How to Walk in the Hallways / Tips to avoid hatred from peers

Story by Max Fisher

After a year of quarantines and online learning, the Jeff High hallway crowds are back again, and students have taken notice. “The hallways are so crowded it makes no sense,” said Miles Harper, a Jeff High student. While others like Toby Kauchak echoed similar concerns, saying, “They’re very crowded and loud.” Year after year, students clustering together in crowds during passing and blocking movement in the hallways and stairwells have become a hallmark of the Jeff High experience. While some congestion is inevitable, here are a few tips to make your hallway experience and that of your peers much easier.

– There is never a reason to talk in a circle. There is nothing worse than walking down the hallway and being stopped by a group of people talking in a circle. If it is that serious–and it probably isn’t–please at least try to find a more spacious area such as the commons. And if you can’t do that, feel free to discuss in a more compatible shape such as a line or a condensed oval.

– No Public Displays of Affection. The love of your life will still be there after the hour and a half class, and, no matter what you think, people do not want to see that. Your friends definitely mock you for this behind your back.

– Walk on the right side of the hallway. There is no reason to walk on the left unless you are heading to a locker or a class. Please stick to the right.

– The main stairs are actually not the best place to have a meaningful conversation. Despite what you might think, your conversation is most likely to be heard by the 50 people who walk by you. If you really need to talk, just know that literally anywhere else in the school is a better spot.

– Don’t run. You are at school, it’s not worth running. However, an exception can be made for light jogs to the lunch line? Especially if heading to the sandwich line to avoid waiting for food for over half your lunch. 

Hopefully, these tips will help create a better hallway experience, and if not, it’s at least nice to complain about this perennial problem.

Instagram Activism – Student Opinions / Performative activism or genuine political action?

Story by Max Fisher

Last year, as protests swept the country, advocating for an end to police brutality and racial equity in America, Instagram was plastered with political content created by young people. Content posted contained everything from informational messages about current events to fiery opinions from both sides of the political spectrum. Now it seems that you can’t spend longer than a minute on Instagram without encountering some political content. We all know the posts. Often it’s a post with multiple pages, providing facts and commentary about a controversial topic or political issue ranging from defunding thepoliceto abortion rights, all with a perfectly curated aesthetic design.

According to a 2021 Harvard Youth Poll, political participation is up among young Americans compared to past generations. Today 36%of Americans aged 18-29 years old are politically active compared to 24%from 12 years ago. The same poll reports that one-third of respondents said that politics had gotten in the way of a friendship for them. Ultimately, politics is increasingly seeping into the personal lives of young people and social media is one of the most significant ways to track this increase in political participation among young people.

An issue that has arisen following the increase of political content on social media is whether these posts should be considered “performative activism”. Performative activism is when a person posts something with the intention of increasing popularity or follower-ship rather than engaging in genuine political action. In other words, many critics have accused Instagram activists of posting political content to appear politically active rather than actually participating in politics in real life.

Jeff High students have many different opinions on Instagram political activism. Sophomore Elle Marble says she doesn’t post political content on her story, and she feels most of the time posting is more about virtue signaling, or superficially displaying moral character, rather than changing minds, “That [posting political information] doesn’t lead to people changing their mindsets or views. So the only goal you end up achieving is showing people where you stand.”

Senior Justus Bowman says she will post on Instagram whenever something is important and needs to be shared, but she also expressed some criticism about using Instagram for political activism. “It allows people to post and share content but it can sometimes lead to activism stopping at the post,” Bowman said.

Mirroring the current political climate in America, there is no consensus among users on how to appropriately post political content on social media. However, as political participation continues to trend younger and social media continues to impact politics, the debate over how to use Instagram for political activism will certainly continue to be an issue.

Will Biden Cancel Student Debt?

For years parents, teachers, and mentors all had a simple formula for success – go to college. However, while many college graduates leave with better job prospects and a diploma, often these young adults also leave with large amounts of debt. According to Forbes, by February of this year, the collective student debt in American topped $1.7 trillion spread over about 45 million people. Now President Joe Biden is considering how to tackle this challenge, and as students burdened by this debt enter an uncertain economy, many questions remain.

