There’s a First Time for Everything: Jeff High Seniors Experience This Election from a New Perspective

Amidst an election season that never seemed to end and a dramatic lead-up to tomorrow’s inauguration, it’s easy to forget the most important part of elections: the voters. Many new voters, including some Jeffersonville High School seniors, cast their first presidential ballot in this unprecedented election.

2020 was a year full of all sorts of chaos and confusion, especially since the world was hit with a global pandemic and civil unrest all in the same year as an election. These events occurring during an election year can make for some tough decisions on the candidates. Another thing candidates are dealing with are citizens who have never voted before. Jeff High, being a bridge between childhood and adulthood, has students who experienced voting for the first time.

Some of Jeff’s seniors decided to vote before the actual day. Senior Kaelin Elsner decided to go early, despite having planned to vote on election day, because she had to work the day of. Leading up to the election, Elsner said she felt a sense of “impending doom,” but now that the results are in she feels thankful. Senior Jynn Yoo also chose to vote early, as she had heard mail-in voting “is not a good option for an accurate count” (While this is Yoo’s opinion there is no credible evidence that voting by mail results in a less accurate count.)  Jynn was very anxious about the election before voting, as she did not feel her candidate of choice had a strong chance of winning. “Voting in such an important year made me feel like me or the younger generation had the power to make a difference.”

Other first time voters at Jeff decided to vote on Election day, such as Cameron Sanders. “I decided to vote in-person on Election Day due to how my voting area wasn’t that populated and I wasn’t worried about having to wait in a long line. On top of that, I was worried of marking my ballot wrong or mailing it in wrong, so I did it in person for the extra closure.” In regards to the voting process, Sanders said it felt “very underwhelming, yet overwhelming at the same time.” It was underwhelming because “there wasn’t much to do except bubble in who you wanted to vote for,” but he was nervous because voting is taught to be an extremely important thing.

Some voters decided to go on election day purely because the mail-in voting system is “untrustworthy” (While this is some people’s opinion, there is no credible evidence that mail-in voting is “untrustworthy.”)  Colin Brian, while not having cared about the results more than the other years, says the results are about what he expected. Brian also claims to have felt poorly leading up to the big day, as he feels both candidates have bad intentions in the end.

Other seniors, like Brian Klein, Evan Bealer and Mattie Blanton, went because of family. Klein didn’t know where to go until instructed by his aunt. He says he didn’t know anything about the process, but he was eager to learn. In the end, he felt like he had contributed to a major election. Blanton’s parents wanted her to go in-person so she could experience going in for her first election. Because of this, she was able to feel important in this election. Meanwhile, Bealer tagged along with his family. He says the opportunity to vote made him feel excited.

Some seniors who voted on Election day had the opportunity to have Jeff High as their voting area. Jordan Wagner, who voted at Jeff, said he was nervous because he had no idea how the process went. After voting, however, he said he felt good and as if he had suddenly grown up.

Seeing as she didn’t have time to vote earlier than Election day, Laura Gillenwater was forced to vote the day of. “[Voting for the first time] felt really empowering because I felt very strongly about this election and I was glad that I was able to vote.” Before the feeling of empowerment hit her, she felt nervous about her candidate not winning. “I had a clear candidate I wanted to win. I knew this election was going to be super close and that it could end up going either way.” Gillenwater was very happy with not only the results but the fact that this election year was able to give a lot of people who wouldn’t normally vote the chance to voice their concerns and opinions.

Unfortunately, some of Jeff’s seniors were not old enough to vote. Josiah Jackson was only 17 by Nov. 3. While not being old enough, he was still nervous. ”Being a person of color, it feels like either way things would be bad after.” Not being able to participate in the process, Jackson waited anxiously for the results. After a winner was announced, he said he is glad, and that we needed the change.

In a contentious and divided election, we often lose sight of those who the election is about, the voters, and for many, high school is the time where people first exercise their right to vote.

Story by Chloey Trinkle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by Chloey Trinkle

Governor Holcomb closes Indiana Schools for the Remainder of the 2019-2020 School Year

On April 2, 2020, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announced all schools in the state of Indiana will remain closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year. Schools are required to complete 160 total instructional days (20 more after April 2). 

Students attending any schools in Indiana are still heavily encouraged to follow the social distancing measures and complete their e-learning work when assigned. As of April 2, there have been 78 total Coronavirus deaths and over 3,000 confirmed cases of the virus in Indiana. The best way to fight the sickness, Holcomb stated is to continue to socially distance as much as you can, and to avoid going outside unless for necessary means. An announcement from Greater Clark County Schools is expected Friday, April 3.

Safety vs. Reason

On the morning of Thursday, February 5, you hear the sighs of many students as Pam Hall, Jeff High’s interim principal, announces that starting Monday, February 10, backpacks and “large” purses will not be permitted in classrooms.

The rule has always been in effect for backpacks, yet not all teachers enforced it. Now, there has been an addition to the rule: Large purses will not be permitted either.  According to Ms. Hall, a “large purse” is defined as something that can hold a Chromebook or an iPad, but the size of iPad was not specified.

Many students voiced their complaints with the reinforcement of the rule. Some have taken to social media and made public complaints about the rules. According to sophomore Victoria Jade Worrall, “The [enforcement of these] rules on bags make my space more cluttered, and it makes it easier for me to lose assignments or entire folders.” When asked if the rules made her feel safer, she states, “Not really… If someone wanted to commit a crime, they would do whatever they needed to do to go through with it. You could fit a weapon practically anywhere.”

Sophomore Brooklyn Parish says she hears many students complain about the rules. “I hear how a lot of kids fall down the stairs from having their school stuff in their arms.” She goes on to say, “I can see why the school added this rule. It’s to keep us safe. If the school is worrying about someone wanting to hurt people, then they should listen to their students.”

When students are passionate about something, they typically don’t let go of the issue. In the next few days or weeks, students will still be voicing their complaints. All students can do is hope for a change or silence their complaints and deal with it.

Disney Mullins Dabbles in Diving and Drama

disney-mullins-by-max-fisherOne week she’s auditioning for the school play, the next week she’s diving headfirst off the diving board. Sophomore Disney Mullins is a busy girl with many interests, which can sometimes be rough, especially on a high schooler. Even with the stress it may come with, she manages to make things work in her favor.

Mullins has been diving since the eighth grade and even though she is three years into the sport, she has managed to achieve a notably high score. In her first year of diving at Jeffersonville High School, she received an MVP award for scoring the most points out of all of her team’s divers.

“I think diving is unique… it’s different from all the other sports out there, and I think that’s what makes it cool and exciting,” she says. “Plus it’s fun to do flips and stuff.”

In addition, Mullins has been doing theater since the age of three. So far, she has
managed to land a total of five leads by age 14, including Oliver Twist from “Oliver! the musical”, Gertrude McFuzz from “Seussical Jr.”, and Tinkerbell in “Peter Pan Jr.” “I really liked Peter Pan,” she states. “It was fun throwing glitter into the audience and into people’s faces.”

One of the biggest issues she has faced is timing. Diving season starts in the fall and
concludes in late winter. Meanwhile, the plays are scattered throughout the year. With the two activities occurring at the same time, Mullins thought she would have to choose one or the other. To her surprise, the coach and theater director were very considerate and helped her figure out a way to do both.

For example, during last year’s diving season, the theater department was rehearsing for The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. “I would go to the most important rehearsals and when there was a dive meet, I’d go to that,” Mullins comments.

Although diving and theater might seem very different, they have one thing in common: Mullins always has an audience. And as long as she has one, she will continue to thrive in what she enjoys.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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