Jeff High Graduate Virginia Moore: “Shocking” Fame Provides a Platform to Help Others

For many people in our area, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear’s daily COVID-19 briefing became a staple of their daily routines. The briefings inspired virtual meet-ups, catchphrases like “you can’t be doin’ that” and even a meme group on Facebook that grew to more than 200,000 members. One aspect of the briefing — and the memes — that got a lot of attention is the sign language interpreter, Virginia Moore. However, most don’t know Moore is a Red Devil.

Moore grew up with both of her parents and two of her siblings being deaf. “My first language was sign language,” she says. However, leaving Jeff High she never thought her career would involve Sign Language, and after graduating in 1980 she attended Michigan State to study criminology.

Her plans changed when she came home from MSU after her father was involved in a car accident. She opted to complete her degree at Indiana University, and to pick up some extra cash she began interpreting for students. After going between different jobs, she would find her career path.

She became the interpreter for the Executive Director of the Kentucky Commission of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Over the years she worked her way through the agency, eventually becoming the Executive Director. The main operation of the agency is to provide advice to the governor’s office on policies affecting the deaf and hard of hearing communities.

However, it was only recently that Moore entered the spotlight as she began interpreting for the Governor at his COVID-19 briefings. 

virginia-meme

Jeff High graduate Virginia Moore gained meme-worthy fame as sign language interpreter for Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear.

While most of the attention she receives is for her interpretation, Moore and the agency continue to advocate for the deaf and hard of hearing during the pandemic, and it’s at times like these that their work is most important. 

Often, the needs of these communities are not factored in. For example, as the prison system was adapting to the pandemic they began issuing masks. However, many deaf and hard of hearing individuals rely on lip reading to understand others. So Moore and the agency advocated to provide clear masks.

While she has been busy, Moore has noticed the fame she has acquired, “It has been a little bit shocking,” she says. But Moore sees this publicity as more of an asset than anything else. “As COVID is a very horrible virus…there’s this little gold nugget. What we’ve been able to accomplish in the last three months is more than I’ve been able to accomplish in the twenty years prior,” she says.

Over the course of the pandemic, she says she has identified one thing more effective than any other: unity. Moore says, “In order to get something accomplished there is no Republican or Democrat… we can’t have these divisions at the beginning of something like this.”

But through it all she maintains an optimistic view, especially for students. Speaking to the Jeff High graduates and students she says.”This generation of graduates are truly the most creative… This is the one generation that everyone will remember.”

Straight From the Source: Jeffersonville High School principal Pam Hall Discusses the Coronavirus

On March 13, 2020 Greater Clark County Schools, lead by Superintendent Mark Laughner, announced GCCS’s plan in response to the global pandemic, COVID-19 (Coronavirus). 

The plan states Greater Clark County schools will have:

  • e-learning until Spring Break (March 16 – 20)
  • regularly scheduled Spring Break (March 23 – 27)
  • no school (March 30 – April 3)

GCCS will also not have to make up the week without school following Spring Break. Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has waived 20 days for all Indiana schools. This means the 5 days used  by GCCS the week of March 30 will be excused. 

Looking forward GCCS will make a decision for the week of April 6 – 10 by April 2. 

While the decision to close was made at the district level, Jeffersonville High School principal Pam Hall says her staff was already doing what they could to keep students safe. “Our custodial staff have been consistently using chemicals that would kill the virus,” Hall says,  “We’ve made a very calculated and very rigid routine of cleaning in between passing times…Making sure that those very common areas are being wiped down consistently.” She also noted that that the custodial staff will do a “top-to-bottom” clean of the school during the break. 

Jeffersonville High School Principal Pam Hall says the E-learning days should be like those done before at Jeff High, “It should just be very short assignments, no more than 15- 20 minutes.” Hall also noted that teachers like usual will be available to help during the course of the day. 

While district and other administrators have only made a decision for the next three weeks, many Jeff High students have expressed their concerns for future events. Whether it’s prom, graduation, or spring sports. Students are wondering what will happen following the three weeks. 