In the first 100 days of his administration, Biden has taken some steps to lessen the amount of debt for certain borrowers. For example, Biden has already cancelled debt for 72,000 victims of fraud and 41,000 debt holders with disabilities, according to Business Insider. Despite these progressive actions, many activist groups and Democratic politicians are urging the Biden administration to do more to tackle student debt.

In 2020, then-candidate Biden promised to cancel $10,000 in student debt for each American borrower. He planned to forgive these debts using his authority from the Higher Education Act of 1965, which many believe gives the President the authority to cancel student debt. Biden is said to have directed his Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to assess the legal issues surrounding student debt cancellation. 

Despite these recent moves, many progressives are pushing Biden to cancel $50,000 of student debt for all American borrowers. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York is part of the group pushing for the larger debt cancellation saying, “It will do so much good for America.” The debate inside the Democratic Party represents one of the first big disagreements of Biden’s Presidency. Advocates for cancelling larger sums of debt say it would help stimulate the economy and decrease the racial wealth gap, while Biden and his allies argue forgiving those large sums of debt for all Americans would benefit some who are wealthier and chose to attend private institutions.

As the debate rages in Washington, the people affected weigh their options. Senior Joselen Lopez cites student loan debt as a huge factor in her college decision, “Financial Aid is always my first consideration. I hope that the Biden Administration takes action and gives more thought to forgiving outstanding loans and decreasing future student debt,” she says. Lopez will attend IU Bloomington in the fall.

As pressure mounts from activists, students, and politicians, Biden will face the same question about student debt that has defined his presidency so far – just how big will Biden go?

New x Two: Jeff High Basketball Rebounds With New Boys and Girls Basketball Coaches

Coach Melissa Voyles – Girls Basketball

Coach Melissa (Missy) Voyles took the head coaching job at Jeff High because it presented a great opportunity and a great challenge. Prior to coaching at Jeff, Voyles had coached at North Harrison. However, she wanted the chance to coach at a division 4A (the high school sports division for the largest schools) school like Jeff. She also saw the girls basketball team as a program with potential. “It’s always a program that could really be dominant,” she says.

Despite her optimism, there was a clear challenge for the Red Devils this year: injuries. Voyles said this season they had five ACL tears, one broken wrist, and two concussions. “I have never seen this many injuries,” she says. Despite these challenges she has been pleased with the level of dedication her players have shown, saying, “They play hard every day. I can’t fault them for that.” With this dedication has come improvement, according to Voyles.


Going into the season in a tough conference, and after losing a lot of senior talent last year, Voyles says, “I knew it would be a big struggle win-or-loss wise.” However, she credits her team’s leadership and hard work with their success this year, specifically, she credited Neveah Bates (junior), Baily Gibson (senior), Ajia Estes (senior), Tatum McFarland (sophomore), and Sofia Reese (sophomore) with creating a contagious positive atmosphere on the team.


For the postseason, the goal was simple for Voyles. “I want to compete with Bedford.” On Feb. 5, 2021, Jeffersonville fell to Bedford North Lawrence 62-36 in the Sectional Semi-final. Despite their season coming to an end, the Devils were able to keep the game within 10 points with the fourth-ranked Stars, until the fourth quarter.

Coach Andrew Grantz – Boys Basketball

Coach Andrew Grantz says he took the boys basketball job at Jeff High for many reasons, including “the history, the tradition, and the fan support here at Jeff.” Grantz also wanted to return to coaching in Indiana, and with the talent at Jeff High, he was excited at the opportunity to build the program.


For Grantz, the biggest difference between this job and his past coaching gigs is the community. “You know, Providence was a great place to be,” he says, “but you know with a private school, you’re pulling from all different directions.” He feels that the closeness in the Jeff High community really sets the program apart, and unlike Fort Myers, Florida (where he was for a past coaching job), basketball is a bigger deal here in Indiana.


For Grantz, his pride in his team was on display after the first semester when he learned the team had a GPA of 3.4 (highest in program history according to Grantz). For him this accomplishment was important as a coach because “they’re setting themselves up for life after basketball,” he says.


Leading up to the season, with all the confusion about COVID-19, he says the goal was simple: “Let’s just play games.” He also felt that despite the loss of a talented senior class last year, the team would be strong.


