Cover Story: Jeff High’s Foreign Exchange Students Weigh in on Life in the U.S.

What would you pack if you could only take one suitcase to last you a whole year? A whole year without seeing your mom or dad. A whole year without sleeping in your own bed or petting your family dog. A whole year of new sights and sounds and sensations. A whole year in an unknown country. For Jeff High’s five foreign exchange students, this is their reality.

Their names are Marlene, Louis, and Peter (who are all from Germany), as well as Giovanni (who is from Italy) and Kamilla (who is from Russia). Amongst themselves there are many differences, from the way they were raised to the traditions of their families, but one thing they all have in common is the foreign exchange program.

The foreign exchange program allows students from all over the world to experience global interaction and travel, as well as the host of said exchange students to learn from their non-native guest.

“America is the dream country,” said Kamilla on why she wanted to come to America. She wanted to learn English and thought coming to a new place would be interesting. Marlene also agreed with her on this statement saying everyone wants to speak English and she wishes to become fluent.

Giovanni said there’s even an English speaking club at his school back in Italy. The club’s goal is to help students get their PET, which is a certificate of English fluency. He also said America has lived up to his expectations.

“Everything here is bigger. There are roads for no reason, and fast food everywhere.” said Giovanni. Louis stated Jeff High is a much bigger building then his school building back in Germany.

“Our number of students is the same – give or take, around 2,000 – but our school is probably 10 times smaller than Jeff High,” said Giovanni on his school size. He said his school has no cafeteria, pools, sports fields or even lockers. “I love my locker, even if it is annoying that we have to carry around our stuff,” said Marlene, whose school is also without lockers. Marlene also said school in the United States is much easier than school overseas. Every other exchange student agreed.

For Peter, Jeff High’s daily seven periods are practically effortless to him, considering he takes 16 classes a week back home. In Germany, his homework is never assigned nor taken for a grade, rather it is simply just provided as a reference. In order for him to succeed on his exams, he has to study from wanting to rather that having to.

All the exchange students agree that homework from their home countries is harder than the homework here. Kamilla said some of her classes in Russia only meet once a week, so when they do have class most of the time is spent taking a test. All the learning is left for her to on her own.

Some of them said students in their home country stay together the entire day and go from class to class together. For Kamilla, she will to stay with the same classmates from her kindergarten class until she graduates. In Russia, high school students only study 11 years rather than 12.

All of their schools have no school sports teams either. Louis, who plays tennis, is part of a club sport rather than a school team in Germany. Club sports only practice about twice a week rather than usual 5 for school teams here in America.

Many of the exchange students commented that sports are a much bigger deal to Americans. “One of the stereotypes about America is the sports,” said Marlene.

One of the things she has enjoyed most about her time here in the United States was going to all of the football games in the fall, even if she had no idea how the game worked. She is planning on going to all of basketball games this winter. Marlene also hopes to keep in contact with the friends she’s made here at Jeff.

Kamilla, who will be leaving at the end of this semester, is sad she has to go. “I don’t know if I will ever see them again, and although it has been a short time, I am sad to go,” she said about leaving friends in the United States.

 

Written by Sophie Rousseau

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.

Download PDF

PDFs: Election 2018

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

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

Download PDF

MULTIMEDIA: JHS’ Baseball Brotherhood

story by Tristan Jackson

video by Bella Bungcayao, Tristan Jackson and Kyle Tincher

Four brothers. One bond.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MULTIMEDIA: Dogs Helping Heroes

project by Ali Apman, Kristen Jacobs and Adley McMahel

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

MULTIMEDIA: Net up or Heads up

video by Emma Ellis & Haylee Hedrick

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

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

MULTIMEDIA: Jojo Spio’s Journey to JHS

— STORY BELOW VIDEO —

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

story by Tomi Clark & Greta Reel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeffersonville vs. Floyd Central Boys Basketball Preview

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

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

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

Transitions: the story of Vic Tomes

story by Kristen Jacobs

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

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

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

Vic is just the same.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here 2 Stay?

story by Carlos Molina 

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

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

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

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

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

image1

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.

img_3373-2

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.

 

img_3371-1

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.

 

Chess: The Sport of Mind

emmanuel-chess

There are 400 different openings that are possible at the start of a game of chess. Calculating that first move intelligently and with close precision is crucial. All members on the team use different strategies to beat their opponent. Though it may not seem straining, moving pieces across a checkered black-and-white board takes mental strength, high concentration and rigorous training. So while chess does not require the physical endurance of activities like basketball, soccer or swimming, it still qualifies as a sport – a sport of the mind. Chess fits within the same category as debate, speedcubing (racing to solve a Rubik’s Cube) and backgammon.