Hall says the administration hasn’t made any official plans that far forward, but she hopes to be able to deliver these experiences for her students. “I think that there are certain things that a student at any high school looks forward to,” says Hall, “We know that graduation and prom are two really big things…  and it is certainly something that we want to make sure happens for our kids. So they have that full high school experience.” Despite this, Hall says there are no concrete plans in place at the moment. For sports, Hall believes a lot of the decisions will be influenced by the IHSAA (Indiana High School Athletic Association.) But Hall, a former athlete and former coach herself, hopes for the best after the three weeks. 

When asked about the reaction to COVID-19 Hall doesn’t think the plan by GCCS is an overreaction. She says when looking at all the angles, “This makes sense.”

Girls Basketball Team Wraps Up a Challenging Season With a Winning Record

The Jeffersonville girls basketball began this season with high expectations. They had all three seniors signed to play in college: Nan Garcia signing to Penn State, Kelsie James signing to IU Kokomo, and Kiersten Poor signing to Grace College. In the course of the season, both Garcia and James would fall victim to injury, taking them out for the season.

Despite this, the team was still able to come out with a 14-11 record, and they were able to reach the semifinals of the sectional tournament losing to Jennings County 52-45 on February 2. “It was a big loss losing both Nan [Garcia] and Kelsie [James] because they both had such an important role on the team,” says junior Laura Gillenwater. Despite this, she says she was “very impressed by our team though because everyone pulled it together and stepped it up.” Gillenwater chalks a lot of this success up to a strong performance by the freshmen this season. “They had to adjust quickly and learn how to play varsity basketball which they excelled at,” she says.

Sophomore Lily Haire also noted that the season was made harder by the loss of Garcia and James. She credits Senior Kiersten Poor for a lot of the success this year. “Kiersten had a major  role on our team. She was a very good leader and someone to look up to,” says Haire.

Despite their struggles this year, the girls’ basketball program has a lot of talent coming up. Jeffersonville has three of the top five girls in Clark/Floyd county in the class of 2023 according to News and Tribune in Tatum McFarland, Sophia Reese, and Cadence Singleton. These freshmen along with the returning varsity sophomores: Lily Haire, Nevaeh Bates and Olivia Clive and juniors: Alexis Gibson, Laura Gillenwater, Aija Estes and Bailey Gibson, will make a strong team looking forward to next year. 

Additional News in Sports

Following Sectionals Jeffersonville Girls Basketball Coach, Michael Warren, resigned as coach following the season’s conclusion. Warren ended with a record of 112-61
after 7 seasons as Girls Head Basketball Coach.

Presidential Primary Season in Full Swing

The Democratic Primary season has begun with the first two states (Iowa and New Hampshire) in the book and “Super Tuesday” states tallying votes. The Primary process will finish in Milwaukee on July 13-16, where Democrats will nominate their opponent to battle incumbent President Donald Trump in the general election. (As of right now, the Republican Primary is almost a lock for Donald Trump. The President has high numbers within his own party, and it should be an easy primary season for the incumbent.)

To win the nomination a candidate must amass 1,991 delegates by the end of the process. While early, if there continues to be no clear consensus candidate, this opens the possibility to a contested convention. In this case, if no candidate is elected in the first round of ballots, delegates will be free to choose whoever they please as the nominee. With many contests to go, only time will tell.

Joe Biden

Age: 77 Education: University of Delaware, Syracuse University Law School Former Offices Held: New Castle County Councilman (1970 – 1972), Senator from Delaware (1973 – 2009), 47th Vice President of the United States (2009 – 2016)

Strengths: • high name recognition • reputation from working with Obama, who is extremely popular in the Democratic Party •  black voters will help him in the south Weaknesses: • poor debate performances • prone to political gaffes and blunders

Bernie Sanders 

Age: 78 Education: Brooklyn College, University of Chicago Former Offices Held: Mayor of Burlington, Vermont (1981 -1989), Vermont Representative (1990 – 2006), Senator of Vermont (2006 – current) 

Strengths: • solid base of support from the 2016 campaign • huge amounts of grassroots fundraising • extremely well with young voters 

