Jeff High’s Inclusive Clubs

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Our clubs display and celebrate the diverse student body here at Jeffersonville High School

Jeffersonville High School’s student body is very diverse and full of students from different cultural backgrounds, life situations and orientations. In response to the diversity of our student body Jeff High has clubs here that celebrate the diversity of our school.

For the Culture
For the Culture is a club here at Jeff High that is all about diversity and inclusiveness. During their meetings they do activities such as rap contests and discuss a variety of topics from the community’s relationship with police to more serious topics such as the death penalty.

The club meets every other Wednesday after school in C222. For the Culture also does community service, college visits, and field trips to places like the Muhammad Ali Center.

“Our main goal for the club is to provide an opportunity for association with other students of color that are focused on school and community service,” said club sponsor Suzanne Siebert.

Buddy Up
Buddy Up is a club in which students group up with special needs students or buddies. Each buddy works in a group with a few other students, the students meet with their buddies on Wednesdays during impact. The club also occasionally has after school parties.

“In Buddy Up we meet with our buddies and just hang out with them. We do games, food, parties, and sometimes work on school stuff,” said Freshman Aaliyah Adams.

LGBT Club
“We’re all human.” That’s the mission statement of the LGBT club at Jeffersonville High School. According to Andrew Weiss, who is president of the club, its purpose is simple: to form a support group for LGBT students and help them learn the history of their community. Weiss works hard to make each meeting a positive experience for the club’s members. That positivity comes through and it’s apparent that many students look forward to coming, such as freshman Jade Worrall.

“I love to surround myself with happy and accepting people,” said Worrall. “It’s a very positive and fun environment.”

Every Friday the group holds open meetings in the media center or cafeteria. Those who are not necessarily a part of the LGBT community are welcome as well, the group accepts all.

“We will be here to talk if you have questions or if you are feeling confused about your sexuality,” Weiss said. “No one should feel scared. They can come and talk to me or an adult about their problem and we’ll try to help.”

Weiss understands what it’s like to be harassed due to your sexuality or to not feel accepted as does freshman member Marni Scholl. “I feel like a lot of people don’t accept but I do have friends who do. I feel like it is 50/50 when it comes to people who accept or don’t accept,” Scholl said. The group provides a safe space for people to get together and be who they are. They want to make students aware that being yourself is absolutely okay and that individuality is encouraged.

“I want to help raise awareness about not only the club but about how sexuality is a completely normal thing,” freshman Amber Walker said.

Written by Haylee Hedrick and Meredith Shepherd

Photos by Dezmond Boyd

Opinion: The Power of a Familiar Face

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Every student deserves to see someone they can relate to in a position of authority

Every day we wake up to go to the same place, for the same amount of time, with the same people. Though we have many things in common as Jeff High students, we are all different. We have different priorities, motivations and backgrounds. You may not have thought about it this way, but finding someone who shares your background could help you learn.

According to the Indiana Department of Education, in the 2016-17 school year there were 92.3 percent white teachers to 7.8 percent of non-white teachers at Jeffersonville High School.* While the student body has a great deal of diversity, the teaching staff does not. This may be what is making it hard for students to engage academically. If students don’t see someone who looks like them in power, it’s hard for them to imagine themselves in that position.

Junior Ananda Brooks says that when she has a teacher who has a similar background, “I can relate and be motivated more. If they can do it coming from where I do, then I know I can too,” she said.

Each student has a different range of strengths in certain areas. Some can be based on their environment and how they were brought up. Others can be strictly social based. Some teachers are willing to modify the way they teach to the way some students learn. On the other hand, adapting their teaching style is out of the question for some teachers; students who struggle in the classroom that know this are willing just to give up. Most students just want their teachers to encourage them.

Lanna Tate, a junior, spoke on how one of her predominantly white teachers did not encourage her to strive for a higher semester grade after she had asked if there was anything she could do to raise it. Despite that one teacher, she had a staff member of color guide her as a student. “He gave me a lot of advice and helped me make smart decisions in school and out,” said Tate.

Schools should provide teachers who can properly engage students with the same ethnicity or background because not all students are the same. Every student deserves to see someone they can relate to in a position of authority. Give the chance for JHS students to grow feeling empowered in their academics. All students may not remember the knowledge, but we choose to remember the individuals who taught us.

Written by Alanna Groves

Photo by Caleb Sorrells

My View: Disabled People Need Your Help, But Not The Kind You’re Thinking Of

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There are ordinary, everyday actions that people often don’t think about. Such as the ability to move your arms, legs, see and hear.

