Opinion: We Are Reaching a Breaking Point

Opinion by The Hyphen Staff

Editor’s note: This piece was written collaboratively by the 14 members on The Hyphen staff. Since this group makes up 0.0067 percent of the student population at Jeff High, we aren’t exactly a representative sample. That being said, our job is to serve as the voice of the students — and we’ve done our best to represent every single one of you.

The alarm goes off at 6:00 a.m. Or maybe it’s noon. Or maybe there is no alarm at all.

The Google Classroom is overflowing with dozens of to-do items. Or maybe it’s just a few. Or maybe it’s none.

The agenda for the day is to log in to four Google Meet sessions. Or maybe it’s just two. Or maybe it’s none.

By the end of the day, we will have completed eight hours of work. Or maybe it’s just a few hours. Or maybe it’s none.

If there is one thing consistent about the experience of a Jeff High student during Coronavirus, it is inconsistency. Specifically, we have noted inconsistencies in:

  • Amount of work
  • Whether the class has live Google Meets
  • Whether Google Meets are required
  • When the Google Meets take place
  • When the assignments are due
  • Whether work can be turned in late

The result is that we are constantly dealing with conflicting priorities — and we are overwhelmed, exhausted, and confused.

Yes, we realize there are bigger issues. Because of Coronavirus, some students don’t know how they will get their next meal. Some are in abusive situations at home that they can’t get away from. Some are dealing with depression and anxiety made worse by isolation.

We can’t fix everything, but we can suggest some changes the school district could consider as a way to lessen stress and increase motivation:

1 – Standardize expectations. Do teachers have Google Meets or not? Are they required or not? Are assignments due in an hour or a day? Are office hours for My School students or everyone? When do office hours happen? What’s the best way to reach out to my teacher?

2 – Respect the block. Although opinions on block scheduling are mixed, we agree that it does help us focus. Please avoid posting to-do items for classes on their “off” day or having a Google Meet during another class period.

3 – De-emphasize writing. We are used to showing what we know in class, not just writing all day. Writing takes longer than speaking or thinking, and it is challenging for a lot of people who are otherwise good communicators. If there’s a way to have us show what we know without writing (for instance, draw something and snap a picture), please do that. It is more work to do everything in writing, and it just gets repetitive after a while.

4 – Keep our other commitments in mind. During a typical school year, students have other obligations that keep them busy: jobs, sports, household responsibilities. It’s no different with Coronavirus. In fact, many students are working more hours because their workplaces see “online” as “on call all the time.” Many are also taking on more responsibility for watching siblings and helping around the house. 

5 – Consider the impact of last spring. The entire fourth quarter was a dud for students. For more than a month, students were not expected to keep the same level of academic focus as we are used to. Most students didn’t even take final exams. Due to this, many are more likely to struggle. 

6 – Be kind. A lot of students are going through a really tough time. They don’t show it. They don’t say it. Yes, sometimes we let you down. Sometimes we get overwhelmed and can’t keep up. Please show forgiveness and kindness. We’re all trying to get through this and get back to “normal” (whatever that is). 

These times are not normal. It’s important to realize that the student body is simply a reflection of the world. We’re just as overwhelmed, exhausted, and confused about our future as adults are. We are just as eager for rays of hope, for a light at the end of the tunnel, for life “after all this is over.” 

Also, we know that our teachers are overwhelmed and stressed, too. We aren’t placing all the blame there. In fact, we want to say thank you to some of the people who make this difficult time a little easier. 

  • Mr. Densford, Ms. Paul, Miller and Martinez: Thank you for caring about how we are doing, not just what we are doing.
  • Mr. Hornickel: Thank you for keeping us engaged and active.
  • Mr. McDonald, Ms. Johnson and Mr. Robinson: Thank you for being clear and consistent.
  • Mrs. Rector, Mr. Wigginton, and Mr. Dench: Thank you for always reaching out and making sure everyone’s up to speed. 
  • Principal Hall and the Assistant Principals: Thank you for everything you are doing to keep us safe.

PDF: May 5, 2020

This year, everyone at Jeff High had plans for how the rest of the year would go. Freshmen looked forward to raising baby chicks in Mr. Reilly’s class and playing on a high school sports team for the first time. Sophomores looked forward to seeing their friends and performing in the spring musical. Juniors looked forward to their ring ceremony and prom. Of course, seniors had the most to look forward to, with all of the rituals involved in saying goodbye to high school and starting the next phase of their lives. We all had plans for the days, weeks and months ahead – and suddenly, those plans all went away.

From the beginning, we planned to end the year with our annual Senior Issue, featuring columns by current and former staff members of The Hyphen. Yes, the cover is inspired by the video chats we’re all part of lately. Yes, there is some coronavirus news, as well as an in-depth report on the science of conspiracy theories. However, from start to finish, it is what we planned all along: a tribute to the Jeff High Class of 2020. Enjoy.

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Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb Announces The Closure of Indiana Schools Until May 1

Holcomb will also suspend all state testing for the school year

Updated March 19 at 3:52

At a press conference on Thursday, March 19, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announced that all Indiana schools will be closed until May 1, 2020. Holcomb also announced that state testing, including ISTEP10 and ILEARN will be cancelled.  These changes come as a result of the spread of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus.

