The History and Legacy of Jeffersonville’s Taylor High School

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Inspired by Hard Work

The students of Jeff High have many inspirational teachers, celebrities and other adults in their life to look up to. This Black History month, Jeff High students talked about the importance of role models, and the people of color who have inspired them.

 Tara Cofie, a former member of student council and debate team, says her mother inspires her most. “She’s a really hard worker, and I respect the things she does for me,” she says. Cofie and her mother were first-generation immigrants to America from Ghana. Her mother encouraged her to do things she liked and that she was good at, “and I guess I thought I was good at arguing with people,” says Cofie. 

Will Loving-Watts, a basketball fan and player, says that Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant inspire him to work hard. Loving-Watts talks about how the persistence and hard work of Bryant and Durant inspired him to do the same. For example, the day before the state championship, he spent three and a half hours at the gym. “When we won, I felt like they would’ve been proud of me.”

Raquel Lopez is a soccer player, member of Jeff ’s Chefs and yearbook co-editor and she says her parents inspire her most. She wants to be a chef when she’s older and says it’s because of her parents. “My parents poured their hearts into every meal they made and you could always tell who made the food,” Lopez says. “Their food made people happy, and it made me want to do the same for other people.”

 Azarian Bacon, a chess team player, says that Mr. Washington and Mr. Willis inspire him most. “The times they’ve been really proud it is when progress is being made, for me it happened at a rapid pace,” Bacon says. “The first time I played chess I hated it. My eighth grade year I signed up for impacts that didn’t have chess, but I was forced to play it anyway,” he says. Bacon thinks Washington and Willis are proud of him and the improvements he’s made while playing on the chess team. 

The importance of seeing yourself in people around can make all the difference. The inspiration provided by teachers, celebrities and even your own parents can inspire you to pursue anything. As Raquel Lopez says, “For people of color, representation is really important to us. It’s really rare to see ourselves portrayed in TV shows and movies correctly. We often look for people who are similar to us for inspiration, because we desperately want someone to relate to.”

Katie Dorman Spreads Kindness

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

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

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

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

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

Katie Dorman by Marni Scholl

Jeremy Shingleton is Dedicated On and Off the Field

Jeremy Shingleton is a senior at Jeffersonville High School and is a member of the football team. Shingleton, who has been a dedicated player for all four years of his football career, finally saw his hard work paying off when he scored his first touchdown for the football team in their game against Bedford North Lawrence.

The game held on October 18 was a dedicated night for seniors including Shingleton. He says it was his favorite part of being on the team. “It made me really happy when everyone was cheering for me,” he says. He also says it was exciting and although he was a little nervous, seeing all his teachers and teammates there to cheer him on made him
feel better. Shingleton says he loves being on the football team and it’s one of his favorite parts of Jeff High.

Shingleton enjoys many things outside of football, including his student job at Meijers where he is dedicated to helping customers.

“My favorite part is helping every customer that walks in,” he says. Shingleton also says That he hopes to get hired at Meijer so he can work there more and help even more people. (Currently he is participating in a work-study program.)

Shingleton says that although football is one of his favorite activities, his favorite thing to do is helping other people. “I want to help everyone,” Shingleton says. Shingleton also enjoys other sports like wrestling and when he’s not playing football, he’s watching it. He also enjoys school and especially his favorite subject, social studies. Shingleton works hard on the field and even harder at school and work, making him a very dedicated student athlete. “I try to do my best in everything no matter what,” he says.

jeremy-s-kyle-tincher

Isaac Findley is Guided by Faith

isaac-findley-by-paige-moore

On a Wednesday night at Spring Mill State Park, a young man emerged from his baptism in a creek. And he emerged as a new person. Issac Findley is a dedicated football player here at Jeffersonville High. He found his faith in middle school and felt he needed to “take responsibility” for himself, his life and his relationship with God.

Findley made the decision to be baptised in middle school, and describes his baptism as feeling unfearing and courageous, reanimated with a new passion for his life and those ]around him.“It was probably in middle school when I got baptized, because that’s when I really took on my faith as myself and not my parents.” He feels that baptism is when you really “put the holy spirit in your life and live as Jesus would have lived.”