Despite his optimism, he does feel one of the major challenges was Jeff’s lack of a consistent feeder program. “Whenever I was younger there was the JYBL (Jeff Youth Basketball League), and if you look at the run Jeff had in the ’90s, that happened right after JYBL started,” Grantz says. He hopes to be able to tackle this problem, which he believes will really help the program as it has before.

Looking toward the end of the season, his goal for his team is simple: “We want to reach our full potential… if we do that or come close to that we have a chance to make a run in the postseason.” Over the season, he says the team has “had flashes of it.” But to reach his goal it’s about “putting it all together at once.”

By Max Fisher

Jeff High Senior Jasmine Fondrisi Sings Her Way to the Finals

Jasmine Fondrisi performs the national anthem before the 3A Girls Basketball State Finals.
Photo Credit: News and Tribune

Eight years ago, on the advice of her friends, 4th grader Jasmine Fondrisi asked to sing the national anthem before a Utica Elementary School basketball game. The scene on that day in the elementary gymnasium was much different than the scene on Feb. 27, 2021, as Fondrisi stood, center stage, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis singing the national anthem prior to the Class 3A Girls Basketball State Finals.

“Ever since I was little I loved singing, and I loved performing,” she says. That love was showcased in her participation in cheerleading, theater, and music all throughout middle school. But despite her talent, many at Jeff High didn’t necessarily know Fondrisi for her voice prior to this year. As an active student, she is just about everywhere: the IMPACT slides warning about avoiding dangerous situations, the auditorium preparing to perform, the football sideline cheering on the team or in the studio as a broadcaster for WJHI (Jeff’s radio and TV station).

Yet this year she was given a new opportunity to represent Jeff High, by singing the national anthem before basketball games. Fondrisi says she got the opportunity simply by asking. As she was sitting in the stands watching her sister play, she recalls relaying to her grandma that she wished she could sing the national anthem. “The worst they could say is no,” her grandma remarked. So she asked the athletic office for the opportunity to sing the anthem prior to tip-off. When they said yes, Fondrisi was once again ready to do what she loved. 

After that, it became a routine — and as she continued to perform, the compliments didn’t stop. One of those compliments came from the referees at the boys New Albany game, along with an offer to sing the national anthem at the state finals this year. After they exchanged information, and the IHSAA approved, the stage was set.

This performance was different than the usual at Jeff High. Rather than warming up in her car, she warmed up in the bathroom, and instead of easily maneuvering through a gym she had been to all her life, she admits she got lost in Bankers Life. Fondrisi summed up the experience in one word – “surreal.” She began as she had so many times before, and as she finished with “home of the brave,” her performance was met with cheers and applause.

For Fondrisi, singing the national anthem means a lot, whether in fourth grade or high school. “I feel proud because I get to represent myself, and I get to represent the school,” she says.  

Black Out: Jeff High Staff Wear Black to Protest Proposed Changes to State Education Funding

English teacher Allison Clary was one of several teachers who wore black on February 24 to support the #Blackout4Ed movement

Many Jeff High teachers wore black on Wednesday Feb. 24, in opposition to recent actions by the state legislature and Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb. While Greater Clark staff typically wear red on Wednesdays as part of their “Red for Ed”campaign, the teachers participating in “Black out for Ed” opted for the color change to underscore the gravity of the moment. “The situation is dire,” said Jeff High English teacher Allison Clary.

The primary reason for the protest is Indiana House Bill No. 1001. The bill has drawn considerable opposition from many including the Indiana State Teachers Association and former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick. 

Passing on a near party line vote, the bill would increase education spending by 378 million dollars over the next two years. However, more than a third of the increase is targeted toward voucher programs rather than public schools according to WDRB.

Jeff High Principal Pam Hall cited the budget as her reason for wearing black on Wednesday saying, “[the budget] affects every student in our building.” She also had strong words for the legislators who passed the bill saying, “politicians are robbing Jeff High students of the money they are entitled to and deserve.”

Principal Pam Hall wore black on February 24 to support the #Blackout4Ed movement

The bill adds to a laundry list of complaints many teachers’ unions and public education advocates have toward Governor Eric Holcomb and Indiana Republicans. “Holcomb is not really a friend of public education,” said Clary.

Jeff High teacher Kristen Case cited other reasons for wearing black, saying she “hopes the governor will get vaccines pushed out to teachers and keep teachers well paid.”

