the interior defense play.

Shooting the ball with consistency will be key for the young Red Devils

Jeffersonville is going to be one of the better shooting teams this year. The Red Devils combined to make 10 three’s on the night with Jones leading the way with four long range baskets. Gabe Gallahar and Michael Minton had two a piece, LaGrange and Falkenstein had one each also. The perimeter defense wasn’t the best for Charlestown but making ten three’s is still something impressive. Jeff has six shooters that are reliable from beyond the arc on any given night and they showed it Tuesday against Charlestown. LaGrange has the most potential to be a lights out shooter but getting open shots consistently will be the only issue. Gallahar looked more aggressive in finding his shot which could be what he is asked to do the most this season. If the Red Devils are able to hit at least ten three’s a night on a decent percentage, they could hang around with some of the tougher teams in the state.

In all, Tuesday night was an impressive showing by the Red Devils. Yeah, it’s only Charlestown but last season Jeff only won 72-61 at home. Jeffersonville is going to be really young, but they showed flashes of what could be a promising season behind who looked like the most dominant player on the court last night, Bailey Falkenstein. He was the player to get everyone going and in position to have such a successful game against the Pirates. The combination of his strength and scoring ability should make him the leading scorer for the Red Devils this season. 

 

Jeffersonville falls short to #10 North Harrison in season opener 27-25

photos by Phillip Steinmetz

Alex Trebek, Legendary Host of “Jeopardy!” Has Died From Cancer Complications

This TV show host holds the Guinness World Record for “most game show episodes hosted by the same presenter.” Who is Alex Trebek (1940 – 2020)?

Trebek, an international icon and entertainer, was the host of “Jeopardy!” from 1984 till the end of 2020. Trebek passed away in his home on the morning of Nov. 8, 2020 at the age of 80. He had been battling pancreatic cancer for over a year, first announcing it to the public in March of 2019. While his death was a surprise to most, it had been expected to come soon. To celebrate his life, here are some of his many achievements throughout his life.

On July 22, 1940, he was born to his French Canadian Mother Lucille Lagacé and Ukranian Immigrant George Edward Trebek. His heritage as a French Canadian, allowed him to be fluent in both French and English. Before Jeopardy! Trebek hosted other TV programs, such as “Music Hop” (1963-64) and “Reach for the Top” (1966-73). In 1973, he and fellow Canadian Alan Thicke travelled to the United States to host the NBC game show “The Wizard of Odds” (1973-74). This led to Trebek hosting more shows in America, such as CBS’s “Double Dare” (1976-77), “The $128,000 Question” (1977-78) and NBC’s “The New High Rollers” (1979-80). In 1984, Trebek assumed his most memorable role as the host of the trivia show “Jeopardy!” a show that tested the average person’s intelligence for a large sum of money. 

In his lifetime, he won six Daytime Emmy Awards, the Gold Medal in 2010, the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Daytime Emmys in 2011, the Alexander Graham Bell Medal from the National Geographic Society in 2013 and the Burpee Medal in 2015 from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

Trebek was an important part of many peoples’ lives, including students and staff here at Jeff High. “It was tragic. I was devastated. I grew up watching that show,”  says Patrick Wentworth, an AP English and English 11 teacher at Jeff. 

Trebek’s final recording day was Oct. 29, and the final new episode featuring him will air on Dec. 25, 2020. He hosted more than 8,200 episodes of “Jeopardy!”, and he finished his final episodes just two weeks after having cancer-related surgery. Trebek will always be remembered for the colorful humor, quick wit, and love of knowledge he brought to the television night after night.

Written by Chloey Trinkle

So … What Happened Election Night?

So, what’s going on? First, we do not have a winner at the presidential level. Despite what either candidate says, there is no winner. Second, the Senate is also still up for grabs as many close elections go uncalled. Finally, Democrats early in the night did claim a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, per multiple sources. 

So here are some answers to many of your lingering questions about this election.

Why is this election taking longer to count than past elections?

This election broke records for early voting (both in-person or mail-in), in most cases, these ballots take more time to count. This is also complicated as some states allow mail-in ballots to be counted after election day if they are postmarked by election day. This is why it is taking much longer to count.

