Women’s History Month 2023: Celebrating Storytellers 

By Lacy Blanton, Guest Journalist

March is upon us once again. With this, the annual events of this month include the highly-anticipated March Madness, the mournful (or celebratory) ending of winter, and the welcoming of spring.

Another special event arises during this time: Women’s History Month, an annual declared month that highlights the honorable contributions of women from our society. Each year within the United States, a distinctive theme is chosen by “The Women’s History Alliance”. Recognizing the diversity and different roles that women have played throughout history. 

This year’s theme is a very special one. That theme being “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories”. Highlighting those who have dedicated their lives and been active through press, broadcasting, blogs, podcasts, playwrights, scholars, and much more.

I wish to recognize and honor the trailblazing female journalists, from yesterday and today, who have made and continue to create a potent bridge between women and the world of journalism.

Barbara Walters – (1929-2022)

Legendary broadcast journalist and television personality, Barbara Walters has been in the journalism world for remarkably over sixty years.    

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in English from Sarah Lawerence College, Walters would land a position in writing press releases for NBC network’s flagship station “WNTB-TV”, now known as “WNBC”. In 1961, she joined “The Today Show” as a researcher and writer, and later became the program’s ‘Today Girl’. Only handling light stories and discussing the weather. A time Walters herself described, when a woman discussing “hard news” wasn’t an idea that many took seriously. She broke that mold however in 1974 by being the first female co-host of a US news program.

By 1979, Walters had teamed up with Hugh Downs for “ABC”’s program “20/20” as correspondent and later co-host. Where she flourished until her eventual retirement in 2004. Seven years prior, she became the co-creator, co-executive producer, and co-host for daytime talk show “The View”, and later retired from her career as a noteworthy anchor and journalist in 2014.

Throughout the course of Walters’ career: she was most eminent for her interviews involving high-profiled individuals. Such as former US president Jimmy Carter and wife Rosalyn Carter, current Russian president Vladimir Putin, actress icon Lucille Ball, and ‘King of Pop’ Michael Jackson. She was also well-known in asking the most brutal of questions amidst interviews.

Barbara Walters passed away peacefully in her Manhattan home on December 30th, 2022. She was 93 years old. In death, she leaves behind a daughter, close friends, and a legacy of helping pave the way for future female journalists.

Belva Davis – 

Born in 1932, Belvagene “Belva” Melton-Davis is another phenomenal example of shaping the world of storytelling. She was the first ever African-American woman to be a television reporter for the US west coast, and worked as a radio broadcaster and news anchor for multiple stations.

Upon performing a freelance assignment for African-American magazine “Jet”, and receiving a mere $5 with no byline from it: Davis found herself writing pieces for other minority publications such as the “Sun Reporter”. 

Throughout the 1960’s, Davis worked radio stations across radio stations with “KSAN”, “KDIA”, and “KNEW”. She then ultimately landed a spot for “KPIX-TV” in San Francisco, where she was positioned for thirty years. 

Davis made herself recognizable for her coverages involving politics, race, and gender. As well as her calm, collected disposition. She has gone on to win eight “Emmy Award”’s and has been recognized by the “American Women in Radio and Television” and the “National Association of Black Journalists”.

Belva Davis is still alive and well today; having been retired since 2012. She cheerily lives in Petaluma, California with husband Bill Moore. She has two children with ex-husband Frank Davis. Despite her current age and reported diminishing memory, the journalism community still sees the versatile, talented woman who has ‘opened the heavy doors’ for so many. 

Juju Chang – 

Korean-born television journalist, Hyunju “Juju” Chang has created an impressive career for herself with backgrounds in “ABC News” and “Nightline”.

From Stanford University, Chang graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Communications. After school, she began working for “ABC” as a desk assistant in 1984, and would later work for “ABC World News Tonight” as a producer and off-air reporter.

By 2009, Chang had made history in becoming the first Korean-American with an essential role in US morning news television through being a part of “Good Morning America”; where she was the news anchor and helped contribute news stories. She would eventually leave to work full-time for the program “Nightline”.

With her work-ethic and dedication, Chang has received numerous awards throughout the course of her career. Some of her achievements include the “Alfred I. DuPont”, multiple “Gracie’s” and “Emmy’s”, and a “Freddie” award.

Chang now lives on the west side of lavish Manhattan with husband Neal Shapiro (whom she has three children with), proudly continuing to serve as anchor for “Nightline”. She is an involved member of the Asian-American community as she is a founding board member of the “Korean American Community Foundation” and member of the “Council on Foreign Relations”.

Akoto Ofori-Atta – 

Proud co-founder and chief audience officer for the Black-led national news organization “Capital B”: Akoto Ofori-Atta is one of a kind in her work.