The bill still has to be passed by the senate and signed by the governor prior to becoming law.

Story by Max Fisher

Greater Clark School Board Will Vote on Cost Reduction Plan Tomorrow

Superintendent Mark Laughner says changes are crucial to making GCCS more financially stable

On Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, the Greater Clark County School Board will vote on the Cost Reduction Plan proposed by Superintendent Mark Laughner and his cabinet. If passed, the plan will cut the budget by over six million dollars in an effort to move the district away from deficit spending and restore cash balances, two things Laughner believes are crucial to making GCCS a more financially stable district. Laughner believes this plan uses money more efficiently, allowing for what he said is the ultimate goal, “Getting all the resources you can possibly get back into the classroom.”

One of the primary concerns for Laughner was the possibility of the Distressed Unit Appeals Board (DUAB) action. This board, created in 2012 by the Indiana Legislature, is meant to address school boards and other institutions in need of relief. According to Laughner, DUAB first looks to see whether a district has a plan in place to correct its financial state. At that point, they will often take action. That is a process Laughner hopes to avoid with the passage of the Cost Reduction Plan. 

Greater Clark County will cut about 3 million dollars from both the Educational Budget and the Operational Budget. Here is a closer look at the changes in the Cost Reduction Plan:

Education Budget

Bridgepoint Closing (Savings – $800,000 per year)

Under the proposal, Bridgepoint Elementary in Jeffersonville will close, and its students will be sent to either Franklin Square or Riverside Elementary. Bridgepoint staff will be moved to the new schools proportionally, and certain staff will be reassigned to different positions. For Laughner, the decision is an efficiency issue, “It’s not financially efficient to have small elementary schools anymore,” he says. However, he also highlighted the benefits of the larger and newer elementary schools for students, saying, “it’s just a better environment.” 

Corden Porter Site Changes (Savings – $500,000 per year)

The Reduction Plan will also seek to shift the Corden Porter program out of its centralized location in Downtown Jeffersonville to different locations. The high school portion of the program will be moved back into the Jeffersonville High School building, and the middle school program would be moved to Parkview Middle School. For Laughner, the goal for Corden Porter students is “to get them back to their home school” by allowing students to slowly immerse back into the school community, while still maintaining a separate area of the school for the students.

Elementary School Related Arts Staffing Change (Savings – $600,000)

In this plan, most related arts education would be taught by Related Arts Specialists supervised by four Related Arts Coordinators at the district level, who will be tasked with designing a consistent curriculum for the Related Arts Specialists. The plan also retains 1 certified teacher for related arts in each Elementary School. To attain this goal, the district will hire around 19 Related Arts Specialists and reassign 10 Media Clerks as Media/Tech Related Arts Specialists. Laughner believes this change, similar to one proposed last year, will “help us have a strong related arts program at the elementary level.” Laughner made sure to clear up some confusion, asserting that this plan in no way eliminates any related arts programs for elementary students and clarifying that it would not lead to the firing of any teachers.

Paraeducation Position Changes (Savings – $300,000)

The proposed Reduction Plan would reduce the number of paraeducation positions in the district. It would also usher in a hybrid approach in which some para-educators would be full-time while others would be part-time (29 hours). According to Laughner, the district would not take away benefits from any current paraeducators. On his decision, Laughner cited efficiency and the district’s difficulty acquiring paraprofessionals.“For years we’ve had a hard time filling para positions,” he says. He also said the district would be strategic to make sure this cut didn’t affect the classroom. 

Other Reductions within the Education Budget

  • Reducing 5 classified positions (Savings – $174,000)
  • Reducing 5 certified (full-time) positions through attrition  (Savings – $347,000)
  • Reducing early childhood education (ECA) positions (Saving – $140,000)
  • Contract Reductions for Administrators (Savings – $62,000)
  • Readjusting grant spending to offset educational spending (Savings – $30,000)
  • Attrition of other certified positions (Savings – $150,000)

Operational Budget

Custodial Service Outsourcing (Savings – Estimated $800,000, but will depend on provider)

If the Cost Reduction Plan is approved, Greater Clark will advertise for an outsourced provider of all maintenance and custodial services. While Laughner can’t guarantee that all current custodial staff will keep their jobs, he does guarantee that they will be able to apply to the new provider. He believes the outsourced provider will be able to pay workers more and provide a solid benefits plan. Acknowledging that this plan may leave current employees feeling uncertain, he said, “One thing I can assure you is that we are going to treat our employees fairly.”