When will we know the results?

Each state is different, so it is difficult to know when the election results from each state will be final. For example, North Carolina can accept mail-in ballots until November 12, so it is difficult to predict an outcome especially if the outstanding ballots could change the results. But one thing is for sure, election results are final when, and only when, all the votes are counted, despite what either candidate claims.

At the presidential level what states are still up for grabs?

As of 7 a.m., based on ABC News projections, there are still nine states uncalled. While some of these (such as Arizona) have been called on other broadcasts, ABC News has not called the state. The states that are still uncalled are: Nevada, Arizona, Alaska, Wisconsin, Michigan, Maine, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Georgia. 

Why did President Donald Trump claim victory?

While most candidates often speak in optimistic hyperbole, this claim is verifiably false at this point. He has not won the election. 

Will this election be decided in the courts?

There is no definitive answer to this question at the moment. Elections have always been litigated and argued over (think Bush v. Gore). And even in this election there were many legal suits brought over election law. However, what the president is suggesting would be a challenge to election law after the election. While this wouldn’t be unprecedented, courts are much less likely to alter results after the election. 

Who’s up, who’s down?

At the moment, Joe Biden is in a better place than the president, at 7 a.m. based on ABC News projections, Biden has an electoral vote lead of 225 to 213. However, this race is far from over; while Biden is favored, Trump still has a chance. In this election each state is different, and each state has different votes left.

One thing that complicates the results is the stark divide between early votes and in person votes. Election data and polling numbers indicate that early voting across the country was much more advantageous for Democrats, while election day voting was much more positive for Republicans. This means that what kind of votes are left to count is key to predicting the results. So let’s look at the states.

  • Alaska – With about 36% reporting, Trump is leading big (61%-35%). However, with such a small amount of votes, it is hard to extrapolate from the data. Despite this, Trump was predicted to win the state.
  • Arizona – While ABC has not called the state, many other outlets such as Fox News have called the race for Joe Biden. This is because with over 80% reporting Biden is leading by 5 points. 
  • Georgia – Early in the night, Georgia looked like it was going to go into Trump’s column, but now with 92% reporting, Trump leads by 2 percentage points (50%-48%). The reason this race has not been called is because of where the outstanding ballots are from. For example, in heavily democratic leaning areas such as Atlanta, there are many votes left to count. 
  • Maine – Maine has been a surprise, not because of the results, but because of how slow they have been when it comes to counting. Despite this, most news outlets have called Maine for Joe Biden. As of right now with over 70% reporting, Biden leads by 13 points.
  • Michigan – Michigan is tight with Trump in a narrow lead with 86% reporting. The state has not been called because the remaining votes are primarily early votes which favor the challenger, Biden.
  • Nevada – With 86% reporting, the state is virtually tied. The remaining votes are expected to be early votes, which is expected to favor Biden. 
  • North Carolina – North Carolina stands with a 1 point lead for Trump with 95% of votes reported. The reason for the state not being called is that ballots can still be received until November 12.
  • Pennsylvania – In the state that was expected to decide it all Trump is leading by a 9 point lead with 75% of the votes reported. While this seems like a large lead, there are still tons of votes to count in left leaning counties such as Alleghany and Philadelphia. 
  • Wisconsin – Joe Biden holds a narrow lead with 97% of vote reported. The remaining vote is expected to favor Biden, but the results will be close.

As of right now, Biden definitely has an easier path to victory than Trump, but it is not over, and Trump has come from behind before.

What is next?

Ahead there is a lot of uncertainty and a lot of counting. It’s important to remember that despite ensuing chaos and false claims, it’s not over until the last vote is counted.

Editor’s notes:

  • ABC News predictions were chosen for this article because of their tendency to make calls conservatively and wait until there is overwhelming evidence of a victory.
  • The data and results in this article are constantly changing, The Hyphen recommends following major news outlets for the latest results.

