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

 

Chess: The Sport of Mind

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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