Two-Tiered Busing for Jeffersonville Schools (Savings – $495,000)

Under the proposed plan, Greater Clark will implement a two-tiered busing system for Jeffersonville Schools. Currently, Jeffersonville operates with a three-tiered bus model (different buses for each age group: high school, middle school, and elementary.) If approved,  Jeffersonville schools will shift to a two-tiered system in which middle and high schoolers will ride the same buses. However, the policy could result in 10-15 minute longer bus drives for students, and bus drivers will now be tasked with dividing middle and high school students on the bus. Like many of the changes, Laughner believes the policy will, “allow us (GCCS) to be more efficient.”

Other Reductions within the Operations budget

  • Guaranteed Energy Savings Contract (Savings – $ 524,000, but will expand over time)
  • Reassign 2 permanent subs as bus drivers, and 1 permanent sub as an administrative office assistant (Savings – $135,000 per year)
  • Eliminate two New Washington Routes (Savings – $91,000 per year)
  • Estimated Reduction in the price of Service Contracts (Savings – $385,000)
  • Reduction of Maintenance positions through attrition ($50,000)
  • Moving bus drivers from collective bargaining agreement (CBA) leave to 2-day emergency leave (Savings – $236,000)
  • Other operational adjustments (Saving – $323,000)

Outlook for the Board Vote

Going into the meeting, Laughner expressed confidence in the board. “I’m fairly confident that they see the issue at hand and that they see that we have to do something,” Laughner said. Laughner also said that if the board doesn’t approve the budget, he would be forced to “go back and look at cutting teaching positions.” For him the choice is simple: “Essentially … we have to do something with our budget. You can’t spend more money than you’re bringing in for very long.”

The GCCS board will vote on the Budget Reduction at their 6 p.m. meeting on Jan. 26, 2020. The public can comment on the plan via a Google Form and watch the meeting at https://livestream.com/gccschools

*All price saving values are based on GCCS estimates

Story by Max Fisher

So … What Happened Election Night?

So, what’s going on? First, we do not have a winner at the presidential level. Despite what either candidate says, there is no winner. Second, the Senate is also still up for grabs as many close elections go uncalled. Finally, Democrats early in the night did claim a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, per multiple sources. 

So here are some answers to many of your lingering questions about this election.

Why is this election taking longer to count than past elections?

This election broke records for early voting (both in-person or mail-in), in most cases, these ballots take more time to count. This is also complicated as some states allow mail-in ballots to be counted after election day if they are postmarked by election day. This is why it is taking much longer to count.

When will we know the results?

Each state is different, so it is difficult to know when the election results from each state will be final. For example, North Carolina can accept mail-in ballots until November 12, so it is difficult to predict an outcome especially if the outstanding ballots could change the results. But one thing is for sure, election results are final when, and only when, all the votes are counted, despite what either candidate claims.

At the presidential level what states are still up for grabs?

As of 7 a.m., based on ABC News projections, there are still nine states uncalled. While some of these (such as Arizona) have been called on other broadcasts, ABC News has not called the state. The states that are still uncalled are: Nevada, Arizona, Alaska, Wisconsin, Michigan, Maine, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Georgia. 

Why did President Donald Trump claim victory?

While most candidates often speak in optimistic hyperbole, this claim is verifiably false at this point. He has not won the election. 

Will this election be decided in the courts?

There is no definitive answer to this question at the moment. Elections have always been litigated and argued over (think Bush v. Gore). And even in this election there were many legal suits brought over election law. However, what the president is suggesting would be a challenge to election law after the election. While this wouldn’t be unprecedented, courts are much less likely to alter results after the election. 

Who’s up, who’s down?

At the moment, Joe Biden is in a better place than the president, at 7 a.m. based on ABC News projections, Biden has an electoral vote lead of 225 to 213. However, this race is far from over; while Biden is favored, Trump still has a chance. In this election each state is different, and each state has different votes left.

