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.”

 

PDF: Nov. 7, 2019

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With the “real world” just around the corner, that first move in The Game of Life seems a lot more relevant (and scary) than it used to be. Is college really the foundation for success? And if it is, how can a typical student afford it without taking on a lot of debt? Check out our cover story as we explore the trade-offs today’s high school graduates face.

This issue also contains:

  • An opinion column about the “fatal flaw” in FAFSA
  • Reader voices on school start time and whether money or happiness is more important
  • A preview of the new Disney streaming service
  • And more …

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Opinion: Schnatter’s Donation to Jeffersonville Baseball Puts Him on the Right Path

It was July 11, 2018, when John Schnatter (Papa John) resigned as Board Chairman of Papa John’s Pizza. His resignation came after he used the N-word on a public relations conference call, but his fall from power began earlier. Schnatter is most known for his work as Papa John and his fall from power. However, many don’t know he graduated from Jeff High in 1980.

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Schnatter’s problems began in November 2017 when he expressed his disappointment over the peaceful protest of African-American NFL athletes taking a knee during the national anthem. The company tried to smooth over his comments, but the damage had been done.

In January 2018 John Schnatter stepped down as Chief Executive of Papa Johns, following a sales decline, partly linked to the NFL scandal, and in February 2018 Papa Johns ended their partnership with the NFL.

In May 2018 the conference call occurred in which Schnatter used the racial slur, yet the incident would remain unknown until July 11. The day John Schnatter lost everything. Soon after the news of his resignation spread, multiple partners and contracts were suspended. The University of Louisville began the process of renaming “Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium,” and many others began the process of removing the brand from their own.

Then, less than a week later, July 17, Schnatter started talking. He first walked back his resignations saying, “he was kinda provoked” in saying the racial slur. He also expressed regret over his decision to resign before the board did a full investigation. Despite his fight, by August 1, 2018, John Schnatter had been erased from all forms of advertising of Papa Johns.

Despite the loss of his company, Schnatter still maintains the John Schnatter Foundation which makes many charitable contributions. He has recently been using his foundation to help the Southern Indiana and Louisville community.

Most recently, Schnatter gave $500,000 to Jeffersonville High School for a turf baseball field and a replacement of the outer fencing, The stadium and facility will be named the John Schnatter Stadium, but the field will remain Don Poole Field.

John Schnatter has made many mistakes, and his use of racial slurs is inexcusable. However, this is the real world. John Schnatter has expressed remorse, and he is trying to help. Through this donation, he is helping his community and our school.

I believe in principles, but I also believe in practicality. This donation helps everyone, and while many will always associate his name with accusations of racism, we must also acknowledge the good his actions have and will do for the community.

PDF: Sept. 17, 2019

September 2019 Cover Image

The Hyphen is back with a new staff and fresh views. Download the September issue to read:

  • An in-depth report on how the American immigration system works, featuring real-life stories of people who are caught in it
  • A profile of this year’s student council co-presidents, Bethia Busingye and Amelia Epperson
  • Opinion columns about pronouns and terminology in the LGBTQ+ community
  • Student views on dress code changes and E-learning days
  • And more …

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Coaching with Confidence

Isaac Parker Headshot

Isaac Parker takes over as the new JHS Football Head Coach

The Jeffersonville High School football team recently introduced Isaac Parker as the new head coach. Parker was the assistant coach for the team for four years before becoming the head coach.

Parker attended Jeffersonville High School and played for the football team for all four years. He went on to play for the University of Louisville for one year before becoming a police officer for the Jeffersonville Police Department.

For Parker it was an emotional experience becoming the coach. “It was emotional at first, I contacted my wife and then my parents, let them know,” Parker told WAVE 3 News, “I went from just that pure excitement, to a little bit of anxiety and I’ve pretty much lived with that over the last month,” he continued.

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Nolan Schultz, a sophomore on the team, says that the team is extremely happy about their new head coach and that they believe this year’s season will be much better than last year. “He’s a great coach,’’ said Schultz.

After losses against Fern Creek and Seymour to start the year, the team secured their first win of the season in a 32-13 victory over New Albany in the Sept. 6 Homecoming game.