Written by Max Fisher

Election 2020: Where the Presidential Candidates Stand on the Issues

In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, one other news story has been a constant this year: the presidential election. Although many people have already voted by mail or in early in-person voting, still many more are going to the polls today. Current President Donald Trump and former Vice president Joe Biden are leading the charge for the major parties. Howie Hawkins and Jo Jorgensen are running for the Green and Libertarian parties. 

With only two presidential debates leading up to election day, voters had fewer opportunities than usual to hear directly from the candidates side-by-side. However, the debates and campaign speeches do reveal a lot about where the candidates stand on some of the major issues of interest to Jeff High students:

COVID-19

COVID-19 has been a major topic through all debates and campaign events. During a rally in Wisconsin, Trump said,” We are rounding a corner. We got the vaccines …. but even without it, we’re rounding the corner.” Biden struck a different note in the final Presidential debate, saying “We’re not learning to live with it. We’re learning to die with it.” He has advocated for stronger mask mandates and vowed to make the vaccine free for everyone once it is cleared by the FDA.

Taxes

At many campaign events, Biden has spoken about a new tax proposal. Biden wants to increase income and payroll taxes on high earners (defined as those earning more than $400,000 a year), while expanding tax credits for lower-income and middle class Americans. Trump has spoken out against the plan, calling it a tax hike. His running mate, Vice President Mike Pence, said at the vice presidential debate that Biden’s plan would end up raising taxes “on every American.” 

Unemployment and Job Creation

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 7.9 percent of Americans are unemployed in September of this year. At a rally in Michigan, Trump spoke out about how his administration has helped create jobs, citing the number of car plants that have been developed since his first term and will continue to grow during his second term. Biden, meanwhile, has touted his plan to “modernize American manufacturing and technology, to ensure that the future is made in America.” One part of that plan is to “impose a tax penalty on companies that avoid paying U.S. taxes by offshoring jobs and manufacturing, only to sell those goods back to the American people.” 

Race Relations

Protests and rallies have been held all throughout the nation following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Jacob Blake. Both Trump and Biden have spoken about these events. Trump has said many times that he wants to stop the protests. “Think of the smoldering ruins in Minneapolis, the violent anarchy of Portland, the bloodstained sidewalks of Chicago, and imagine the mayhem coming to your town and every single town in America,” he said. On the other hand, Biden said he believes there is a difference between protests and riots. “I want a safe America,” he said, and then added, “Safe from COVID, safe from crime and looting, safe from racially motivated violence, safe from bad cops.”

Although there are many more issues at play in this election, these are some of the key topics. Although their plans look different and they stand for different things, Biden and Trump both have one thing in common: they want the best for this country. 

Written by Rachel Lowe

Election Day By the Numbers: 2020 Features High-Stakes Races and High Voter Turnout

Heading into election day, over 95 million Americans have already voted according to the U.S. Elections Project. This record level of early voting is indicative of one of the most hotly contested and divisive elections in U.S. history. 

The election has also been complicated by COVID-19. States and localities have had to scramble to find the resources, money, and people needed to hold a high-turnout election safely. In many states, the solution was to expand mail-in and early, in-person. This adds a new level uncertainty as the different levels of government attempt to deal with the unprecedented levels of early voting. This could also lead to delayed election results, as certain states allow ballots to be received after election day. 

In America, election administration is given as a state duty by the constitution. This results in many different systems and rules based on the location. Also, as the election is playing out, many lawsuits have been decided or are being litigated to decide which ballots will count. This uncertainty has many on the left worried that the president will use this uncertainty to claim victory with a lack of any evidence. 

What is clear is what’s at stake on this election day: Democrats are on offense with a chance to claim a trifecta (Control of the House, Senate, and Presidency) at the federal level. Starting with the House, FiveThirtyEight (a data-focused news outlet that predicts election results based on polling and other variables) gives the Democrats a 98 percent chance of keeping control of the chamber. The Senate is a little tougher but still has Democrats optimistic. FiveThirtyEight gives Democrats a 76 percent chance of holding on to the chamber. And finally, at the presidential level, the site says Joe Biden has a 90 percent chance of winning the presidency. It should be noted that the forecasts do not factor in judicial challenges to the results. 