Calculating each move with precision “To the T” within a controlled amount of time, like a pre-planned quarter of a sporting event, makes the challenge of the game even harder. All the possible moves must be determined for the player to decipher which move has the most strategic advantages. Then they must try to presume what their opponent will do next and anticipate the result, hopefully toward to their personal victory. “We train, putting in hours of [training] like any athletic sport, and we compete,” coach Paul Washington said. “The talent within the team determines the outcome. It takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at anything you do in life. Chess is no different.”

Members of a chess team are given a rank and they compete against other players locally, regionally and nationally to receive points. Wins and losses determine how highly ranked the chess player goes.

Junior Emmanuel Simmons is the highest-ranked player at Jeff High and is the team captain. When a good move becomes apparent, there is a physical reaction, he says: “My heart starts beating out of my chest, my ears start ringing, I’m looking at the move thinking, ‘This is it. This is it.’”

Similar to tennis, each win counts as a point for the individual and accumulates to either a win or a loss for the team as an entirety. The stress of a match is simulated within the team’s training.

“The heart is a muscle and if adrenaline is pumping then I’m working out a muscle,” said coach Anthony Willis. “To do that, we have trainings that we do here, drills that we put these kids through. If you lose, you lose for your entire team to get their adrenaline flying … Just like that guy playing football calling the plays, he reads the defense and puts his people in the best position to execute the play.”

Whether it gets recognized as a sport locally or not, chess has been recognized by the International Olympic Committee as a sport since 2000. The chess team at Jeff High illustrates why chess requires a level of training and focus like other athletic endeavors.

 

Written by Haylee Hedrick

Why Should You Care About Class Size?

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As a student, you might not think about class size very much. However, it is a topic that teachers discuss often and, in some cases, disagree about. This topic is disputed because most teachers like to have smaller classes, while others like to have bigger classes.

Since our school has so many students, classes are typically pretty large, usually ranging from 30 to 35 people in each class. However, some teachers can’t decide if they prefer bigger or smaller classes. This is a common dilemma for foreign language teachers, in particular. Aude Johnson, one of the French teachers, faces this problem.

“On one hand, I like smaller classes because I can have more one-on-one time with the students,” said Johnson. “On the other hand, when it comes to presenting, I find that students in bigger classes perform a lot better than students in smaller classes.” However, teachers who teach the common core classes such as Language Arts generally prefer smaller classes ranging from about 20 to 25 students. For example, Carolyn Simpson, a 10th grade Language Arts teacher, agrees that smaller classes are the way to go.

“I definitely prefer smaller classes because I can have more one-on-one time with my students,” said Simpson. “Also, students in smaller classes typically have better grades because of that extra one-on-one time.”

Although the teacher’s opinions on class size are very important, the students’ opinions are just as important, if not more so. Students’ education is very important and should be prioritized. When students feel as though they aren’t catching on as fast as others, they need that extra help from the teachers.

“Anything over 30 makes it harder for teachers to control the class and for students to learn effectively due to distraction,” said Evelyn Minton, sophomore.

All in all, while class size is a very debated topic among teachers, it should be an important topic for students, as well. Class size not only affects how students learn, but it also affects students’ grades. In the bigger picture, this one topic affects students now and well in to the future.

 

Written by Mattie Blanton and Kayleigh Gernand

Photo by Joselen Lopez

How Does Social Media Affect Your Mental Health?

You live in a pretend world. Viewing fake people in fake places with all of their fake possessions. Sure you have followers, sure you have “friends,” but are you really happy? Most people think Yeah, I’m Happy, but social media can affect your mental health more than you think.

According to a Pew Research Center study, 92 percent of teens claim to go online at least once a day, and 24 percent say they are online almost nonstop. The statistics are from 2015 and I can only assume these numbers have increased in the past three years. So, here’s my question: how much does this affect your pursuit of happiness?

Worrying about the amount of “friends” you have or the amount of likes you get can impact you more than you think. Not only does social media have emotional consequences, but it can influence what you eat, how much you eat and how often you choose to go to the gym. These things can cause physical problems, not just emotional problems. If you’re under eating and over-exercising (yes, that is a real thing) just to impress your followers, it can generate physical health issues.

Cyberbullying is another big problem that comes with social media. Not being the “perfect weight,” not wearing the “right clothes,” and/or not having all the right materialistic things are only a few situations that could result in cyberbullying. People can be mean. I’m just going to put that out there. Some will criticize you for things that may not even be true, but that’s just the way the world works. I’m not saying that cyberbullying is okay; that’s not at all what I’m implying. What I am trying to say is that you can’t expect for things to be perfect. And, if you are getting bullied, in person or not, you should definitely talk to a trusted adult. Whether that be a teacher, counselor or parent, they can most likely help you.