Written by Kaitlyn Monroe

Parker Photo: Submitted, Practice Photo: Kyle Rider

PDF: May 16, 2019 (Senior Issue)

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With special thanks to the Class of 2019, we present you with our final issue of the 2018-19 school year, which features photos and columns by The Hyphen‘s graduating seniors:

  • Chloe Treat
  • Caleb Sorrells
  • Jack Ellis
  • Antonio Thompson
  • Tyler Hughes
  • Emma Ellis
  • Haylee Hedrick

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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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Photo Gallery: Dodgeball Smackdown

On Friday, March 22, Jeff High students and staff faced off in a dodgeball tournament in Johnson Arena. The event raised more than $1,000 for a much-loved member of the Jeff High family who has been battling cancer.

all photos by Antonio Thompson

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Editorial: Jeffersonville’s Promise Deserves the Chance to Prove its Value

When Jeffersonville’s Promise was announced in November, many praised the program as a way to give hope to the hopeless. The program promised two free years of tuition at Ivy Tech for qualifying Jeff High graduates, starting with this year’s senior class. When you consider that more than half of the students at Jeff High receive free or reduced price lunches, the impact of Jeffersonville’s Promise is monumental for those who could not afford college otherwise.

However, a bill recently introduced in the state House of Representatives puts the future of Jeffersonville’s Promise in doubt. House Bill 1596, which is primarily sponsored by Ed Clere, R-New Albany, would stop or curtail the program. After a quick decision to move forward with the bill in a committee, this week the bill was moved to a different committee, according to a report in the News and Tribune.

For now, the program still stands while Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore continues to advocate for the program.

We, the Hyphen staff, believe the bill sheds light on the need to define more rigorous standards for how the scholarship money is used. However, we believe that Jeffersonville’s Promise should stand, because it is a wise use of tax dollars. Just as we use tax dollars to provide libraries and public schools for citizens, we should use tax dollars to provide college education.

Some would say that Clere is using this measure to continue the ongoing feud between Jeffersonville and New Albany high schools. The issues are deeper than that. But there is one thing we can all agree on: a more educated population in Jeffersonville benefits our entire area — including New Albany.

PDF: February 14, 2019

hyphen-cover-image-2019-febThis month’s issue of The Hyphen includes news and opinion on issues including:

  • Efforts to suspend or change the Jeffersonville’s Promise scholarship program
  • Selection of a new superintendent for Greater Clark County Schools
  • Opposing views on the border wall
  • Clubs that promote diversity at Jeff High
  • And more …

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Ivy Tech Scholarships: “Jeffersonville’s Promise” for the Future

A promise, a college education and a future. Many students stress about having enough money to attend college. However, the city of Jeffersonville has a solution and recently announced that they have partnered with community college Ivy Tech to offer a two-year scholarship to the graduates of Jeffersonville High School, starting with the Class of 2019. The program, “Jeffersonville’s Promise,” means that graduates are now able to attend two years of college at Ivy Tech for free.

Scott Hawkins, a social studies teacher at Jeff High and a member of the city’s Redevelopment Commission, explained how the program came together. “The program started with Travis Haire at Ivy Tech,” Hawkins said. “Haire contacted the mayor, who mulled over the idea for a while and in turn presented it to Redevelopment Commission members.” Other Commision members include Mayor Mike Moore, fellow Councilman Matt Owen, Monty Snelling and Jack Vissing.

“Our Promise is based on a similar program instituted in Kalamazoo, Michigan more than 10 years ago, so we had data to look at concerning effectiveness and impact. Four of us voted for the expenditure,” he continued.

According to a press release by the city,students must meet the following requirements to qualify:
• A minimum of a 2.0 G.P.A. while in high school
• Maintain a minimum of a 2.5 G.P.A. at Ivy Tech
• Accept all federal and local aid as well as scholarships before the Ivy Tech scholarship, as the program is intended as a “last dollar scholarship”
• Complete the FAFSA (The Free Application For Student Federal Aid)
• Enroll in classes with the intent of getting a certificate, certification or degree
• Enroll in Ivy Tech during the summer, fall or spring after high school, starting in 2019

There are no student income requirements for the scholarship, but Jeff High Principal Julie Straight anticipates that the program will be most beneficial to the middle class. “Our lowest income students — if they want to go to college through grants and things — generally they’re going to get it paid for that opportunity,” Straight said. “But the middle of the road where you have working families who make just enough … there’s a lot of people in that situation because college is expensive.”

Some, like junior Sophie Weber, are extremely excited about the program. Weber, who has juvenile arthritis, says this will help her family pay for much of her college.“My family does not qualify for much financial aid, but most of what we make goes to my medical bills,” Weber said. “Without this help I could be stuck in years worth of debt.” With this scholarship, she said, “I am able to worry about my education more than my financial situation.”