Weaknesses: • recently suffered from a heart attack • little support from within the Democratic party

Elizabeth Warren 

Age: 70 Education: University of Houston, Rutgers University, George Washington University Former Offices Held: Chief Advisor of the National Bankruptcy Review Commission (1995 – 2005), Chairman of the Congressional Oversight Panel (2008 – 2010), Special Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (2010 – 2011), Senator from Massachusetts (2012 – current) 

Strengths: • regarded as one of the smartest candidates in the Democratic race • experience and policy statements have gained her the catch-phrase “I have a plan for that” • hopes to be a more palatable progressive choice to party moderates. 

Weaknesses: • multiple controversies over her over exaggeration of her Native American roots • potential to be everyone’s second choice 

Pete Buttigieg

 Age: 38 Education: Harvard University, University of Oxford Former Offices Held: Mayor of South Bend (2012 – 2020) 

Strengths: • seen as fresh and new in the political world. 

Weaknesses: • little experience and low name recognition • poor numbers within the black community

Amy Klobuchar

 Age: 59 Education: Yale, University of Chicago Former Offices Held: Hennepin County Attorney (1999-2006), U.S. Senator from Minnesota (2006 – present) 

Strengths: • from the Midwest, a key battleground area in presidential elections • well-spoken and has a prosecutor’s quick wit 

Weaknesses: • lower name recognition than other top-tier candidates • rumors of poor treatment of staffers early in the campaign, which Klobuchar has denied

Others Three other major candidates are running on the Democratic side. Michael Bloomberg (10.0%), Tom Steyer (1.6%) and Tulsi Gabbard (1.4%) are all still in the race. While these candidates have yet to earn any delegates, the primary season is long and prone to upsets and meteoric rises to the top. *Polling Averages According to Real Clear politics 

Pam Hall Sees Potential in Jeff

After graduating from Jeffersonville High School in the class of 1989, Pam Hall “had no desire to ever step foot in a school again.” Now more than 30 years later, she walks the halls with a new title: interim principal. Her move into the interim principal role was approved by the school board on Jan. 14, 2020.

Although Hall has more than 25 years of teaching experience, her introduction to teaching came by chance. Hall was playing college basketball when she ruptured her Achilles tendon, and she chose to take a red shirt year (a year off from athletics, allowing one more year of eligibility). “I had to find something else to do, so I started taking education classes,” she says. Despite this, Hall still didn’t have her eye on teaching. She wanted to coach.

Out of college, she was hired as head basketball coach at Providence High School, and the school also hired her to work in the school. This was when she found her love for education. After 10 years of working at Providence, Hall says she was “ready for a new challenge.” She found this at Parkview Middle School. At Parkview, Hall worked in special education, specifically with students with behavioral problems. She loved the job, and she was content to stay in this position for her career. However,administrators saw potential in Hall, and after 10 years of working in this position, she was made Behavior Coordinator. Hall says she “loved every minute of it.”

During her time at Parkview, she worked under principal Mark Laughner, who is now superintendent of Greater Clark County Schools.“He had a way about him of encouraging you to take risks in the classroom and with your students,” says Hall. And after 13 years at Parkview, Hall was set to follow Laughner into administration at Charlestown High School.

However, before she entered the job, she was offered a position she couldn’t turn down: an assistant principal’s job at her alma mater, Jeffersonville High School. “I couldn’t  tell you how thrilled I was,” says Hall. Despite her excitement, she was upset to leave her favorite boss. “I love working for Mr. Laughner. But my heart is Jeff, I want to be at Jeff, I want to work with Jeff kids,” says Hall.

Hall’s fight for Jeff started earlier than most. “For me, I had to fight my parents to come here because all my family went to Catholic schools,” she says. “But I knew I wanted to be a Red Devil… I knew I wanted to play basketball here at Jeff,” she says. Hall’s passion and love for education stem from her passion and love for Jeffersonville. When Hall moved from Providence to Parkview, she was searching for a new challenge — and she found it in a community she loves. “I think the biggest difference is, here at Jeff, we have Jeff kids,” says Hall, “If you look at our staff, how many people are Jeff graduates, and choose to come back.”