The governor also noted the possibility of not being ready to return by May 1, and said, “If, and I stress if, by some miracle, we get students back this year, we’ll use that time in class for instruction. So I’m cancelling Indiana’s student assessments for this school year.” 

After Holcomb, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick expanded on some of his proposals. 

“School closure to May 1… this is the first step,” McCormick said, “There may be a need to come back and revisit that.” McCormick also noted that it is just state testing being cancelled and not other non-mandated testing.

 McCormick said, “Our goal is to graduate (high school) seniors.” However, she noted that decisions for certain ceremonies will be made on a local level. 

On March 19, Greater Clark County Schools announced their plans for the time off. Weeks will alternate between eLearning weeks and Closed Days. On the weeks that students are off, they may continue to work on submitting assignments from the eLearning week before, but no new work will be assigned.

According to the Indiana Department of Health, there are currently 56 reported cases of the coronavirus in Indiana as of March 19, 2020. 

Story by Greta Reel and Max Fisher

PDF: Feb. 20, 2020

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Change is hard, but sometimes it is a necessity. In recent months, we’ve seen a lot of change at Jeff High. In this issue of The Hyphen, we talk about some of the changes that have happened in our school. However, we couldn’t ignore other important news stories, like the death of Kobe Bryant and Black History Month. We also cover some of the big changes our school’s basketball teams have faced this year, from player injuries to coaching modifications.

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Jeff High Students Remember Holocaust Victims, Survivors

Today’s morning announcements at Jeff High featured a special message from teacher Allison Clary, who reminded students that it is the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Clary, who traveled to Poland with Holocaust survivor Eva Kor last summer, asked students to be kind to one another in honor of Kor and other holocaust victims.

“My experience was life-changing and unforgettable and I love to share my words with anyone who wants to listen,” said Clary. “It’s been so exciting to bring the story of Eva Kor to my students today!  It’s something that especially young people today need to learn about so history does not repeat itself.”

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Allison Clary with Eva Kor in Poland in the summer of 2019. Kor unexpectedly died the following day.

For more information about Clary’s trip, visit the News and Tribune website: https://www.newsandtribune.com/news/holocaust-survivor-eva-kor-spent-final-day-with-jeffersonville-teacher/article_ddbb6e78-a427-11e9-97aa-b714f6ee1175.html

PDF: Jan. 23, 2020

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This issue of The Hyphen follows the theme “We Are Jeff High.” In this issue there are features on students and teachers who represent all aspects of the school, as well as quotes and pictures from randomly surveyed students about what they’re passionate about. Our goal in this issue is to capture the true spirit of Jeff High.

Every student, teacher and staff member makes our school community unique. All of us have an impact, no matter how small. Once a Red Devil, always a Red Devil!

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Community, School Leaders Celebrate the Start of Baseball Facility Construction

On Thursday, November 21, school leaders gathered with past and present Jeff High baseball players to celebrate the beginning of construction for Jeff High’s new baseball facility. The project, which includes a new turf field and a replacement of the outer fencing, is being funded by a $500,000 donation from the John Schnatter Foundation. 

Papa John’s Pizza founder John Schnatter, a 1980 Jeff High graduate and baseball player, was on hand for the event. Schnatter thanked attendees for their support and said it was good to be back at Jeff after 30 years.

Although the facility will be named the John Schnatter Stadium, the field will still be named after former coach Don Poole. Poole also spoke at the event. 

Construction is expected to be complete in time for the first home baseball game in the spring of 2020.

 

Story and photos by Kyle Tincher

JHS Theatre to Present Alice in Wonderland November 8-10

This weekend the Jeffersonville High School Theatre Department will take audiences through the looking glass with three performances of Alice in Wonderland, a production based on Lewis Carroll’s classic story about dreaming and identity.

Shows will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, November 8 and Saturday, November 9. There will also be a 2 p.m. matinée on Sunday, November 10.

Tickets are $10 for Jeff High students and senior citizens. The general admission price for others is $15. The ticket price includes a tea party with the cast after the show.

JHS Theatre director Derrick Ledbetter describes the show as “free-wheeling, highly imaginative and fast-paced.”

The show stars Anna Lowe as Alice. Other cast members include Gavin Van Fleet, Joryn Burns, Jesse Crull, Becken Maddox, Madison Conway, Hannah Dickens, Cassie Hawkins, Kennedy Smith, Hailey Hughes, Claire Storz, Abby Napper, Alex Seifert, Katie Dorman, Lydia Church, and Nathaniel Garner.

Written by Chloey Trinkle

PDF: Nov. 7, 2019

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With the “real world” just around the corner, that first move in The Game of Life seems a lot more relevant (and scary) than it used to be. Is college really the foundation for success? And if it is, how can a typical student afford it without taking on a lot of debt? Check out our cover story as we explore the trade-offs today’s high school graduates face.

This issue also contains:

  • An opinion column about the “fatal flaw” in FAFSA
  • Reader voices on school start time and whether money or happiness is more important
  • A preview of the new Disney streaming service
  • And more …

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