However, Weber is concerned that the program’s money will run out. “I am worried that the money will not accommodate every student who meets the qualifications and wishes to pursue this opportunity,” she said. “Even with taking every financial aid and scholarship provided first, it is not cheap to fund all this.”

Hawkins explained where the money is coming from.“It is funded through the Redevelopment Commission, which receives funding through TIF districts throughout the city,” Hawkins said. “No taxes or fees will be raised to implement this Promise. The money is already there.”

Overall, Straight thinks that the program is a win and gives much hope to students.“Lots of people (are) very excited and… the kids… that’s the best part. It really can be life-changing… It brought tears to my eyes when we were at the announcement.” It’s a win situation for Jeff High students,” she said. “For Jeffersonville as a community, for employers in Jeffersonville, we’re going to have a more educated workforce. For Ivy Tech, they’re going to have more students. It’s just a win all the way around.”

 

Written by Greta Reel

PDF: December 13, 2018

This month’s issue of The Hyphen is packed full of news and perspectives, including:

  • Details on the newly announced Ivy Tech scholarship program
  • A profile of Jeff High’s exchange students
  • Student and staff viewpoints on two hot topics: dress code and class size
  • Winter sports previews
  • A tribute to Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee
  • And more …

This issue also includes an update on Jeff High’s transition to Academies. We invite readers to share their thoughts on the Academy system at bit.ly/hyphenpoll. Survey data and quotes may be published on our website.

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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

Replacing a legend

 Story by Kelsey Luce

The numbers are staggering: 33 Sectional titles, seven Regional, three semi-state championships, and two final four appearances.

The Red Devil tennis teams have had great success over the past 30 years coached by Mark Reilly. However this past 2015-16 season was the last year with Reilly at the helm after he decided to step down, ending his JHS coaching career.

Since then, Jeff High has hired a new tennis coach for this upcoming season, Curt Roehm.

Roehm has been coaching since he was in college at Indiana University Southeast. He started out coaching tennis at River Valley Middle School, before deciding to take a job as the assistant girls tennis coach at Jeff High towards the end of his college career.

Later, after leaving that position, Roehm took a job at as the girls tennis coach at South Oldham High School, before making his way back to Jeff High to become assistant coach for Reilly with the boys program.

The movement, and ultimate return to JHS, put him in the daily presence of one of the most decorated tennis coaches in the state.

“Working beside Coach Reilly the past few years was a privilege,” Roehm said. “He’s such a student of the game. He picks up on the smallest thing and can build an entire game plan around it.

Because Roehm has spent so much time at Jeff High in the past, many current players recognize, and have been taught by, Roehm.

“He is a really great coach,” junior Trey Bottorff said. “He knows how to motivate and teach the game. He has some of the same great qualities that Coach Reilly has. I expect us to surprise a lot of teams doubting us and have a great season.”

The team already has big plans, along with a lot of respect, for their new coach this season. Roehm also knows, and understands, the legacy that came before him, and is focused on putting realistic goals on a team that went to the final four last season.

“I think it’s very important to set real and obtainable goals. We are focusing on things we can control,” Roehm said. “You can’t control when your opponent is going to have a near-perfect day. You can’t control when you go through a slump or a bad game. You can control walking off the court, knowing you gave 100-percent in practice and in the match,” Roehm said.

These goals are in place with a hope to follow up last year’s success, as well as preparing the boys to be the best they can for any opponents coming forward.

“The team already has respect for him, and now that he’s the head coach, he will bring a new and good element to the team this season,” junior Gerrin Moore said.

A Valedictory to the Valedictorian

Story by Kyle Sanders

Graduation day is a special moment for many seniors at Jeff High.

While many will take their last steps through Jeff High, two students are honored with an award for their academic achievements. One of those lucky students will earn the title of valedictorian, an award given to the student with the No. 1 rank in their class. That student is awarded by having the opportunity to give the valedictory farewell speech at graduation.

However, soon the Valedictorian, as well as the Salutatorian award for second place, might not be around.

According to the Greater Clark School District, unhealthy competition among students in their battle to receive this award has led administrators to consider getting rid of the Valedictorian and Salutatorian award altogether.

