D-Crew: Fired Up For Fridays

Story by Haylee Hedrick

From the moment that water started spurting out of the firehose, Gabi Knittle’s face exploded with uncontrollable joy and excitement. Knittle, who is a member of Angela Kern’s Careers Exploration class, accompanies a handful of classmates as they take a field trip to see their buddy, Sergeant Justin Ames, every Friday at the firehouse.

This weekly field trip is made possible through the C.H.O.I.C.E program, which is an acronym that stands for ‘Community Helping Our Youth In Career Education.’ In this case, the youth is a group of eight special needs students known as the D-crew. (The Fire Department is split into A, B, and C crews.)

Special education teacher Angela Kern loves the program, especially Sergeant Ames’ connection with the students.

“I love that Sergeant Ames communicates with every kid,” Kern said. She said that Ames makes sure that the students are comfortable when they’re at the firehouse, and teaches them about communicating and working with others around the community.

“The activities that he does with the students help teach them soft skills they will need for later in life,” Kern said.

Before each lesson, Ames takes note of what the students are learning in the classroom so he can further apply it in their D-crew activities.

“He (Sergeant Ames) takes as much pride in this program as we do,” Kern said.

At the firehouse, the D-crew does a variety of activities, with one in particular called “Rescuing Randy.” During the activity, two students wrap ropes around a dummy (nicknamed Randy) and work together to maneuver him to safety. The activity teaches the students about the importance of teamwork.

“Without one, then the other cannot do their job,” Ames tells the class.

Ames also lets the students spray the fire hose. Two students hold the hose in place as one works the nozzle. This also allows students to work together, as they alternate roles so that each member of D-Crew gets a chance to spray.

“They love using the hose,” Kern said. “Some of them get crazy when it comes to the spraying part, though.”

During these activities, the students get to learn valuable lessons, whether they realize it or not.

“We’re proud to be involved in this great program, which allows us to help (the students)  be successful later in life,” Ames said.

When asked what their favorite part of the trip is, the D-crew students’ responses were joyfilled: “The hose!” Justin Keith and TreVeon Polk said.  

Sergeant Ames attempts to connect with all of the crew, even Deija Franklin, who is deaf. He signs her name to her to get her attention.  

When asked what she thinks of Ames, she responded with a smile.

“He signs to me and helps me,” Deija signed.

Feature Football

Overton Overachieving

Story by Carlos Molina

Jeffersonville senior offensive tackle/defensive end Dayna Overton has been catching the attention of some of the country’s most prestigious football programs.

Dayna Overton using a punching bag during training day for the University of Louisville

Overton has been part of the Jeff High football team all four years, and has spent one year as a member of the Jeff track and field team.

The returning Red Devil made a huge impression on his coaches and teammates his junior year. Last season, Overton became an offensive Varsity starter among an offensive line full of seniors. He quickly earned the respect of his fellow teammates, and his opponents on the other side of the ball.

His time on the track also benefited him in football.

“I believe track helped me as a competitor,” Overton said. “It really helped me get rid of the nervousness when under pressure to perform at a high level. Now after track season, I don’t get nervous in the spotlight like I used to.”

A big reason for his success was his self motivation, and the support from his family, friends, and teammates. Overton’s mother, Amanda Kinnaird, played volleyball in her time at Jeff. The former Red Devil knows what sports mean to the community, and only wants to help him gain a competitive edge on his opponents.

“We’ve seen the success he’s been having and we’re behind him 100-percent,” Kinnaird said. “He’s always been a talented athlete — people are just now starting to notice.”

Overton’s parents have been there every step of the way, cheering him on from home football games, as well as track meets that are as much as four hours away.

“I think that the motivation to push myself to be a better player was always inside of me. I just had to find it with myself,” Overton said. “But also having a great pair of parents behind me, always motivating me to get better everyday.”

Dayna Overton working with other prospective lineman during his training

Teammates, like quarterback Cameron Northern, have noticed the leadership skills he’s developed recently. Aware with the hard work he’s been putting in, they’ve set him to high standards.

“I hope to see him get his first offer and just become the player I know he can be,” Northern said. “I just want to see him dominate, see him being All-Conference, and maybe an All-State performance. He used to be an okay football player, but now he’s one of our best lineman and hardest workers.”