Coming from a Catholic school, Hall says it “makes me appreciate the diversity at Jeff.” And what others may see as challenges, Hall embraces. “The challenges here, that private schools and other schools in affluent areas, like Floyd Central, they kinda maybe snub their nose at it,” she says, “but we embrace it. This is who we are. We’re proud of it.”

During the two and half years Hall as Freshman Academy Principal at Jeff High, her love for the school only grew. And when former principal Julie Straight left, Hall let her know she was interested in the job. On January 14, one month after Straight announced she would be leaving, Hall was named interim principal of Jeffersonville High School.

Looking forward, Hall believes she is ready to take on the job. “I have a certain directness,” says Hall, “I don’t necessarily believe in a lot of fluff. I’m just, it’s point A to point B and how do we get there?” She knows this directness will be needed to succeed at this job. This directness is seen by other teachers and students around the school as an asset. Hall credits this trait to her athletics. “I think being an athlete has done that. It gives you a skill set that maybe people who aren’t involved don’t,” she says. Hall not only enjoyed basketball, but she also had to play for her future. “When I grew up we didn’t have a lot of money,” she says, “So the only way I was going to go to college was I had to play basketball.” This is where she believes her hard work and tenacity was born.

Thinking back to her days at Parkview, Hall recalls being known as tough, yet always wanting the best for students. “I’m going to tell you what you need to hear,” she says, “but at the end of the day, I’m also going to put my arm around you and tell you it’s alright, and tomorrow is a new day.” Hall hopes to continue building these strong relationships with students at Jeff.

Hall’s goal this year is to continue the work of Mrs. Straight. But looking past this year, Hall hopes to change the school’s perception. She hopes when people are moving to Southern Indiana, they want to live in Jeffersonville so they can send their children to Jeffersonville High School. “If we can achieve that, we will have taken care of everything,” says Hall. For Hall, this goal is her passion. “For people who have never been outside of Jeff, maybe they don’t see how other people view us,” she says, “That for me has been the driving force. I want to help embrace who we are, but also I want to change it… Embracing who we are and showcasing the great things.”

While Hall admires Straight, she acknowledges the difference in their management styles. “Mrs. Straight and I joke about that all the time. Because we are very different,” says Hall. “I think we complement each other very well. I’m sort of the I’m going to come in and kick the door down and that’s how we’re going to go. Whereas she is more diplomatic.”

Looking forward to her time as principal, Hall says, “I could take a few lessons from her.” Hall has loved working for Straight. “I have no doubt we are watching our greatest Red Devil walk out the door,” she says, “I don’t know that anyone has given more to this school.” Hall is also excited for Straight with her new position. She believes she will still be able to serve her school saying, “There are many opportunities on the horizon.”

After many years in education, Hall says, “This isn’t a job, this is who I am.” And it’s simple what keeps her going, “The kids,” she says, “Every day when I walk down the hallway, there are 2,000 reminders of why I do this.” 

hall

Hall interacts with students working at the Devil’s Den who sold sweet treats for Valentines Day!

Students and Teachers React to First E-learning Day

On Friday, February 7, Greater Clark County Schools had their first E-learning day. E-learning days allow students to work from home. They do not make up the day at the end of the year. This has been implemented at many other public school districts, but this year is the first for Greater Clark. 

Schools have undergone two practice days in the first semester, but when school was called off for the 7th due to weather, the first real E-learning day was on. 

Responses on the first day were mixed amongst students. “It’s horrible,” says sophomore Lillian Hollins. “In my opinion, it’s just more stress-inducing and it’s a struggle to do.” However, others see the benefits of E-learning. “I personally really like E-learning days because they help me feel productive in my days off,” said junior Kaelin Elsner. 

Teachers also had mixed feelings about the process.“I think it’s beneficial for students to learn how to work from home,” says English teacher Justin Linde, “It simulates online classes one might take in college or a real-life job where one might be able to work from home.” Linde also believes the process will improve with more time. “I think once students have more practice with the process, they will find it more enjoyable and less stress-inducing,” he says. 