“The way the system is now requires you to be really excellent at strategy, have a lot of foresight, and lots of luck — on top of being really smart and determined. I’ve had to sit down with students and their parents every year to talk about strategy and why another student has a higher GPA,” Jeff principal Julie Straight said. “I’m not against students exploring, but I know that students have given up classes that pertain to their career to take AP classes to get a better rank.”

As the years have gone on, more universities have decreased the importance of class rank in the college admission process, according to the National Association for College Admission and Counseling. Because of this, the Valedictorian and Salutatorian is not seen as a “must have” to get a scholarship into college.

Instead, schools tend to focus more on ACT and SAT scores as well as grades in college prep courses.

“The title of being Valedictorian created motivation for me,” said Cassidy Padgett, the class of 2016 co-Valedictorian. “I wanted it for my own personal pride because although the title itself didn’t get me any extra scholarships or into any extra colleges, it motivated me to get the grades and ACT scores that produced those things. Titles and rewards create competition, which creates motivation.”

In the past, the Valedictorian award honors one student for their academic achievements throughout their four years of school. The new proposed system, however, would honor the top 10-percent (approximately 40 students) of the senior class.

From there, that group would vote on two kids to speak at graduation. Formerly, both the Valedictorian and Salutatorian, along with the class president, would receive this honor.

“We like this idea because we want students to be open to taking classes related to their future, and not so focused on taking a full load of AP classes just to raise their rank,” JHS counselor Whitney Roberts said. “We have multiple students affected by choosing classes based on rank in this senior class who may have chosen differently if we honored students differently.“

GCCS is finding that students are taking classes for the sole purpose of raising their class rank, instead of taking classes that can teach them something valuable for their future, as well as what they want to do in the future.

Despite the buzz around the impending decision, this change in the system would not occur until the Class of 2020, this year’s freshman class. This  is causing some students in the freshman class, including Greta Reel, to be upset. Reel feels like the change would put JHS students behind other students around the state when competing for scholarships.

“I feel that getting rid of the Valedictorian system is going to put Jeff High students at a disadvantage compared to other schools with Valedictorians. When it comes to getting academic scholarships, I feel like Valedictorians from other schools are going to have the advantage in competing for scholarships,” Reel said. “Even if the college understands Jeff’s system of honoring the top five-percent or 10-percent, the word ‘Valedictorian’ automatically sticks in a person’s head.”

Constant Construction Continues

 

Story by Caleb Albert

Growing up in Southern Indiana, JHS students have grown accustomed to construction: the roundabouts on 10th Street, the growth of the River Ridge area and plans for the new bridges have all taken place within the last half-decade.

But renovation is not just held to community members around Jeffersonville — students in the high school are now feeling the squeeze.

Just this past year, JHS students have seen a renovation to Johnson Arena, the addition of the WJHI radio/TV room, and an update to the swimming pool, all of which have taken place on one side of the same hallway. The entire other side of the hallway, though, has remained untouched.

However, all of that is about to change.

On the other side of JHS Main Street is the auditorium, which currently seats 900 people. The limited seating has been a problem for the ever-growing theater, choir, and band programs, which have been honored on a state, national and international level.

During the winter season each year, the combined choir and band “Winter Fantasy” concert series sees sold-out shows, with the groups performing as many as two times each day, for an entire school week. The music department anticipates the tradition to continue this year as well.

A newly renovated auditorium is anticipated to bring in more students that want to be involved in performing arts.

Austin Smith, a freshman in chamber choir, said, “the renovated auditorium will bring new life to all of the performing arts. People like new things, so there will probably be more people getting involved in the performing arts soon.”

The band program, specifically, is hopeful for the renovation, because it will add benefits, without any trade offs.

“They’re not doing anything to the acoustics, and it’ll be more pleasing to people who come in,” senior Josh McCorkle said.

Also, along with the update to the seat capacity, the seats themselves will be updated, a change that pleases senior band member Andrew Gustafson

“We also won’t have all the squeaking when people stand up,” Gustafson said. Currently, any movement in the seats leads to squeaking, which creates a distraction for choir, band, and theater members performing.

Although there are so many people being exposed to the culture and expression of Jeff’s artistry, and creating an appreciation for all of the school’s programs, the limited seating and overall environment of the current auditorium distracts audience members from experiencing the full potential of students.

The renovation is expected to be completed later this school year, before Jeff’s Spring performances.

SPEAKING YOUR MIND

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Josh Waddell  giving a speech in the media center. Photo by Sam Gatewood

“Speech has helped me increase my confidence.”

