The History and Legacy of Jeffersonville’s Taylor High School

A forgotten piece of history stands at 821 Wall Street in Jeffersonville, Indiana. The two-story building is boarded up, the red bricks slowly losing their color. Over the entrance of the building are the cracked white words “City School.” To passerbys, this may not look like anything special, just a decrepit structure that has worn away over time.

This building is Taylor High School, Jeffersonville’s former African-American school. Built in 1891 and initially named City School, the school was renamed after Robert Frank Taylor (its first principal) in 1924. This building has seen the Great Depression, weathered the Great Flood of 1937 and was a school for the black children of Jeffersonville throughout segregation.

Though Taylor High School had the words high school in its name, it enrolled grades one through 12. The building was basic compared to the all-white Jeffersonville High School and it did not have indoor plumbing or heating.

Flora Clipper, age 97, attended the school from 1936 to 1940. “All of our education was segregated,” Clipper said. “We were always angry (and) unhappy at the difference between Taylor High School and Jeff High. We had no kind of gym, we had no kind of extracurriculars….We were always very unhappy about the condition of segregated schools….We wanted an education equal…to the white schools.”

While education changed as necessary for Jeffersonville High School, it did not evolve for those who were enrolled at Taylor High School. “Education had changed for the white kids,” said Clipper. “We were expected to keep with the same model that was started in 1892.”

In January and February of 1937, the Ohio River flooded and in the Louisville area, the river gauge levels rose to 57 feet. In Jeffersonville, 90 percent of homes were flooded. The majority of buildings had water up to the second story.
Because of the damage from what is now known as the Great Flood of 1937, many of Taylor High School’s students were hopeful that they would get a new school.

“There were many of the young people who said, ‘Now we gonna get a new school. I know we gonna get a new school,’” Clipper reflected. “They were disheartened when…we did not get a new school. Some of the boys never did come back after the flood. Because…they had to try to get work to help out with the families at home.”

For the black students, graduating from Taylor High School didn’t make a difference when it came to searching for jobs. “One of the difficult things was that, in those days, when you graduated from high school, that didn’t make any difference as far as your employment was concerned,” Clipper explained. “And I can remember the boys in our class used to always complain about that. Because at Jeff High…they were having other things that would make them employable.”

In 1952, two years before the Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education ruled that segregation of schools was unconstitutional, Jeffersonville’s school system was integrated. According to an article by the Courier-Journal that was published in 2009, the building was turned into Wall Street Elementary school, a school that enrolled both African-American and white students. However, the elementary school closed in the 1970s.

As reported by the Courier-Journal, on April 4, 2009, a historical marker was put in front of the building. Tom Galligan, the mayor of Jeffersonville at the time, declared the day Taylor High School Day. Later, Taylor High School was made a site on the Indiana African-American Heritage Trail.

The building stands neglected now, with the marker offering a brief summary of the decades of history the structure contains and represents. While it is easy to put off issues such as segregation as long ago, Taylor High School is a reminder of the past and a reminder of the injustices that African-Americans experienced.

Story and photos by Greta Reel
Archival research by Greta Reel and Jaida Bell

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And Then There Were Three

Former Vice President Joe Biden takes the lead in the 2020 Democratic Primaries, while multiple candidates drop out of the presidential race.

Former Vice President Joe Biden has appeared to take the lead in the 2020 Democratic primaries following his surge on what is known as Super Tuesday. 

On Tuesday, March 3, 14 states (Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia) and one United States territory (American Samoa) held primaries and caucuses for the Democratic candidate in the 2020 presidential race. 

Biden surged, winning Alabama, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Maine,  Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) won Colorado, Utah and his home state of Vermont. Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg won American Samoa. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) held one delegate.

According to The Washington Post, in order to win the Democratic nomination, a candidate needs 1,991 delegates. Each state has a certain number of delegates based on the population and the weight in the Democratic party. Based on the number of votes they receive, the candidate wins the delegates. 

Bloomberg dropped out on Wednesday, March 4. After failing to win any states, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) dropped out of the race on Thurs., March 5.  Gabbard still remains in the race.

On Tuesday, March 10, primaries were held in Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota and Washington.  According to The Washington Post, Biden took the lead in Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi and Missouri, while Sanders took the lead in North Dakota. Washington has yet to be called.

Biden has received endorsements from former candidates Pete Buttegieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Bloomberg and as of March 9, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). It is currently unclear who Warren will endorse.

The presidential election between current President Donald Trump and the Democrat nominee will be on Nov. 3, 2020.

Story by Greta Reel

An Ocean Away, Australia Burns

Since Australia’s fire season began in July, the world has witnessed some of Australia’s worst wildfires in decades

Nearly one billion animals have been affected nationwide, approximately 28 people are dead  and thousands of homes are damaged. An ocean away, Australia is on fire.

According to CNN, even though there have been fires in every state, the state of New South Wales has been affected the most. Some of the largest cities in the country, including Sydney and Melbourne, have been hit the hardest. In early December, because of the large amounts of smoke, the air quality in Sydney was 11 times the level that’s considered dangerous. 