 Teacher Carolyn Simpson was happy with the process but found some problems. “I thought it went by on my end very smoothly,” she says. “The biggest negative is to use actual school and class time to get them to do their work.”

The next opportunity to experience the pros and cons of E-learning will be Monday, February 17 — which is a make-up day for a closure last fall. 

Mark Reilly Looks Back on Nearly Four Decades at Jeff High

reilly-by-max-fisherWhen Mark Reilly applied to teach science at Jeffersonville High School in 1983, he was surprised to get the job because “teaching jobs were hard to come by.” Little did he know the impact and length of his stay at Jeff High. Reilly has been teaching science at Jeff High for 38 years. He says he had always had an interest in teaching and he noticed that he was often used to help others both in class and in sports when he was a kid. This discovered talent would become his passion through his teaching and coaching. Reilly is well known for his class and always optimistic personality. Around school, his classes are favorites among Jeff High Students. Whether it’s the baby chicks he gives his biology students or the field trips his environmental science classes take, Reilly is well known as a fun teacher who wants the best for his students.

Many others know Reilly as a coach. He first started coaching in 1984, when he was an assistant baseball coach for two years. After that, he began coaching tennis, a job that lasted him 30 years, and ended with him as one of the most successful coaches in Jeffersonville High School History, and put his tennis program in a position to compete for a state title.

Reilly started his first girls’ season with a team where half of the players couldn’t keep score. His final boys’ team pushed eventual state champions North Central in a close 2-3 loss in the state semi-final.

In his teaching and coaching, Reilly says the biggest difference between the two is in the connection. “With sports, there’s more of a connection, kids respect me on the tennis court because of my play and knowledge, and they want to get better at tennis,” he says. However, in the classroom, he says he “has to make connections because we don’t have something in common. They need to know you care.”

Looking back at his career, Reilly hopes his students and players remember that he cared and always wanted the best for them. He says he still sees people that remember what he did for them when he was coaching or teaching. One thing he has learned over his years is the amount of influence he can have on someone’s life. “The impact you have on individuals, daily, you won’t realize until possibly ten years later,” says Reilly, “So, treat every kid with the same enthusiasm.”

Boys/Girls Swimming and Diving

BOYS

After an impressive runner-up finish at sectionals last year, the Jeffersonville High School Boys swim team lost 5 varsity seniors. This year the team is low on numbers, but head coach Michael Pepa says the team is doing “better than I thought.”

With the smaller team, they have had to make some changes, such as having divers swim some events. Something Junior diver, Max Cathey described as challenging, yet helpful to the team. While it can be frustrating for the divers, Head Diving Coach, Holden Henderson says it pays off, “The net benefit is worth it,” he says. While the small numbers cost the team at dual meets, their strong individual performances will should  pay off in the State tournament. The small numbers also have helped with team  comradery. Senior co-captain, Jonas Gillam says, “we’re a lot closer because of it.” With all the hard work this season, especially over Christmas break the team is ready for a strong postseason.

Looking forward, the team is primarily focused on getting as many people to state as possible. Freshman, Evan Dickson says if they “keep at it, and show up every day,” he believes they can achieve those goals.

GIRLS 

The Jeffersonville High School girls swimming and diving team is coming off an impressive second-place finish at Sectionals last year. And this year with strong senior leadership, they believe they have a shot to take back the sectional title. Their goal this year is simple, “Win sectionals,” says freshman Samantha Elsner.

Head coach Michael Pepa says they have been training really well as a group, and he noted the team’s cohesiveness and positive attitudes as reasons for success. Pepa credits the work ethic to the senior leadership, saying,“They’re setting expectations a little higher this year.” Looking towards the postseason, the team has ramped up training, especially over winter break. “We’ve been training really hard, and the work is paying off,” says Senior Bonnie Dixon.