Like any other high school student, founding Speech and Debate member, and Jeffersonville High School senior, Josh Waddell was insecure about aspects of his life that were out of his control.

 

He was concerned with other people perceived him, especially when he spoke. But speech gave him an outlet to better himself and his confidence.

“Speech has been able to increase my articulation. It helps me discuss my political opinions in a more intellectual way that I couldn’t before,” Waddell said. “As someone who is active in the political sphere, it’s something that I would not be able to survive without.”

But even earlier in his life, Waddell found comfort and ease in expressing his political opinions, something necessary for his future employment. When the opportunity to put this passion into a speech and debate team at Jeff High, he jumped at the chance.  

Three years later, he holds countless awards and titles — all thanks to Speech and Debate Club.

“I will be applying for many different speech scholarships. It has gotten me in involved with a lot of different awards that I can get and I’ve won an entire wall of trophies from many different events,” Waddell said. “But I also think past getting cheap, plastic metals and getting a hundred dollars towards college. I’ve gotten a lot of relationships that I wouldn’t have otherwise; people from different schools, different backgrounds and different walks of life.”

The speech team gives speeches around the Jeffersonville area, including the Rotary Club, the Republican Women’s Club and the Optimist Club.

The league is jointly run by Mr. Rick Condon, and Rachel Jacobs, a political campaign manager. Condon, who is a permanent JHS sub, helps the team with freelance things, while Jacobs helps the team find tournaments all around Indiana. This year, speech is expanding their horizons and moving into the territory of slam poetry and dramatic interpretations.

Waddell also believes that speech is a valuable life skill that brings people together. He believes that no matter what students decide to do in life, speech will enhance whatever job they choose to do.
Waddell encourages anyone who is interested in the club to join. Meetings are on Thursdays from 2:30-4 p.m. in the Media Center.

Black Lives Matter

 

  story by Jalin Ernest

Many people would say that the Black Lives Matter movement is outrageous, or a misrepresentation of what America is all about. While I understand that there are a lot of black-on-black crimes (and that has to stop), but cops killing innocent people is not okay either.

I understand situations involving a person with a weapon that could potentially harm an officer are some of the most difficult ones, but aren’t police officers taught to defend themselves in all situations? If it is a knife, doesn’t a taser work just as well? If it is a gun, maybe police can shoot and hit them in a place to disarm the suspect?

My point is there are other options, and don’t always have to end in death.

Yes, some officers have to make decisions within a certain time frame that can be as small as a second, but the excessive shooting of an unarmed man, especially those of color, and not calling for help is completely sickening. People lose their lives everyday from various crimes, but there is no need for a police officers to continue to take the lives of an innocent, unarmed African American.

Police officers are meant to keep the peace, not disturb the peace. Now with this said, not all police officers are bad, and not all are taking lives. To those of you that do not do these horrendous acts, thank you for doing your job the right way.

A huge misunderstanding in the Black Lives Matter movement is those thinking I am saying that it’s just black lives that matter. It’s not because, truly, all lives matter. However it’s becoming more and more common that it is a black man, or woman, getting killed for “allegedly” being combative.

Some people do not know what the meaning of “Black Lives Matters” really is. It is meant to represent the African Americans being killed without any guns, knives, or any other weapons that could possibly hurt the officers.

It is not a movement of African Americans being racist by saying that the lives of white, Mexican, or other races do not matter. It is saying that Americans don’t see anything being done when it comes to a police officer killing an unarmed African American, and we are tired of it.

But blind eyes continue to be turned. For example, in February of 2016, 22 African Americans were killed by the police nationwide — with 41-percent being unarmed. This means every 32 hours of a month, an African American is killed, and nearly half of them are unarmed.

We want to see some kind of consequence given to the officer, or officers, that took place in the crime, because last time I checked, murder is still a crime.

 

Student Debt Reaches an Unsustainable Level

From school visits to applications, applying to colleges can be overwhelming. Perhaps the biggest issue? The cost of college and student debt. The tuition and fees for an average in-state four-year college costs approximately $9,410 a year. In-state four-year private colleges average about $32,410 per year. The prices are even higher for out-of-state colleges.

According to NBC News, student debt has risen in recent years and is now at $1.6 trillion nationwide. Tyler Colyer, a Jeffersonville High School counselor, says that many worry about the cost of college. “The cost of college is a huge concern for many students and families,” Colyer said. “Parents and students worry not only about the cost but also how they will afford it now or in the future if student loans are necessary.”