Growing up without social media hasn’t been super easy, which seemingly contradicts the purpose of this entire article; however, that actually helps my case. I don’t connect with people in the same ways as everyone else does. I tend to feel left out when I don’t see “that picture” or “that tweet” or don’t get “that invitation.” Just as having social media can cause negative feelings, not having social media can degrade your self-esteem too. This shows how much these apps have changed people throughout the last decade. If I can feel uncomfortable just because I am forced to have physical conversations, that tells you that some changes really need to be made.

What can you do to alter the way social media influences you? First I would suggest a cleanse. Although I said that not having social can be negative, I still think that you should try to go a couple days or maybe even a week or two without using any of your social media. It may end up becoming something that you make permanent. If you can’t stomach dropping Snapchat, however, you need to remember that whatever you post it will be out there forever. You don’t need to change who you are to fit in. If you are posting things that are even the slightest bit inappropriate just because everyone else is doing it, that can really come back to haunt you. Everything you put on the internet can be saved by anyone who sees it, even if it gets deleted.

 

Written by Kristen Jacobs

Is it Unfair? Students and Staff Sound Off on the Dress Code

Dress code has been a hotly debated topic for as long as I can remember. Teachers, peers, administrators and more all have different expectations of what students should and can wear to school.

There are even differences among dress codes in schools in our area. For example, New Albany-Floyd County Schools have a casual dress code and it isn’t even strongly enforced. They can show skin above the knee, have rips in their jeans, show shoulders and more.

Our dress code at Jeff High is very strict, but there are many people who say that it is somewhat sexist, as well. While it doesn’t explicitly show, everyone knows that our dress code affects girls more than boys. Guys can wear shorts a few inches above the knee, but if a girl wears a skirt or dress the same length, they get punished.

When asked if our dress code is more unfair to girls than guys, these are some responses from students and staff at Jeff High:

“I would agree that the dress code is more unfair to girls than guys. Guys can get away with a little bit more when it comes to dress code, because one would think they don’t have as much to cover up as girls do.”
– Natalie Bronson, science teacher and student council sponsor

“Absolutely. Guys violate dress code all the time and nothing gets said to them because they are guys, when girls barely break dress code by the slightest bit, we get in trouble.”
– Tiara Jones, sophomore

“Yeah, there’s more rules for girls compared to boys. I’ve been dress coded for having a hole in my jeans above my knee and a boy could have a hole in the same place and not have anything happen.”
– Elliot Mays, freshman

“Yes, guys have the ability to wear clothes that kind of let you breathe more than girls do based on our current dress code. Depending on the weather and circumstances, girls have it a lot harder.”
– Harrison Paul, senior

“Girls have it harder because guys don’t have that problem, really, or I haven’t at least. A lot of girls clothes break dress code and that’s just how they’re made. So it’s kind of unfair that they buy clothes and can’t wear them.”
– Hunter Milam, junior

 

Written by Joselen Lopez

Basketball, Swimming and Wrestling Season Previews

Girls Basketball

The Lady Devils return to the court this season with many returning players – including senior Tori Handley and juniors Nan Garcia and Kelcie James – as well as returning coach Mike Warren. Based on early successes, the team looks poised for a sectional title this year. The Lady Devils have scored 60 or more points in games that they have won this year and look to continue their high-scoring streak as the season goes on.

The Lady Devils started the season off by defeating the 16th-ranked North Harrison Cougars 66-44. “It was a big win for us after being so close in previous years,” said team captain Tori Handley.

The sectional title is particularly important for the team this year, since it was taken from their grasp by a late, game-winning shot in last season’s sectional match-up against Bedford North Lawrence. “It was a terrible feeling, but we all know our roles and what we need to do to succeed as a team,” said Handley.

Written by Braxton Troutman

Boys Basketball

Every November, if a high school basketball team has lost a lot of senior talent, people call it a “rebuilding year.” Although Jeff High lost several seniors from last year’s strong team, not much rebuilding is needed this year. In fact, the 2018-2019 Jeffersonville Boys Varsity Basketball team, under the direction of coach Joe Luce, is poised for an exciting and successful season.