The team is also counting on a strong performance from Sophomore diver, Disney Mullins. This year with two years of diving experience under her belt, Mullins believes she can provide crucial points for the team. “I’m extremely proud of how far I’ve come from last year,” she says. With the work under their belt, to achieve their goals, Senior Captain Alyssa Miller says, “We just have to focus.”

Pam Hall Named Interim Principal at Jeff High

It was announced over the weekend that Pam Hall, current Freshman Academy Principal, will become interim principal at Jeffersonville High School for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Outgoing principal Julie Straight shared the news with faculty and staff via her weekly email newsletter on Sunday night.

pam-hall-cropped

Pam Hall (photo by Paige Moore)

This move is pending board approval on Tuesday, January 14. 

Straight is moving into the position of Academy and CTE (Career and Technical Education) coordinator for Greater Clark County Schools.

Julie Straight Looks Back on Successes, Looks Forward to New Challenges as She Takes on a New Role

It’s a typical Friday night in Johnson Arena. The Jeffersonville Red Devils are taking on the Silver Creek Dragons in a highly anticipated match up. The score is tight as the game is coming down to the wire. The crowd is full and the student sections are roaring back and forth, chanting and taunting. And like so many events at Jeff High, sitting in the upper level watching the school she has been a part of for so many years is Julie Straight. However, something is different about this game. For Straight, it is one of her last as principal of Jeffersonville High School. As the game ends and the crowd fills the gym floor, she looks from the balcony with a smile. And as cheers of “We Are Jeff High” ring out, Straight remarks, “This is what it’s all about: Pride.” 

On Friday, December 20, Greater Clark County Schools announced that Straight would be moving into a new position as Academy and CTE (career and technical educator) coordinator for the district. In this position, she will be taxed with keeping academy curriculum, teachers and opportunities in line with the workforce. Straight believes that her experience in implementing the academy model at Jeff High will help her. “I’ve had all the training…it gives me a great foundation,” she says. 

Straight is excited about the position and believes the job will “present a new challenge” that she has the “skillset to meet.” Straight cited family as the main reason for the move. “I have my first grandbaby coming in March,” she says. “Not living on the Jeff High extracurricular calendar is what I need to do for my family right now.” 

While Straight is excited about her new challenge, she will miss the school she has spent most of her life at as a student, teacher and administrator. “I’ve loved it,” she says. “I don’t regret any of it.”

straight-cheerleader-s-driver

Going back to her days as a student and cheerleader, Principal Julie Straight has always represented Jeff High Pride. – Topic Archives photo by Steven Driver

 Straight’s time at Jeff High began many years before becoming principal. A member of the class of 1982, she was always full of spirit and pride in her school as a student. “I loved high school,” she said. Despite this, Straight didn’t know she wanted to become a teacher at the time.

She went to Purdue for engineering, but she soon realized that wasn’t the path for her. She left college and got married, and when she went back to school she knew she wanted to pursue teaching, and she wanted to teach at Jeff High, but it was not her first teaching job.

“It was a hard job market,” says Straight. However, with some experience from teaching summer school, she was able to find an opening at New Washington. There Straight says she learned a lot and gained valuable teaching experience. 

After two years at New Washington, she got a call from Jeff High and soon landed a job at her dream school. She would remain at Jeff for the rest of her teaching career. 

Straight was an English teacher before moving into an administrative role. For Straight, she says “teaching is all about relationships and problem-solving.” She believes that she gained a lot from teaching that has made her a better principal. “I have a deep appreciation for what teachers are doing, all the balls they are juggling,” she says. “It’s very demanding work.”

Straight initially did not intend to move into administration. “I kinda stumbled in,” she said. “When I was getting my masters, I had 2 children, and the classes that were offered when I could take them were administrative classes and I really liked it.” 

Straight had her administrative license for a couple of years before applying for an administrative position, but eventually she “wanted a new challenge.” She interviewed a couple of times, and in 2010 she stepped into the position of assistant principal. 

Two years later, in 2012, there was a lot of movement within the administration, and after a mid-year switch, Straight became interim principal in October. She has held the top job ever since. 

