Leaders From the Other Side of the World

Staff Photo

Student Council co-presidents Bethia Busingye and Amelia Epperson are not only from different countries, they’re from different continents. Busingye immigrated to the United States from Rwanda, Africa four years ago, and Epperson moved to the United States from Melbourne, Australia about three years ago. 

Epperson and Busingye joined Student Council together when they were sophomores and now run the club together. 

“It’s good that we’re already friends, because we already know how to work with each other,” Epperson said. “Look at us, (Student Council) presidents, three years later.” 

Despite being in the United States for several years, the two seniors have had challenges, especially adjusting to life in a foreign country. “Well, I have family here,”  Epperson said. “I came here once before when I was 10. So I kind of have a feel for it. I wasn’t terrified, but it was still kind of scary and, it’s a new school, it’s way bigger than any school I’ve ever been to. It was a little culture shock.” 

“People have different, really weird questions to ask you,” Busingye said. “And I had to make a lot of adjustments, like with my accent. I had to start putting on an American accent in order for people to understand me, because kids would (be) like ‘That’s not how you say that.’ So it was kind of a big difference, and people were a lot less nice.” 

Epperson agrees with this, saying, “I feel like there was a little bit of discrimination with us. Like, your (Busingye’s) accent, people are like, ‘Oh my God that’s weird, what are you saying?’ and (with) my accent people are like, ‘Oh my God it’s so great.’” 

Epperson and Busingye feel that it’s important to have an example of foreigners running a school club. “It makes other students (feel) like they are welcome to come,” Busingye said. 

“I’ve seen many students who are foreign, and…they don’t join any clubs, (because) they feel like they’ll be out of place. (But they’ll) be like, there’s two foreigners running Student Council.” 

Natalie Bronson, the sponsor of Student Council, feels that Epperson and Busingye represent Jeff High well. “I truly feel that Amelia and Bethia, both being from different countries, genuinely and accurately represent the dynamics of Jeff High,” Bronson said. “We have a diverse group of students and it is not only shown in the student body as a whole, but in the leadership roles we have throughout the school that students hold.”

Story By: Greta Reel

School Trips

story by Greta Reel and Gabby Bishop

photo submitted by James Kimbell

Red Devil students have the opportunity to experience more of the world in high school than some have seen in their entire lives.

Foreign language teachers James Kimbell and Lisa Stumler are going to France, Switzerland and Germany in June 2018, while English teachers Stephanie Detzer and Anya Evinger are going to Italy over Spring Break this school year. Social Studies teacher Drew Davis is going to Japan in June 2018.

“The most beneficial educational thing is seeing that everything there is just as real, and just as big, as our world is to us,” says Kimbell, who is marking his third trip out of the country with students.

Students will have the opportunity to see many places on these trips, including the Eiffel Tower, Vatican City and the Imperial Palace.

2016-06-15 - paris tour eiffel - blue sky

The Eiffel Tower, as captured by JHS teacher James Kimbell.

“Broadening one’s outlook about the world and other cultures is incredibly important,” Detzer says.

Davis’ group will end up experiencing a lot of the traditional activities of Japanese culture.

“We will sit on the floor to eat and sleep, and hopefully we will get a Ryokan (Japanese traditional house) that has hot springs that are privately connected to your room,” Davis says.

Despite seeing all of the sights, students will amazed at all the cultural things they could never experience in America.

“When we look at a place in a book or even on a big screen, we are getting much less sensory input: it’s flat, it’s small, it’s lacking in smell and temperature and wind and sun,” Kimbell says. “But when you’re there, you’re inside of the place, and you can see it in a new way.”

 

August Advice Column

story by Emily Tully and Chloe Treat

Q: I’m an incoming freshman and I’m intimidated by the size of the school, and the reputation it has for being such a scary place. Is it really like that? Was freshman year bad for you? How do you make new friends?

(Emily) A: I totally understand being intimidated, as I was more than a little scared to come into a school so big, especially having terrible social anxiety.

The first few days are very scary, in all honesty. For someone who’s shy or has heard the rumors about the school, walking into your first day can be petrifying. But you’ll come to find out that the rumors aren’t true, and after a while, being surrounded by so many people will become your new normal.

Try to make friends in all of your classes, and don’t be afraid to speak up, or reach out to someone you’d like to get to know. I spent way too much time being scared and anxious while I was an underclassman; those were the hardest years of high school for me. I let my anxiety hold me back from having fun and enjoying the little things that make the place not as scary. I let potential friendships pass by because I was too scared to put myself out there.

After learning to not overthink every social move, I was able to ask teachers questions in class, give presentations, and present ideas all without feeling like I was going to cry. Believe me, it’s easier said than done, but if you want to enjoy these next four years to the fullest, then try to breathe and remember that it’s high school and nothing to be scared of.

(Chloe) A: When I started freshman year at Jeffersonville High School, I had no friends — literally none. My first day was so bad I remember going home and crying to my parents about it. But as time went by, it got easier.

Once you get a routine down and get used to things, life in high school becomes just another thing. You’ll eventually make friends, maybe through a club or sport, or even in your classes.

On the social side of things, high school in general is one big test. It’s going to test you to stay true to yourself and your beliefs, and also see just how far you’re willing to go to “fit in”.

The best thing about Jeff High is that there is so much diversity, you can step into one building and be surrounded by every type of person. With high school comes finding yourself and deciding what you want to do for the rest of your life, as if being a teenager isn’t already hard enough.

For me, being a junior now means thinking about college and adulthood and that is terrifying. As a freshman, give everything 100-percent, because no matter what anyone says, the choices you make this year can determine the rest of your high school days.

Don’t over think and have as much fun as possible whilst still being yourself — not who everyone else wants you to be.