When asked if he ever feels outcast because of his faith, he notes that after declining party invitations he has been mocked for being “too religious.” He says that some will ask him “why are you different?” and he’ll answer, “It’s because of my faith.” He doesn’t feel the need to shove his faith down others’ throats, nor to pass judgment on others; he simply wants to provide a listening ear and a prayer for those who ask for one.

Findley told the story of one such incident where he invited another football player to church. The other made excuses he couldn’t drive, he was busy, he was forced to church in his childhood. Finally, he went with Findley to church, and found his love for God and faith reanimated. Later, Findley asked him to a Bible camp. Eventually, Findley was present for his baptism.

“I don’t want to shove it down people’s throats. “You can come talk to me and I can pray for you,” he says. He thinks some people need to give religion a chance, that it could help them as it has helped others, and that it all affects us in different ways. He feels as though religion has made him more accepting to everyone, and that he wants to include everyone. Findley says that Jesus loves everyone, and asked us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

Findley also says his faith has improved his relationship with his partner, Kiersten. That keeping God in the center and having an emotional and spiritual relationship has helped him and Kiersten be more understanding of each other and to have a better, long lasting relationship. He said it was because “we don’t stress about if we’re good enough.” They go to church every Sunday together, and keep their relationship centered on spirituality.

Findley plans to be an engineer after high school, and attends services Southeast Christian Church. His relationships and life have improved since his baptism, helping him be more open, inviting and long-lasting. He only asks that you give spirituality a chance.

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.”

Disney Mullins Dabbles in Diving and Drama

disney-mullins-by-max-fisherOne week she’s auditioning for the school play, the next week she’s diving headfirst off the diving board. Sophomore Disney Mullins is a busy girl with many interests, which can sometimes be rough, especially on a high schooler. Even with the stress it may come with, she manages to make things work in her favor.

Mullins has been diving since the eighth grade and even though she is three years into the sport, she has managed to achieve a notably high score. In her first year of diving at Jeffersonville High School, she received an MVP award for scoring the most points out of all of her team’s divers.

“I think diving is unique… it’s different from all the other sports out there, and I think that’s what makes it cool and exciting,” she says. “Plus it’s fun to do flips and stuff.”

In addition, Mullins has been doing theater since the age of three. So far, she has
managed to land a total of five leads by age 14, including Oliver Twist from “Oliver! the musical”, Gertrude McFuzz from “Seussical Jr.”, and Tinkerbell in “Peter Pan Jr.” “I really liked Peter Pan,” she states. “It was fun throwing glitter into the audience and into people’s faces.”

One of the biggest issues she has faced is timing. Diving season starts in the fall and
concludes in late winter. Meanwhile, the plays are scattered throughout the year. With the two activities occurring at the same time, Mullins thought she would have to choose one or the other. To her surprise, the coach and theater director were very considerate and helped her figure out a way to do both.

For example, during last year’s diving season, the theater department was rehearsing for The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. “I would go to the most important rehearsals and when there was a dive meet, I’d go to that,” Mullins comments.

Although diving and theater might seem very different, they have one thing in common: Mullins always has an audience. And as long as she has one, she will continue to thrive in what she enjoys.

From Wrestling to Recycling, Adonis Boyd Does It All

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

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

adonis-recyling-photo-by-bella-bungcayao

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

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

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

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

Story by Greta Reel

Movie Review: Frozen 2 is a Dark, But Magical Story About Change

When you hear there is a sequel to a movie coming, your first reaction is that it will never amount to the first movie, or it just won’t be nearly as good or not good at all.

Frozen 2 is not one of those sequels. The six years were worth the wait; you could tell that the movie was well thought out and well made. The storyline is magical and dark. The story of Arendelle might not be as bright and pleasant as a usual Disney kingdom. The story can pull the heartstrings of the youngest of kids and the oldest of adults. A little boy in the theater asked aloud, “but, why?” during a sad scene. Kids could grasp the concept even though it got dark at times, but it was still intriguing for the older audience members.

Photo: Disney

The movie touched on the subject of growing pains and how everything changes and that you probably don’t want things to change. Olaf is mainly the one who realizes these changes. Elsa picks up on them too, but in a different kind of way. Anna seems not to see any changes, even when one affects her. Worrying about the changes in the future can remind you of the past and how it affects your future. Looking back at the memories of Elsa and Anna’s parents, they told the two of them a story of an enchanted forest. That’s where the story continues. There is a lot more than their Norwegen kingdom and the mountains where Elsa’s castle is. Even a whole sea more.