Coming into the job, Straight says her goals were ensuring the highest-quality teachers and creating more pride in what is happening at Jeff. 

Straight is proud of the many improvements she has seen in her time as principal, “We’ve done good work,” she says. This includes the improvement in academic standing, the district-wide PRIDE program, and the hiring of many great teachers who have “embraced the Jeff High family.” However, Straight is proudest of the many “top-notch” opportunities offered at Jeff, both in the classroom and through extracurriculars. “I really believe, especially for a large urban school, we offer more opportunities than any school around,” she says. 

Although she has loved the job, Straight acknowledges the challenges of being a principal. “There are some really tough decisions that have to be made, but kids have to be first, and that makes other things easier,” she says. “We’ve had some situations with students, where their lives were in the balance or the school’s safety was in the balance…But we’ve come through everything.” 

Another challenge of being a principal is time management. “This has not been a job, this has been my life,” says Straight. As the leader of the school, she feels it is her responsibility to attend the events of the school and to understand and know about all the people and activities occurring at Jeff. “You don’t own your calendar… because things happen,” says Straight, “so you have to be flexible.”

And while often it is easy to get bogged down with all the work, it is her Jeff High community that keeps her head up. “I’ve been exposed to so many great things, events, people, life-changing things,” says Straight, “seeing how people care for our kids definitely has made me a better person.” 

Reflecting back, she hopes that people remember she “took a lot of pride in the work and loved it.” Looking forward, she is optimistic, “I truly hope… that [Jeff High] can and will be better,” she says.

Straight says she will miss many moments at Jeff, but most of all she says, “I’ll miss seeing kids every single day.” As she looks to a new challenge, there is one thing that Straight says will always be true, “I am a Red Devil. That will never change.”

Jeff High Principal Julie Straight Moving Into New GCCS Role

On Dec. 20, 2019, Greater Clark County Schools announced that Jeffersonville High School principal Julie Straight will move into a new role overseeing the school district’s Academies in January. The move is pending school board approval.

The school district will name a new interim principal to lead Jeff High.

On the day of the announcement, Principal Straight spoke with The Hyphen about her time leading Jeff High. Subscribe to The Hyphen on WordPress or follow us on Twitter to be notified immediately when this story is posted  

principal-julie-straight

Principal Straight reacts with joy while watching students and staff play a game at the 2019 fall pep session. Photo by Paige Moore

 

 

 

Is College Needed?

Most children in school are constantly told the benefits of college and getting a college
degree. As generations of children are graduating thinking college is the only option, many jobs are being left open in manufacturing and skilled labor fields. It begs the question, is college the best decision for all students?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 69.1-percent of 2018 high school graduates attend a college or university. This number has stayed about the same (65 to 70-percent) for almost 15 years.

Many skilled labor employers are seeing the effect, Market Watch’s Jefferey Bartash notes that this is the “tightest labor market in decades forcing companies to pay up.” Many young people enter the workforce with a bachelor’s degree, yet not the technical experience to take on these high paying jobs.

College is also becoming increasingly expensive. According to Nitro College, a college financial service provider, the average student will acquire $37,172 in student debt. Nitro also states it take on average 19.7 years for student loans to be paid for a four year education.

The cost of college is also rising. Since 1971, the average cost of a public institution has gone from $8,730 to $21,370. Private institutions have also increased from $18,140 to $48,510 during the same time period. With the costs of college rising, and the increased pay for skilled trades and other careers not requiring a college degree, many high school students are seriously considering whether college is really the best path.

Despite this, college does have its economic benefits. On average, those with a high school degree make about $712 a week. For those with an associates degree, weekly pay averages $836. For those with a bachelor’s degree, it’s $1,173. Those with even further education range from $1,400-1,836 weekly on average. So there is clearly an economic advantage to attending college; however, the opportunity cost must be factored in, as well.

Many high schools are putting in place programs to get students on the path to success, even if that path doesn’t include college. For example Greater Clark County Schools’ adoption of the academies sets up many students up for specific training toward certain careers without a college education. At Jeffersonville High School and around the country, many are realizing that college isn’t always the answer.