Now, pick one of those and think about what life would be like without it. For example, imagine you couldn’t walk very well, or not at all. Say you want to meet up with friends at a restaurant, and when you get there a flight of stairs stands between you and the entrance. Or what if you couldn’t see well and they have no enlarged menus?

This is what life is like every day for a person with a disability, including myself.

I was born at 28 weeks and weighed three pounds and a quarter of an ounce at birth. As a result of being so early, I have brain damage that causes me to have epilepsy, auditory neuropathy (a type of hearing loss) and cerebral palsy in my legs. But the point of this column is not to tell my life story. It is to talk about how disabled people are a minority and why the lack of accessibility is a problem.

The Americans With Disabilities Act was signed into law in 1990 by former president George H.W. Bush. The five titles of the ADA cover employment, state and local government, public accommodations, telecommunications and miscellaneous provisions. Under this law, disabled people supposedly should not have to encounter many barriers in life. Right?

In 2017, there were an estimated 320 million Americans with a disability, or approximately 12.7 percent of the population. Despite this huge number of disabled people, there is still discrimination and lack of accessibility nearly 29 years after the ADA was made a law.

Bonny Folz, a physical therapist at the Kids Center for Pediatric Therapies in Louisville, Ky., has practiced for more than 30 years. Over this time period, she said, “I feel that many positive things have happened, especially within our physical structures. However, I continue to see greater limitations in how we as individuals look at those who may appear, sound or move differently from ourselves or how we feel the norm is.”

Today’s society lacks the understanding and accommodations needed for people who are different – those who don’t fit what they see as the norm. It’s a reminder that not all people see disabled people as equal, or even as people. Unfortunately, the president is among those.

During a campaign rally in 2016, now president Donald Trump mocked the arm movements of a disabled New York Times reporter. Also, in 2018, some found his comments on the Paralympics offensive. He said, “it’s a little tough to watch too much, but I watched as much as I could.” How can discrimination get better for people with disabilities when our own president makes fun of disabled people? Society needs to learn to not judge people based on first impressions of how they talk, walk or look.

For example, a deaf woman named Amanda Koller recently told NPR about her struggles to get a job despite the fact that she’s working on her second master’s degree. She described how potential employers got frustrated with her needs and impatient while interviewing her.

How is this okay? An extremely smart, well-educated woman can’t get a job because employers simply get frustrated? This might seem like a rare occurrence, but a statistic provided by NPR showed that less than 40 percent of deaf people work full time.

In a USA Today article published on Jan. 8, a paraplegic named Tyler Schilhabel shared how lack of accessibility nearly ruined his honeymoon trip. On the first flight, he had to be carried off a plane by a flight attendant to ensure that he made his next flight on time. On his return trip, the plane didn’t have the aisle chair he requested, so he had to scoot down to the very back of the plane on the floor to reach his seat.

This is not right and something needs to change. All disabled people want to be is independent, and when we’re forced into situations that put us on the spot it’s humiliating and demeaning.

We have the ADA for a good reason, but society hasn’t caught up. We should be able to get jobs. We should be able to get on an airplane. We should be able to go out with friends and not worry about how we’re going to read the menu, or get into the building.

There needs to be change to prevent situations like those of Koller and Schilhabel. Even if you are not disabled, you can be an advocate for change.

“The environment will never be totally barrier free, but our eyes can be,” Folz said. “We all need to see the worth of those around us, no matter if they talk differently, (or) move differently….We all have strengths. We need to point those out, not distinguish.”

Written by Greta Reel

Photo by Kyle Tincher

Opposing Views: Should We Build the Border Wall?

JHS students and staff weigh in on the pros and cons of President Trump’s plan for securing the border with Mexico

“I am against the wall. Statistics show we don’t need the wall and if we get a wall it won’t do the things Trump says it will.”
– Jojo Spio, Senior

“I am for the wall because we do need to protect our borders. Every other country in the world protects their borders so I don’t see why we can’t. Should we let immigrants in and out? Yes, but it has to be according to proper procedures.”
– Mr. Dench, Radio and TV Teacher

“I am against it because I feel like the money that could go to the wall could go towards many other things that could be way more beneficial for the country. For example, Flint Michigan still doesn’t have clean water. Why would we spend so much money on a wall, when we could spend money on getting citizens clean water?”
– Jaleigh Brown, Sophomore

“I’m for the wall. It seems like a pretty obvious solution to me. If you want to stop people from coming in, you put a barrier in front of them.”
– Brennan Zastawny, Senior