According to a report from CNBC.com, 84-percent of students that borrowed loans said that debt has affected their ability to save for retirement. Many people don’t pay off their loans until their 40s.

Kyle Sanders, former editor-in-chief of The Hyphen and a sophomore at Indiana University Southeast, said that he is concerned about money and that it even influenced his decision about the university he attends. “I decided to attend a local college to save money and am constantly thinking about how the debt I have will affect me years from now,” Sanders said.

Colyer advises students to start early when it comes to paying for college. “Get good grades and work on your standardized test scores because that means money,” he said. Colyer pointed out that scholarships are also essential. “Don’t write off applying for a scholarship because it’s only a few hundred dollars. Every penny counts!”

The Great Spirit Stick Controversy: Is it Rigged?

THE-UNDERSCORE

To get the answer to this question, we went straight to the source: Principal Julie Straight. She started by pointing out that the seniors don’t always win. For instance, at a pep rally last year, the seniors didn’t win the spirit stick, which resulted in “outrage and devastation” until they got it back.

“It isn’t rigged,” she clarified. “But I will say that if it’s a coin toss, that nod will go to the seniors. There is something to senior privilege. They have earned that. But … they have to earn it.”

Do you have a burning question about Jeff High history or traditions? Ask The Underscore and we’ll investigate for you. To submit an idea, talk to a Hyphen staff member or send an email to jeffhighhyphen@gmail.com

School Start Time: Is 7:45 Too Early For Teenagers?

In early November, as the nights get colder and the days get shorter, the sound of an alarm piercing through the darkness early in the morning can be quite alarming. According to sleepfoundation.org, teenagers need a minimum of 8½ hours of sleep — yet only 15 percent of teenagers get that much. 

Why not just go to bed earlier? According to sleepfoundation.org, teens have a hard time falling asleep anytime before 11 p.m. due to biological sleep patterns.

Sleep is as important as the air you breathe. It is also important for maintaining the stress teenagers face. So why does school begin so early at Jeff High — especially in comparison to other districts, including those where high schools start later than elementary schools? 

According to Greater Clark County Schools superintendent Mark Laughner, “One main reason the district chooses to start high schools before elementary schools is so that older siblings arrive home at the end of the school day prior to their younger siblings. We serve a lot of working parents and this provides them with additional support in the afternoon.” 

Jeffersonville High School sophomore Georgia Martin, who said she wakes up at 5 a.m. to get ready and catch her bus in time, thinks the start time should change. “I hate [the starting time], and I think it should be pushed back an hour,” Martin said. Getting more sleep isn’t the only reason. Martin added that her bus stop is a street over from her house, so she worries about safety walking to her bus stop in the dark. 

In spite of the complaints, the school district does not plan to push back that alarm clock anytime soon. “The district is not looking to change start/end times in the near future,” said Laughner.img_7197

Recent poll results from @thehyphennews on Instagram!!!!

 

Is College Needed?

Most children in school are constantly told the benefits of college and getting a college
degree. As generations of children are graduating thinking college is the only option, many jobs are being left open in manufacturing and skilled labor fields. It begs the question, is college the best decision for all students?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 69.1-percent of 2018 high school graduates attend a college or university. This number has stayed about the same (65 to 70-percent) for almost 15 years.

Many skilled labor employers are seeing the effect, Market Watch’s Jefferey Bartash notes that this is the “tightest labor market in decades forcing companies to pay up.” Many young people enter the workforce with a bachelor’s degree, yet not the technical experience to take on these high paying jobs.

College is also becoming increasingly expensive. According to Nitro College, a college financial service provider, the average student will acquire $37,172 in student debt. Nitro also states it take on average 19.7 years for student loans to be paid for a four year education.

The cost of college is also rising. Since 1971, the average cost of a public institution has gone from $8,730 to $21,370. Private institutions have also increased from $18,140 to $48,510 during the same time period. With the costs of college rising, and the increased pay for skilled trades and other careers not requiring a college degree, many high school students are seriously considering whether college is really the best path.

Despite this, college does have its economic benefits. On average, those with a high school degree make about $712 a week. For those with an associates degree, weekly pay averages $836. For those with a bachelor’s degree, it’s $1,173. Those with even further education range from $1,400-1,836 weekly on average. So there is clearly an economic advantage to attending college; however, the opportunity cost must be factored in, as well.