For returning junior starter Trè Coleman, this season he will have to take the court without the experience of his brother Jaden Coleman and the leadership of Bailey Falkenstein, whom they lost to graduation. Coleman said he is “expecting a great season and a good run when it comes to sectionals.” The Red Devils will have eight returning players on their Varsity bench and Coleman feels like the 2019 Seymour Sectionals is a wide-open playing field. “With all our returning talent, we should consistently get better during the season and be competing for a sectional title in March.”

Written by Hannah Thibideau

Swimming

The Jeff High team is diving into another season for boys and girls swimming by getting back to their routines: morning practices, workouts, and vigorous afternoons in the pool. Their coach, Mike Pepa, couldn’t be happier with the work ethic on his team. “It’s difficult. We put in a lot of hours, probably the most hours of any team in the school,” Pepa said. “But it’s a lot of fun and good camaraderie. You’re part of one of the most successful teams in the school if you join, but it takes a heck of a commitment.”

To get to their level of expertise in their sport, they don’t take the season lightly. When the end of October comes around, the girls team starts warming up. “I’m really excited to have a great season with the girls, everyone is so fantastic and sweet,” senior Haley Vescelus said, “ we have a strong team and I’ll be sad when it’s over.”

Starting the season off right, the girls won against Bedford North Lawrence in their first meet. The boys team season starts two weeks after the girls, by the beginning of November. Both teams are in the water working to better the team and themselves.

Last year’s state qualifier, Kameron Case, has high hopes for his senior year swimming. He plans to continue his career in the pool in college. “I’m looking forward to this season,” Case said, “ I hope this year will better prepare me for college level competition.”

While the team practices for hours and days, all of that work goes toward a smaller, yet larger, goal: shaving off mere seconds (or fractions of seconds) from their time on meet days. A swimmer must rely on their own strength and put those hours of training into trying to beat competitors on the clock. “You’re always trying to beat your best time,” Pepa said. “You’re not just benefiting the team but improving yourself as well.”

Written by Haylee Hedrick

Wrestling

The Jeffersonville High School Wrestling team is coming off yet another successful season. After a phenomenal 2016-2017 season, where the team qualified 14/14 Wrestlers to Regionals, the current 2018 team has qualified 13/14 wrestlers last season. “Team 60” also had 11 sectional champions.

As the wrestlers succeed on the mat, the team also gets it done in the classroom. Last year, there were six Academic All-State wrestlers, and the team also had the top two team GPAs in the state for the past three years.

With Coach Struck coming off of his sixth sectional championship, he looks forward to the new season. “My goals only change slightly from year to year. But our vision stays the same,” he said. “My goal is to make it to state, national and international championships, but the purpose of our program is to inspire our athletes to be the best versions of themselves they can be.”

Despite losing a class of wrestlers to college, there is still a major upside for the new and improved squad. Senior wrestler Isaac Hall says, “I feel we have a really strong lineup and I think it’s going to be a shock to everyone because of how many first year varsity wrestlers we have. They just haven’t had their time to shine and I think they are going to show out in a big way this year.”

Written by Jack Ellis

Boys Basketball Photo by Kyle Tincher
Swimming and Girls Basketball Photos by Amber Rowe
Wrestling Photo Submitted

Academy System Continues to Grow at Jeff High

This school year (2018-19), Greater Clark County Schools started a new system of learning called the Academies of Greater Clark. The Academies encourage students to pick a pathway that goes along with their career choice in order to focus on the future. The Academies at Jeffersonville High School include Health Services, Public Service, Engineering and Manufacturing, and Business and Entrepreneurship. Freshmen start out in the Freshmen Academy. The question is: how successful have the Academies been so far and how are they changing Jeffersonville High School?

Jeff High Principal Julie Straight believes that the Academies have gone well and that students will benefit from them. “We have created small schools in a large school,” Straight said. “We should not have as many students slipping through cracks or getting too far behind without a team of teachers that are talking about ‘What can we do?’ and hopefully intervene, which is definitely a benefit.”

Each Academy has its own principal and counselor, along with teachers in that pathway to help students explore the career that they may want to pursue in the future. This also applies to the Freshman Academy.

Jan Haire, the Freshman Academy counselor, talked about the benefits that freshmen are receiving from the program. “There are three teams of core teachers who share the same students. Those teachers meet every week with Mrs. Hall (the Freshman Academy principal) and me and we discuss what students are doing well and which ones need extra support. I feel like we know the students better with the Freshman Academy,” Haire said.

Straight says that current sophomores will the first to truly experience the benefits of the Academies, as they will be the first class to have three years in a row of their career interest. However, she notes that even upperclassmen will benefit from the program. “Embrace what opportunities there are,” Straight said. “At Jeff High, we still have more opportunities to explore your interest for your future than any other high school in the area. We have welding here … we have Radio/TV, we have Journalism, our arts.” Straight also noted that students have been able to go on focused field trips and get real-world experience.“We have some seniors in internships, so there’s some good things happening,” Straight said.