In the last movie, a whole lot of questions were left unsolved. What actually happened to Anna and Elsa’s parents? What was the parent’s story? Most importantly, how did Elsa get her powers? All of those questions will be answered in ways you probably never expected, and in a more-complicated-than-expected way. There are new questions to wonder about now. The movie ends on a cliffhanger, leaving speculation that there will be a third movie. There is more to continue with many new characters. Maybe Frozen will continue like the Ice Age saga and have five movies.

Once again, the music is excellent but different and original. The band, Panic at the Disco, even covers one of Elsa’s songs that is the first song played in the end credits. The movie features a song with Kristoff and his trusty reindeer Sven. The music is once again an absolute earworm, but you won’t be able to stop yourself from listening to it. Elsa also once again shows off her architectural skills with her ice powers during one of her main songs.

All the way around, Frozen 2 is a must-see, and if you stay till the end of the credits, there is a fun short scene like there was in the last Frozen movie.

Written by Marni Scholl

 

RED! WHITE! RED! WHITE! We all fight for the Jeff High Spirit Stick — but WHY?

 

 It’s homecoming season. You’ve waited all week and the pep rally is finally here. You are separated by classes. Underclassmen are wearing red and upperclassmen are wearing white. You’re screaming back and forth, yelling ” RED!” and ” WHITE!” at the top of your lungs, all to win the spirit stick. But why is a red cardboard tube worth so much to Jeff High students? 

Principal Julie Straight says the answer is simple: “There’s pride in fighting for the school together, just showing that spirit and pride for the school.” A Jeff High graduate, Straight remembers battling over a spirit stick when she was a student — although it wasn’t the same spirit stick we have now. 

The current spirit stick came from Nancy Molnar, a former teacher at Jeff, who made it herself in the early 1990s. She says, “I had new carpet installed in my house. When it was completed…the installer asked if I needed the carpet roll. I looked at it and immediately knew it would work. I sawed the length I knew I could handle at school and big enough for students to see. I fluffed up the plastic at the end to appear like something…perhaps a flame. I placed it on my husband’s sawhorses and painted it red, bought the striped ribbon and glued it down on the stick.” 

Although we don’t know exactly when Jeff High students started battling over some form of stick, we do know that a similar tradition that has been around for many decades. A 1972 yearbook photo shows students claiming a “spirit jug” at a pep rally.  

Principal Straight says that this history and tradition is part of what makes every battle over the spirit stick great. “It brings that bit of nostalgia.”

The seniors claimed the spirit stick at this year’s fall homecoming pep rally.
The 1972 Jeff High yearbook shows a predecessor to the spirit stick: the spirit jug. The caption reads, “J.V. cheerleader, Vanessa Rorrer accepts the spirit jug for the Sophs. from varsity cheerleader Bev Brogan.”


Story by Kaitlyn Monroe

 

Three… Two… One… Bing! Mario Kart Tour Sets Off Suddenly

Popping into all Apple and Android devices has come a new game that almost everyone has downloaded already. Mario Kart Tour, since its release in App stores around 12:00 a.m. today, has been the talk amongst the folks of Jeffersonville High School and many other places. 

Though an hour after its release, it was taken into maintenance. This causes some people to freak out for a good second, but thankfully they were quickly able to put it back up and working again — letting people calm down and be able to keep enjoying it. 

Mario Kart Tour has become a fast growing addiction with the younger audiences (12 years and older). Many teens can be seen playing the game during their free time. 

Even though the game does not have the option to play with friends, people have created fun little competitions amongst each other. Seeing who can get this many races done first in a certain amount of time, or who can finish the most tracks done by the end of the week. 

One of the ups of this game, is that it gives its players a sort of nostalgic feeling. Those who had played the Mario Kart games as kids, whether on the Wii or nintendo devices, can now relive those fun moments through  the simple tap of a finger. 

Mario Kart Tour, only being out a few hours, has certainly made a wide fan base. And will no doubt be argued as one of the most popular games of the year. 

During 2017 and 2018 Fornite took over the video game industry. Now it’s time for an old family favorite to take over the reins for the remainder of 2019 and through 2020.

 

Written by Lydia Church