Many high schools are putting in place programs to get students on the path to success, even if that path doesn’t include college. For example Greater Clark County Schools’ adoption of the academies sets up many students up for specific training toward certain careers without a college education. At Jeffersonville High School and around the country, many are realizing that college isn’t always the answer.

What Do You Want More: Money or Happiness?

It isn’t uncommon to hear the saying, “Money can’t buy you happiness.”  Is this really true? We decided to ask readers of The Hyphen what they think. On an Instagram poll with 32 respondents, 25 said they would choose happiness over money, while the
other seven chose money. Some people say for a successful life you need both happiness and money. Stability is not just present in someone’s life, one way or the other.

Sophomore Claire Storz said, “I want happiness because that is the only thing money can’t buy. I’d rather be poor and happy than rich and sad.” Storz also noted that the whole ordeal is also situational. In fact some people who have an abundance of money can find happiness through donating to charities, or taking care of a family, adopting, running an organization to help real people, etc.

Money can only get you so many places, when you get to much of it, it can bring out the worst in you and the people you associate with. Once you have everything there is nothing to strive for, nor anything left to get. It can drive you insane knowing that you are just stuck in space, with a life controlled by what is in your bank account without a bit of happiness.

On the other hand, some people say that money does indeed create a sense of happiness. Sophomore Dustin Liston said, “I have a lot of great ideas that can bring others happiness but it requires a lot of money.”

With this statement he describes he wants to help others and that would bring
him happiness. Money is something people need to support themselves and others.
According to givingusa.org, in 2017 $390.05 billion was donated in just that year.  People who have a lot of money are big contributors to nonprofit organizations. It is said that giving to others will make you more happy, so through donation and assisting others you can bring yourself happiness.

In a life with happiness you could be poor and make the best out of your life. Strive daily to try to get somewhere to better your life. If you live a life where you do not love your job, it always feels like work. If you truly enjoy your job, you will never feel like you are at work a day in your life.

JHS Theatre to Present Alice in Wonderland November 8-10

This weekend the Jeffersonville High School Theatre Department will take audiences through the looking glass with three performances of Alice in Wonderland, a production based on Lewis Carroll’s classic story about dreaming and identity.

Shows will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, November 8 and Saturday, November 9. There will also be a 2 p.m. matinée on Sunday, November 10.

Tickets are $10 for Jeff High students and senior citizens. The general admission price for others is $15. The ticket price includes a tea party with the cast after the show.

JHS Theatre director Derrick Ledbetter describes the show as “free-wheeling, highly imaginative and fast-paced.”

The show stars Anna Lowe as Alice. Other cast members include Gavin Van Fleet, Joryn Burns, Jesse Crull, Becken Maddox, Madison Conway, Hannah Dickens, Cassie Hawkins, Kennedy Smith, Hailey Hughes, Claire Storz, Abby Napper, Alex Seifert, Katie Dorman, Lydia Church, and Nathaniel Garner.

Written by Chloey Trinkle

Opinion: The Flaw in FAFSA

The student aid application process has a fatal flaw: it presumes if parents CAN help with college costs that they WILL help with college costs.

Thinking about college can be extremely stressful. Not just the anxiety that comes with an unknown future, but something even more nerve wracking… money.

bellamadAs we all know, seniors or not, college can be very expensive. With scholarships, however, a lot of weight can be taken off your shoulders. But here’s the problem, how do you get scholarships if your parents make an above average amount of money? Most of the time, you don’t. And I’m sure you’re thinking, “Why would you need a scholarship if your parents make a lot of money?”

Well, not everyone whose parents make a decent amount of money actually gets help from their parents when it comes to paying for college. That seems to be the situation that a lot of students here at Jeffersonville High School are experiencing.

That little question concerning parent income included in scholarship applications assumes parents will aid financially with college, but that is not always an accurate assumption. Of course, they have scholarships for all different kinds of things that don’t require information about your parent’s yearly earnings.

If you’re a senior, I’m sure you’ve heard of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This can be a big help, but only if you qualify. Part of the application asks you what your parents’ annual income is, which is the dreaded question for those whose parents are well-off.

No one ever complains that their parents “make too much money” until it comes to paying for college. It practically takes you out of the running for these types of things, and that is absolutely awful if you’re one of those students whose parents aren’t contributing.