Sophomore Karina Hernandez recognizes the benefits of the Academies, but said the Academies still need some improvements. “Students can now be guided in taking the classes that they will actually use in their career choice,” Hernandez said. “However, they could be a bit more organized, but I get (that) it’s the first year they have done this.”

However, freshman November Shawler disagrees with the mission of the Academies. “Personally, I think that Academies are unnecessary pressure to chose the career you want when you are still a child,” Shawler said. “A career I think is good for me sophomore year perhaps won’t fit my interests senior year. And the fact that you can only change it once. What happens if you want to switch twice, and you are forced to have the credentials of a separate field entirely?”

For those who may worry that the Academies will completely change Jeff High, Straight reassured them. “(The) Academies don’t change everything in the school,” she said. “We’re still a high school and all the classes are the same. But we hope that as we keep moving and getting deeper in our transformation, that there is more of a thread that may run through core classes of your Academy that helps really keep interest and make it more engaging.”

 

Written by Greta Reel

 

Welcome the New Teachers at Jeff High

Exchange students, transfer students and freshmen aren’t the only new faces at Jeff High this year. We also welcomed several new teachers.

The Hyphen asked some of the new staff members for their thoughts on teaching. Here’s what they said:

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Ms. Stevens, Special Education
“No matter what accomplishments you achieve, somebody helped you.”

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Mr. Russell, Special Education
“The important thing is not so much that every child should be taught. It’s that every student should be allowed to learn.”

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Mr. Stock, Social Studies
“The greatest use of a life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.”

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Mr. Manley, ROTC
“When all else fails, march with your head high.”

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Ms. Esarey, Science
“When I was in the second grade I realized education can change your entire life. Now I’m honored to change someone else.”

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Mr. Glesing, Social Studies and PE
“Teaching kids to count is fine, but teaching them what counts is the best.”

Written by Keandre Campbell

Glesing Photo by Antonio Thompson

All Other Photos by LifeTouch

Editorial: Benefits of the Ivy Tech Scholarship Reach Far Beyond Jeffersonville High School

The city of Jeffersonville has created the life-changing promise of a free college education for Jeff High graduates. Mayor Mike Moore and Redevelopment Commission members joined with Jeff High representatives on November 28, 2018, to commit $150,000 to the promise of free college tuition.

Despite some concerns from the community, this money is not coming from taxpaying citizens. “The funding is tax money generated by new business,” Principal Julie Straight said, “so it’s not coming out of our pockets; it’s coming out of new businesses that are generating income they’re putting back into the community through this TIF tax. That [income] goes into the Redevelopment Commission to decide how they use that money to help build up our community to further support business development.”

The benefits of this program will reach far beyond the students who qualify for scholarships. Making post-secondary education more affordable will benefit our city and our region, as well. We should expect to see business flourish now that the number of college-educated Jeff High graduates is expected to jump exponentially. The program will open doors for job opportunities and entrepreneurship. It could even attract transfers to the city. Jeffersonville’s Promise is more than a scholarship program. It’s a dramatic way to shed the reputation of “Dirty J” and embrace a bright new future.

Written by Bella Bungcayao

JHS Staff Honored for Excellence in High School Journalism

The Jeffersonville High School newspaper and yearbook have a long history of award-winning journalism. We recently added even more accolades to our collection at the 2018 IU Southeast High School Media Day.

The Hyphen newspaper and its staff members received the following News Organization Awards for Division 1 (Schools with more than 1,000 students):

First Place

  • Best Column – Chloe Treat
  • Best Feature Photo – Caleb Sorrells
  • Best Multimedia Package – Tristan Jackson, Bella Bungcayao and Kyle Tincher
  • Best Review – Bella Bungcayao

Second Place

  • Best Front-page Design

Third Place

  • Division 1 News Organization of the Year
  • Best Overall Design in One Issue
  • Best Unsigned, Staff Editorial
  • Best News/Editorial Graphics – Nicole Gomez

 

In addition, the 2018 Jeffersonville High School yearbook, The Topic, received several awards for Division 1 (schools with more than 1,000 students):

First Place

  • Cover
  • Opening Section
  • Photography

Second Place

  • Advertising
  • Coverage of Student Life

Third Place

  • Division 1 Yearbook of the Year
  • Copy
  • Coverage of Academics
  • Design
  • Sports Coverage

Hyphen and Topic staff members attend IUS Media Day