Jeffersonville head coach Alfonzo Browning has seen the way Overton has been growing the past two years. Browning’s star tackle has been an unsung hero on his high-powered offense.

“Dayna’s grown up a lot in the last two years,” Browning said. “His biggest improvement has been mental. He’s realized that he has a ton of untapped potential that he is now getting a grasp of. He’s helping lead a unit that will probably be the strength of our team.”

On July 15, Overton’s hard work paid off, as the tackle was invited to a seniors-only camp at the University of Louisville called Light up the Ville, which was hosted by Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino and his staff.

The camp marked the third time in the past year Overton has been invited to their training facility. Over the past summer, Overton has attended camps at Purdue, Ball State, Louisville and Western Kentucky.

“Being with the coaches again was so great. I loved going up against some of the top recruits in the country,” Overton said. “Going up against good competition just makes you a better athlete.”

Overton’s play stood out to offensive line/run game coordinator coach Chris Klenakis  so much that after the camp, Klenakis told Overton he had “made his guys look like fools” when referring to the 1-on-1 drills with the offensive linemen.

“He really stood out and performed well in several drills, and almost every guy in the D-line and O-line were at least three-star recruits,” Kinnaird said. “That camp was absolutely stacked with talent and he shined among them.”

With all the camps and recruiting news, Overton still gets support from school mates and friends. His teammates continue to push him to achieve his goal of getting offered a scholarship.

“Amongst the whole news about recruiting me, I’ve really noticed how much love and support I have from friends, family, and teammates,” Overton said. “I’m truly loving it.”

All Photos submitted


R.I.P. “The Greatest”

Story by Pat Duerr

“Don’t count the days, make the days count.”

The most illustrious athlete to come out of Louisville died at the age of 74 on June 3rd.
Muhammad Ali had a cocky nature about him in the prime of his career. This caused fans to dislike him for being himself; he was hated for being the greatest.

His death has a lasting effect on both boxing and the Kentuckiana area. Ali represented those communities his entire life, and did it with respect.

A genuine athlete who was unafraid to speak his mind was lost, but his legacy will never be forgotten.

Feature News



Josh Waddell  giving a speech in the media center. Photo by Sam Gatewood

“Speech has helped me increase my confidence.”

Like any other high school student, founding Speech and Debate member, and Jeffersonville High School senior, Josh Waddell was insecure about aspects of his life that were out of his control.


He was concerned with other people perceived him, especially when he spoke. But speech gave him an outlet to better himself and his confidence.

“Speech has been able to increase my articulation. It helps me discuss my political opinions in a more intellectual way that I couldn’t before,” Waddell said. “As someone who is active in the political sphere, it’s something that I would not be able to survive without.”

But even earlier in his life, Waddell found comfort and ease in expressing his political opinions, something necessary for his future employment. When the opportunity to put this passion into a speech and debate team at Jeff High, he jumped at the chance.  

Three years later, he holds countless awards and titles — all thanks to Speech and Debate Club.

“I will be applying for many different speech scholarships. It has gotten me in involved with a lot of different awards that I can get and I’ve won an entire wall of trophies from many different events,” Waddell said. “But I also think past getting cheap, plastic metals and getting a hundred dollars towards college. I’ve gotten a lot of relationships that I wouldn’t have otherwise; people from different schools, different backgrounds and different walks of life.”

The speech team gives speeches around the Jeffersonville area, including the Rotary Club, the Republican Women’s Club and the Optimist Club.

The league is jointly run by Mr. Rick Condon, and Rachel Jacobs, a political campaign manager. Condon, who is a permanent JHS sub, helps the team with freelance things, while Jacobs helps the team find tournaments all around Indiana. This year, speech is expanding their horizons and moving into the territory of slam poetry and dramatic interpretations.

Waddell also believes that speech is a valuable life skill that brings people together. He believes that no matter what students decide to do in life, speech will enhance whatever job they choose to do.
Waddell encourages anyone who is interested in the club to join. Meetings are on Thursdays from 2:30-4 p.m. in the Media Center.


Breaking Boundaries

Breaking Boundaries