According to the Indiana Financial Aid and Activity Program Report from the 2013-2014 school year, “…financial need is equal to the cost of tuition and fees minus the expected contribution of the student and his or her family.” This sounds great, truly need-based, but I have yet to run into a scholarship application that asks for income as well as how much support you are receiving from your parents financially.

As reported by the 2017 Indiana College Readiness Report, out of the 456 students that graduated from Jeff High in 2017, only 40 of those students were 21st century scholars. The 21st century scholarship program offers Indiana students a chance to get up to four years of fully paid tuition at multiple Indiana colleges. However, this only applies to students whose family income does not exceed $45,000 (for a family of 4). Who says those parents aren’t providing more financial help than parents who make more than that?

People tend to expect that when your parents make a lot of money, you don’t have to worry about college debt – but that’s not really how it works. Bigger paychecks tend to mean bigger bills. This means that even parents that make a lot of money don’t have enough to save for their children’s college tuition by the time all the bills have been paid.

What can we do? We could just make college kids rack up more and more student debt over the years, or we could get rid of that sickening question and give scholarships based on actual need, not assumed need.

Written by Kristen Jacobs

Preventing Suicide: Avoidance Isn’t the Answer

Suicide is a raw topic that most people like to avoid. The ones trapped by suicidal thoughts often feel alone and don’t talk about their feelings. People who were left behind after a loved one’s suicide are left with questions and pain, often causing them to stay quiet. Those without experience with the heartbreaking topic don’t know how to talk about it.  But the idea of avoiding conversations about suicide and everything related can be deadly, especially since according to the National Institute of Mental Health, suicide is the second leading cause of death in teenagers and 4,969 of those deaths were Indiana residents. 

Suicide is preventable, so how do we prevent it?  

Gage Donohue, coordinator of a Survivors of Suicide Support group who lost his 19-year-old daughter (a Jeff High graduate) to suicide, says, “We can reduce the suicide rate by encouraging people to ask for help when they need it, to educate the public about the warning signs and risk factors and let people know there are a lot of people willing to help.” 

According to Donohue, one way to prevent suicide is simply looking for signs in your friends and peers. Donohue says, “Listen to what people are saying when they are talking to you, look in their eyes, watch the body language and ask questions.  Put down your phone and really listen. Do not be afraid to ask, ‘Are you thinking about suicide?’ You will not put the idea in their head if it is not already there.” In addition to offering support, Donohue says you should encourage them to contact the Suicide Prevention Hotline or a health care professional right away.

Donohue also says that is important not to degrade or dismiss someone’s feelings or thoughts. He says that people with suicidal thoughts or depression are not weak. “People do not really want to die, they just want the mental or physical pain to end.”

Most importantly, if you feel yourself having these destructive thoughts or feelings, talk to someone. Tell your parents, your friends, a doctor, or a trusted adult. Remember that you are not alone and millions of people feel the same way. You are worthy of life and everything it holds. 

Suicide Prevention Hotline:
Call 1-800-273-8255 OR
Text CONNECT to 741741

Speaking of Labels…What’s the Q+ About?

For many years, people used the term “LGBT” to describe the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual
and Transgender community. In recent years, you might have noticed a new addition at the end: “Q+”. The Q+ is meant to be more inclusive of people who identify with something that’s not in the traditional LGBT framework (such as Asexual
and Pansexual).

While it might not seem like a big deal, the distinction is important to many people —
and has actually become a hotly debated issue. A Jeff High student who wanted to be anonymous for this story says the Q+ isn’t needed: “Trans covers FTM (female to male), MTF (male to female), and non-binary (the feeling of being genderless). Lesbian and Gay cover that, and Bi covers Pan so that’s about it.”

On the other side is Amber Walker, a Jeff High student who prefers the Q+ addition because “Personally, I feel that there is a whole spectrum of possibilities that don’t fit into just four labels.”

On a recent Instagram poll, the votes for the acronym LGBT was just one person while the votes for LGBTQ+ were 17 people. Most of those polled were from the area, but some were not. An LGBTQ+ community member who voted is from a country where being a part of the community is looked down upon and it is illegal to attend Pride festivals and have samesex marriage without punishment.

Is this debate pointless? While representation is important, the LGBTQ+ community, whether you believe in the Q+ or not, is an accepting community for those of different sexualities and genders. Even though LGBTQ+ won our poll, your opinion is your opinion as long as you aren’t hurting anyone with it.