“America was founded on the idea that it was for immigrants. It was founded by immigrants, for immigrants, and for people who needed a safe place. And if you really want to get technical, the first illegal immigrants showed up in 1492 with Christopher Columbus. The wall won’t stop illegal immigration.”
– Mr. Henderson, English Teacher

“In my opinion the wall isn’t a bad solution to immigration, but it’s not perfect either. But bottom line is eventually something needs to be done and the wall seems like a fitting solution to the problem.”
– Lex Hawkins, Junior

Written by Joselen Lopez, Mattie Blanton, and Sophie Rousseau

More to the Story: Q&A With GCCS Board Members

What is your goal for the upcoming year?
Janelle Fitzpatrick: A place for students to learn in and have no limits on their future … a place where educators want to work … [to] move forward with the Academy and Pathway system, as well as listen to the concerns of the people (teachers, students, parents) and address them. Also, look at each school individually. They aren’t all the same, and deal with issues at each individual one. I want more people to feel as though they can share their concerns and be listened to – students, teachers, anyone wanting to be heard on a certain subject.

John Buckwalter: I am honored to be a board member and to move in a forward motion. I’m excited to collaborate with the community and it is very critical to move forward to do the best for GCCS.

Milton Clayton: For 2019, we will be monitoring the downtown school building and securing a temporary interim superintendent until we get one in place for the long run.

Which is better for our new superintendent: someone from our area or an outsider?

John Buckwalter: We need fresh eyes to address these topics and issues and someone who is ready to move forward and not focus on the past.

Milton Clayton: You’re not going to make everyone happy, but we’ll make the best educated decision to benefit GCCS. I’m happy to work with the new members and to welcome them, as well as new faces and perspectives, to the board. We cannot limit our options when it comes to getting a new superintendent.

Katie Hutchison: Someone from this area would be someone from inside the community and knows the little sub-communities as well as the history behind the area, and would probably be here to stay. Someone that isn’t from around here might not have the roots or the means to stay … but they’d bring fresh thoughts to the operation.

Written by Haylee Hedrick

GCCS Board Swears in New Members

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Finding a new superintendent is a pressing issue for the new school district leaders.

Later this year, Greater Clark County Schools is expected to name a new superintendent. However, change has already started to take place, as three new school board members were sworn in on Jan. 8: Janelle Fitzpatrick, John Buckwalter and Bill Hawkins.

On Dec. 24, 2018, Dr. Andrew Melin resigned as the superintendent of GCCS. Now the school board – which consists of the three new members as well as Milton Clayton, Teresa Perkins, Christina Gilkey and Katie Hutchison – is facing the immediate challenge of filling the top position in the district.

At the Jan. 8 school board meeting, Hutchinson was named president of the board and proceeded to run the meeting. Other newly filled positions included Fitzpatrick as vice president and Clayton as secretary. “It’s kind of scary to be the new vice president of the board, but also exciting to make some positive changes and to work with Katie and the whole board,” Fitzpatrick said.

“The number one goal is to find a superintendent and fill that empty chair at the table,” Hutchinson said.

The new superintendent must be ready for change in any direction. There are different ideas of which direction that should be. For instance, the school board isn’t sure if they will limit their search to people from within the community or expand it beyond the Greater Clark County school district.

“You’re not going to make everyone happy, but we’ll make the best educated decision to benefit GCCS,” Clayton said.

Buckwalter said the new superintendent must be “a good listener, equitable, and ready to take on the task of increasing our climate and culture.”

Until the new superintendent is selected, Charlestown High School principal Mark Laughner is serving as interim superintendent. Laughner was named to the interim superintendent position effective Jan. 23. The contract approved by the board will expire on June 30, 2019.

Written by Haylee Hedrick and Emma Ellis

Photos by Haylee Hedrick

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Black, White, and Read All Over”

On Saturday, February 9, 2019 the Key Club and Dance Marathon hosted the “Battle of the Bowls” soup cook off. The cook off was to help raise funds for Riley’s Children Hospital. 28 teams entered the cook off, including a team by The Hyphen. The Hyphen team entered with a soup made by Ms. Moore dubbed, “Black, White, and Read All Over” Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup. Out 28 entries The Hyphen team ended up taking home the first place trophy and an empty crockpot. The cook off raised almost $1,000 and the next Dance Marathon event will be a bowling fundraiser at Strike and Spare on February 26 from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. It will be $15 for three games and shoes, there will also be a silent auction and a 50/50 raffle.

Written by Meredith Shepherd