Jeffersonville High School student and president of the student council, Amelia Epperson, who is Australian, believes that bushfires are common and that the news coverage should be more focused on the animals affected.

“Every time there’s a bushfire it’s awful,” she said.  “But it’s kind of one of those things where we have them a lot.  But these are pretty bad, these are probably one of our worst ones. Especially with all the animals and stuff. They stem in a rural area so it’s mainly animals as opposed to people dying. I feel like that’s where the lack of coverage comes from because (it’s) animals and not people.”

Jeff High’s Student Council felt that it was needed to have an Academy “Penny War” to raise money for Australia’s animals. The money will be going to Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors Worldwide, which was established by Steve and Terri Irwin in 2002.

 Natalie Bronson, the sponsor of Student Council, explained the fundraiser. 

“The main goal of this fundraiser is twofold…first to raise awareness of an issue happening that is impacting some of our students at Jeff High and secondly, to always be advocates for needs in our community,” Bronson said. “This time, it is just our extended community.”

penny-war

The Academy “Penny War” will go until Feb. 7, 2020. (Photo by Paige Moore)

“The fires are devastating,” Bronson said. “Droughts are a thing of the past and will be an issue in the future with climate and climate change. The devastating part is that not only are humans displaced and houses destroyed, animals habitats are being destroyed as well as lives being lost. Humans have warnings and are given the opportunity for escape and have shelter locations in stark contrast to animals, who essentially are fighting for their very lives.”

Story by Greta Reel

Katie Dorman Spreads Kindness

Whether it’s theatre, art, culinary club, thespian club or tennis, Katie Dorman is always involved in something at Jeffersonville High School. But according to Dorman, her biggest accomplishment has been a club that is growing quickly.

“I like that I’ve been a part of plays…I like that I’ve worked hard at tennis, but right now I think my biggest accomplishment would be GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) and making progress in our club,” Dorman said. Even though Dorman did not start the club, she said she wanted to be involved with it, even before she realized that she was a part of the LGBTQ+ community.

“I always wanted to be a part of it just because I feel like it’s a nice way to spread more awareness of people who are just trying to make their way through life by being themselves,” Dorman said.

According to Dorman, the Gay-Straight Alliance has made progress through spreading awareness.“We’ve done booths during lunch, we’ve spread cards around, we have people coming in, sharing their experiences, having people who aren’t in the community that are straight but they’re allies and coming into the club just so they can be more aware,” she said. “We do spread kindness through everybody.”

In addition to the Gay-Straight Alliance, Dorman also has a passion for the arts and wants to study them in college. “I could have a minor in theatre,” she said. “I’ve been thinking about it. But primarily at the moment, probably just 2D art, maybe 3D art. Some digital design. Animation maybe. Getting into the basics…traditional art.” Dorman thinks that like the Gay-Straight Alliance, the arts can bring kindness. “I really think art can be very expressive,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be super deep, it doesn’t have to be something like Leonardo Da Vinci or anything like that. Make something simple, and then start sharing it with people. And that’s…a good way to spread kindness.”

Katie Dorman by Marni Scholl

From Wrestling to Recycling, Adonis Boyd Does It All

JHS senior opens up about new recycling program, busy schedule, and the diversity of Jeff High

Many know 17-year-old Jeffersonville High School senior Adonis Boyd. But what they may not know is that Boyd is the driving force behind the school’s new recycling program. Boyd is well-rounded and is involved in numerous extracurriculars including Key Club, Student Council and Friends of Rachel. He is also an awarded wrestler and is involved in track as well. His participation in sports is one of the reasons he got the idea for the recycling program.

adonis-recyling-photo-by-bella-bungcayao

Senior Adonis Boyd collects recycling. (Photo by Bella Bungcayao)

“Well, I drink a lot of water, like with all the things I do, with all the sports,” Boyd said. “I get really dehydrated really quick. So I always bring two water bottles to school with me and I realized that kind of adds up.” He also noticed other things that should be recycled instead of being tossed in the trash. “Sometimes I’ll go to the copier room if I need to run something for a teacher,” he said. “And they just have so much paper…and there’s just nothing to do with it. They just throw it away, and it can go to something. It can do something bigger.”

Boyd also loves the diversity at Jeff High, saying that it’s “a big mesh of a lot of people.” “It’s very real worldish,” he said. “Like the other schools, they’re going to be like one group of people that stand out. But here, everybody really gels together really well.  There’s a lot of diversity. It’s just a really great place to be to set you up for the real world.”

Boyd wants to make a difference in this world by increasing diversity and helping the community through recycling. He wishes to bring the diversity that Jeff High shows to the outside world. “With other schools there can be subgroups,” he said. “Of course Jeff High has those subgroups but within those subgroups people are also intertwined to other groups. It’s not just like one person rules everything. Everyone is friends with everybody and I just wish that we could take that to the outside world. Because in the outside world people can very groupish. It’s very stereotypical. Like, ‘Oh I see them. I don’t hang out with them.’ But here we don’t see any of that. We see everyone for how they are as a person. Like I can be friends with anybody. And that’s wonderful.”

Story by Greta Reel

Student Debt Reaches an Unsustainable Level

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

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

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

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

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

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.