Presidency

At the presidential level, Joe Biden is squarely in the lead, and unless there is an unprecedented polling error, President Donald Trump will have to run the tables in all the battleground states. 

How Trump Could Win: To win, Trump will have to make up a large deficit in the polls to Biden, and he will have to rely on key demographics in swing states to reach 270. First Trump has to hold onto the states that he didn’t think he’d have to defend. Most major pollsters show races in Texas, Georgia, Iowa, and Ohio are close to a dead heat in polling; Trump carried these states handily last time. If Trump doesn’t hold on to all four of these toss-ups, the race is over for him. On top of that Trump will also have to win in three swing states in the South, as well as North Carolina, Arizona and Florida. Without these three states the president has little chance of prevailing. And finally, on top of all of that he would have to come from behind to win in Pennsylvania where the most recent New York Times poll has Biden leading by six points. While it may be easy to count the president out, it was only four years ago when the political outsider shocked the world by crushing his predictions and winning the White House.

How Biden Could Win: Biden’s path to 270 electoral votes isn’t complicated or nearly as hard as Trump’s. Simply put, out of the eight competitive states (Pennsylvania, Ohio, Arizona, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Iowa and Texas), Biden needs to win one. If he is able to capture just one of these states he will win the presidency. Despite what seems like an easy task, the left is still haunted by their false optimism four years ago.

Senate 

The outcome of the senate will have a large effect on the governing success of whomever wins the White House. Right now, the Senate is composed of 53 Republicans and 47 Democrats. And Democrat Doug Jones of Alabama is very unlikely to win reelection. This means that to control the senate, the Democrats will need to gain four seats if Biden wins and five seats if he doesn’t win. (The reason for this difference: the Vice President would cast the deciding vote in a tie, meaning that Democrat Kamala Harris would add another vote if Biden wins). 

Democrats are favored to take back seats in Colorado, Maine, North Carolina and Arizona. They also have a nearly 50-50 chance of taking two seats, in Georgia and Iowa. They also have an outside shot of picking up seats in Montana, South Carolina, Alaska and Kansas. There will also most likely be a runoff in Georgia for its second Senate senate seat later this year (a runoff occurs when no candidate reaches 50 percent in the first election, then the top two candidates face off.)

House

For the Republicans to even have a chance to win the House, there would need to be a massive polling error, in which the news media dramatically misrepresented the views of the American public. The Democrats are almost certain to retain a majority in the house.

The Bottom Line

While each individual race is local and has many issues that depend on the state, the stakes at the national level are clear: if Biden wins on election night and Democrats retake the Senate while holding on the House, the Democratic Party will have a trifecta for the first time since Barack Obama’s first term. 

Written by Max Fisher

The 2020 Crisis Around the World

From China to Yemen to Lebanon and more, the events of 2020 have affected others in the world

With everything that has happened so far this year, it’s not a stretch to call 2020 a crisis. It has been filled with unexpected events, such as COVID-19, racial justice protests, and even murder hornets. The rest of the world has not had it easy either and not just because of the pandemic. Yemen, Lebanon, and China have also experienced tragedies. Lebanon’s tragic event was abrupt, but what is going on in Yemen and China has been going on for years. 

On August 4 in Beirut, Lebanon, at least 154 were killed, and thousands were left injured, in a gigantic explosion at a warehouse in the Port of Beirut. The force from the blast left vast amounts of damage to the surrounding buildings and neighborhoods and produced a mushroom cloud of fumes and debris, a lot of which was harmful to breathe. The explosion was so powerful it could be felt 150 miles away. The explosion was caused by an ignited cache of ammonium nitrate, according to The Wall Street Journal. Ammonium nitrate is a chemical compound commonly used in fertilizers, but it can also be used to make explosives.  It was held at the site for over six years.

The ammonium nitrate was originally on a ship that was supposed to be delivered to the country of Georgia in 2013. Due to technical difficulties with the boat, it had to be docked in Beirut, and it was later abandoned there. The ammonium nitrate was stored in the warehouse that was supposed to dispose of the chemical safely. Officials at the port are now under house arrest as the investigation continues, according to The Wall Street Journal. 