One thing that complicates the results is the stark divide between early votes and in person votes. Election data and polling numbers indicate that early voting across the country was much more advantageous for Democrats, while election day voting was much more positive for Republicans. This means that what kind of votes are left to count is key to predicting the results. So let’s look at the states.

  • Alaska – With about 36% reporting, Trump is leading big (61%-35%). However, with such a small amount of votes, it is hard to extrapolate from the data. Despite this, Trump was predicted to win the state.
  • Arizona – While ABC has not called the state, many other outlets such as Fox News have called the race for Joe Biden. This is because with over 80% reporting Biden is leading by 5 points. 
  • Georgia – Early in the night, Georgia looked like it was going to go into Trump’s column, but now with 92% reporting, Trump leads by 2 percentage points (50%-48%). The reason this race has not been called is because of where the outstanding ballots are from. For example, in heavily democratic leaning areas such as Atlanta, there are many votes left to count. 
  • Maine – Maine has been a surprise, not because of the results, but because of how slow they have been when it comes to counting. Despite this, most news outlets have called Maine for Joe Biden. As of right now with over 70% reporting, Biden leads by 13 points.
  • Michigan – Michigan is tight with Trump in a narrow lead with 86% reporting. The state has not been called because the remaining votes are primarily early votes which favor the challenger, Biden.
  • Nevada – With 86% reporting, the state is virtually tied. The remaining votes are expected to be early votes, which is expected to favor Biden. 
  • North Carolina – North Carolina stands with a 1 point lead for Trump with 95% of votes reported. The reason for the state not being called is that ballots can still be received until November 12.
  • Pennsylvania – In the state that was expected to decide it all Trump is leading by a 9 point lead with 75% of the votes reported. While this seems like a large lead, there are still tons of votes to count in left leaning counties such as Alleghany and Philadelphia. 
  • Wisconsin – Joe Biden holds a narrow lead with 97% of vote reported. The remaining vote is expected to favor Biden, but the results will be close.

As of right now, Biden definitely has an easier path to victory than Trump, but it is not over, and Trump has come from behind before.

What is next?

Ahead there is a lot of uncertainty and a lot of counting. It’s important to remember that despite ensuing chaos and false claims, it’s not over until the last vote is counted.

Editor’s notes:

  • ABC News predictions were chosen for this article because of their tendency to make calls conservatively and wait until there is overwhelming evidence of a victory.
  • The data and results in this article are constantly changing, The Hyphen recommends following major news outlets for the latest results.

Written by Max Fisher

Election Day By the Numbers: 2020 Features High-Stakes Races and High Voter Turnout

Heading into election day, over 95 million Americans have already voted according to the U.S. Elections Project. This record level of early voting is indicative of one of the most hotly contested and divisive elections in U.S. history. 

The election has also been complicated by COVID-19. States and localities have had to scramble to find the resources, money, and people needed to hold a high-turnout election safely. In many states, the solution was to expand mail-in and early, in-person. This adds a new level uncertainty as the different levels of government attempt to deal with the unprecedented levels of early voting. This could also lead to delayed election results, as certain states allow ballots to be received after election day. 

In America, election administration is given as a state duty by the constitution. This results in many different systems and rules based on the location. Also, as the election is playing out, many lawsuits have been decided or are being litigated to decide which ballots will count. This uncertainty has many on the left worried that the president will use this uncertainty to claim victory with a lack of any evidence. 

What is clear is what’s at stake on this election day: Democrats are on offense with a chance to claim a trifecta (Control of the House, Senate, and Presidency) at the federal level. Starting with the House, FiveThirtyEight (a data-focused news outlet that predicts election results based on polling and other variables) gives the Democrats a 98 percent chance of keeping control of the chamber. The Senate is a little tougher but still has Democrats optimistic. FiveThirtyEight gives Democrats a 76 percent chance of holding on to the chamber. And finally, at the presidential level, the site says Joe Biden has a 90 percent chance of winning the presidency. It should be noted that the forecasts do not factor in judicial challenges to the results. 

Presidency

At the presidential level, Joe Biden is squarely in the lead, and unless there is an unprecedented polling error, President Donald Trump will have to run the tables in all the battleground states. 