More than a million Uighur Muslims and other Muslim minority groups are being held in the Xinjiang region of China. Uighurs are a Turkic speaking minority ethnic group originating from the general region of Central and East Asia. There has been conflict with China and Uighurs since 1931. China is referring to these sites as transformation camps. A woman named Gulzira who told her story to PBS Frontline said she was surrounded by mesh, barbed wire, cameras, and brutal treatment. She said that twice she had to sit on a hard chair for 24 hours and use the bathroom where she sat. She also told PBS, “If you exceeded two minutes in the toilet, they hit our heads with an electric prod.” 

Jeffersonville High School special education teacher David Russell taught in China for a while and has first hand experience seeing the work of the Chinese government. 

Russell says China likes the idea of complete conformity. “Any nail that sticks up is hammered down,” he says. That is why China has targeted those who follow certain religions. “I witnessed anti-Christian persecution. People got arrested for going to church. Their form of anti-Islam is just not conforming,” Russell says. “It’s Orwellian, and it’s gotten worse.” It will take many Chinese activists because many websites reporting on it are shut down, and the people running them are being arrested. However, Russell says that he doesn’t want to reflect poorly on the Chinese since he enjoyed his time living there, and he enjoyed the people he met.

Yemen is also harshly affected by the events of 2020, but it’s an existing problem that has become worse in their case. According to Islamic Relief USA, for about five years, Yemen has been in a famine. Famine is the extreme scarcity of food and is often caused by droughts. More than 85,000 children have died from the famine as of 2018. In May of 2020, UNICEF described Yemen as the most massive humanitarian crisis in the world. They are already starved, and as COVID-19 sweeps the area, their ability to find resources has worsened. Over 24 million people are in need. Hospitals often have no staff, no equipment, or even electricity. The doctors are so overwhelmed that they have to turn people away. Yemen’s child malnutrition rates are some of the highest in the world. About half of the children under five years old are growth stunted. 

Yemen is also a war-torn country where civil war has taken a terrible toll on the resources and infrastructure necessary to keep people healthy. This civil war resulted from continued violence and unrest from the Arab Spring (2014), where the people rose and tried to create a democracy.

Even as America is hit hard with COVID-19 and all the other challenges of 2020, often it is easy to forget the many other challenges happening all across the world. 

Written by Marni Scholl

A Not-So-Brief History of Women in Politics

With Kamala Harris on the Democratic presidential ticket, this year could be a turning point for women in American politics. However, Harris is just the most recent in a line of trailblazing women.

1872 – Victoria Woodhull runs for President. Woodhull also created a publication called Woodhull and Claflin’s Weekly.

1887 – The first female mayor is elected: Susanna Salter of Argonia, Arkansas.

1916 – Jeannette Pickering-Rankin is the first woman to be elected to congress. 

1920 – White women are granted the right to vote.

1923 – Soledad Chacon, a Latina woman, wins the election to become the Secretary of State in New Mexico.  

1952 – Charlotta Spears-Bass is the first black woman to be nominated for vice president. 

1952 – Asian American women earn the right to vote.

1962 – Patsy Takemoto Mink becomes the first female Asian/Pacific Islander woman to be elected into state senate.

1965 – Native American women earn the right to vote.

1974 – Elaine Noble becomes the first openly queer woman to win in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

1976 – Mary Rose Oakar is the first Arab-American woman elected to senate.

1980 – LaDonna Harris becomes the first indigneous woman nominee for vice president.

1984 – Geraldine Ferraro is Democratic Party’s vice presidential nominee, making her the first female vice-presidential nominee representing a major American political party. 

1985 – Wilma Mankiller becomes the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation.

1992 – Nydia Velasquez becomes the first Puerto Rican woman elected to congress.

2001 – Condelezza Rice becomes the first woman to hold the position of National Security Advisor.

2016 – Hilary Clinton runs for president, before losing to Donald Trump.

2017 – Nikki Haley becomes the first Indian-American woman to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

2020 – Kamala Harris runs for Vice President along with Joe Biden on the Democratic ticket. 

Compiled and written by November Shawler