How Trump Could Win: To win, Trump will have to make up a large deficit in the polls to Biden, and he will have to rely on key demographics in swing states to reach 270. First Trump has to hold onto the states that he didn’t think he’d have to defend. Most major pollsters show races in Texas, Georgia, Iowa, and Ohio are close to a dead heat in polling; Trump carried these states handily last time. If Trump doesn’t hold on to all four of these toss-ups, the race is over for him. On top of that Trump will also have to win in three swing states in the South, as well as North Carolina, Arizona and Florida. Without these three states the president has little chance of prevailing. And finally, on top of all of that he would have to come from behind to win in Pennsylvania where the most recent New York Times poll has Biden leading by six points. While it may be easy to count the president out, it was only four years ago when the political outsider shocked the world by crushing his predictions and winning the White House.

How Biden Could Win: Biden’s path to 270 electoral votes isn’t complicated or nearly as hard as Trump’s. Simply put, out of the eight competitive states (Pennsylvania, Ohio, Arizona, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Iowa and Texas), Biden needs to win one. If he is able to capture just one of these states he will win the presidency. Despite what seems like an easy task, the left is still haunted by their false optimism four years ago.

Senate 

The outcome of the senate will have a large effect on the governing success of whomever wins the White House. Right now, the Senate is composed of 53 Republicans and 47 Democrats. And Democrat Doug Jones of Alabama is very unlikely to win reelection. This means that to control the senate, the Democrats will need to gain four seats if Biden wins and five seats if he doesn’t win. (The reason for this difference: the Vice President would cast the deciding vote in a tie, meaning that Democrat Kamala Harris would add another vote if Biden wins). 

Democrats are favored to take back seats in Colorado, Maine, North Carolina and Arizona. They also have a nearly 50-50 chance of taking two seats, in Georgia and Iowa. They also have an outside shot of picking up seats in Montana, South Carolina, Alaska and Kansas. There will also most likely be a runoff in Georgia for its second Senate senate seat later this year (a runoff occurs when no candidate reaches 50 percent in the first election, then the top two candidates face off.)

House

For the Republicans to even have a chance to win the House, there would need to be a massive polling error, in which the news media dramatically misrepresented the views of the American public. The Democrats are almost certain to retain a majority in the house.

The Bottom Line

While each individual race is local and has many issues that depend on the state, the stakes at the national level are clear: if Biden wins on election night and Democrats retake the Senate while holding on the House, the Democratic Party will have a trifecta for the first time since Barack Obama’s first term. 

Written by Max Fisher

Jeff High’s Confusing First Quarter

As students wrap up the first quarter, the hallways are much less crowded than in years past.

As the first quarter nears the end, Jeffersonville High School students are wrapping up a first nine weeks like none before. The school year began with a virtual week and there have been non-stop changes ever since. On September 25, Jeff High will complete its first quarter with more than one-third the days being e-learning and more than half of the student body working through MySchool Online. 

While the year has been abnormal, Jeffersonville High School Principal Pam Hall is proud of how the students have handled the changes. “I have been so pleasantly surprised,” says Hall. You [students] all have been so compliant, behavior has been wonderful. You all had a lot of changes thrown at you.” 

Hall also feels that the school has dealt with the challenges well and was well prepared for the situation. She says they are constantly getting guidance from the health department, and they have a well-tested system in place.

When Hall is informed of a positive test of a Jeff High student, she asks the student a series of questions to better understand their activities and how to proceed with contact tracing. This includes retracing the infectected person’s location to assess who they were in close contact with and to find others possibly infected. Then she lets the central office know of the case. The nurse determines the contact tracing time frame, and then in building personnel find and alert students that have been in close contact.

One of the most dynamic aspects of this school year is the decision-making on in-person schooling. While the decision is made at the district level, Hall says they decide based on the quality of work students would receive. For example, she cites the school closure for the week of August 17-21. For this week, many teachers were out for legitimate reasons and in looking at the numbers they came to the decision that students would be better academically served by an e-learning week. 

Despite cooperation from students, parents, teachers, and staff, some aspects of high school are impossible to replicate at this point in time. And for Hall, that’s what makes her most disappointed especially for the seniors. 

Looking forward, Hall would love to get back to a normal school environment, saying, “I miss the excitement. I miss all the things that come with school.” But she acknowledges the reality of this year.  “I don’t know if after this school year it will ever look like it did before.”

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

Jeffersonville High School 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.”