In her early life, Ofori-Atta earned her bachelor’s degree in Print Journalism from Hampton University, and received a master’s in Communication, and Culture and Technology from Georgetown University.

She would go on to become the associate editor and social media manager for “The Root” and hold the position of senior editor at “Essence Magazine”.

Before leaving to pursue further development of “Capital B”, Ofori-Atta was previously the managing editor for “The Trace”, where she took full accountability for partnerships, special projects, and editorial operations. She had also completed a John S. Knight Journalism Fellowship at Stanford University in 2015, focusing on issues regarding the Black press and diversity.

Today, Akoto Ofori-Atta continues to help “Capital B” flourish. Her “Instagram” account showcases the vibrant life she lives. Through promoting “Capital B”, sharing past heartfelt memories of friends and family, and pictures of her and the love of her life. She and her husband also share a beautiful baby girl together.

Shahrnaz Javid – 

Woman of words, wearer of all hats, vivid photographer, and traveling-dreamer: Shahrnaz Javid is no doubt a soul many people should aspire to be.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky and graduated from Jeffersonville High School in 2011, Javid’s background and story is one that touches many of us.

Upon graduation, Javid attended Columbia College Chicago to major in magazine writing and was under a scholarship when attending. In 2016, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism.

Since then she has been involved in a number of enterprises as a writer and/or content creator. Several of her works include being an intern submissions editor for “Toksick Magazine”, a content creator for “The Times”, and currently holding the positions as a creative writer for “Unsaid” and contributing writer for “SVRN”. On top of that, Javid is her own boss as she is self-employed as a freelance writer and photographer.

Residing in Antwerp, Belgium with her husband and their beautiful little daughter, Shahrnaz Javid is very open about her career and life through her “Instagram” page. Upon reading and catching glimpses of her page, one can say it’s like a storybook come to life. Shots of urban European landscapes, eccentricities, lovely colors, and captions with words belonging to a poetry book. 

Shahrnaz Javid, like the rest of these outstanding storytellers, is someone who is beyond influential.

Reading and/or listening to all of their professional work is an absolute must. They are all a mix of talent, truth, and devotion combined. These five journalists did more than merely write. They created a story of their own that many more female storytellers will look up to.

The Absence of Middle School

Written By: Nathaniel Edwards

(Pictured Above: Kaydee Merrifield)

An integral part of childhood development is the knowledge and skills acquired in middle school. In elementary school, you are exposed to a small group of students, separated heavily by the grade you are a part of. However, once you hit middle school, not only are you exposed to students from various elementary schools in your district, but students in all grade levels interact with each other. This melting pot creates an environment that forces students to interact with one another, and create the social skills necessary for the real world. This integral part of development was shattered in 2020. Desks began to spread, masks blocked faces, interaction was minimized. The freshman in 2022, the class of 2026, were stripped of their entire middle school experience. For Kaydee Merrifield, this has created an issue in her freshman experience.

Kaydee Merrifield is part of the class of 2026 and a former River Valley Middle School student. For her, the Covid-19 pandemic has halted her social skills and academic knowledge. Covid-19 started, for Kaydee, during her sixth grade year. Everything went online, and she would not be back in school until July of her seventh grade year. Although, coming back to school would not be any more advantageous to these social skills and academic knowledge than staying at home. At lunch, Kaydee expected to be able to make a big group of friends and socialize with them daily, but it became impossible due to the rule of three to four students per table. Class was not much better either; desks were spread so far apart that it was impossible to turn to a neighboring desk to talk or give simple remarks. “I was really crossing my fingers to make more friends in middle school but I did not make as many as I wanted to because I could never get around people.”

Suddenly, Kaydee was a freshman in high school. “Coming to high school, it’s like somehow I got whiplash. Suddenly there’s a lot of stuff.” Everything she grew to know as normal in middle school was now irrelevant. The normal became the standards expected from Freshman three years ago. Teachers expecting these standards is detrimental to the success of the Freshman class. “My math teacher expects us to know certain things, but I didn’t get a chance to learn them.” It is not just math that has this expectation, it is almost every Freshman class. Kaydee was never a science person, but her Biology Honors instructor expects so much from her class that she is now getting constant C’s. This pressure for reaching an academic level that you did not build to efficiently is suffocating individuals’ mental health.

“I definitely became less social during Covid. I like talking to people; it takes me an hour to leave a party because I keep getting stuck in different conversations. Now, it takes me a lot longer to even introduce myself to people.” It is intimidating to come to a brand new school where you get to interact with a large assortment of people, but given that you could not socialize consistently with your own middle school classmates, Freshman year is that much more difficult.

Kaydee Merrifield has to pick up the pieces she was not taught quickly, but she is doing it successfully. She is making tons of new friends, and she has established a wonderful relationship with a new friend group. Although this year will be difficult, she continues to show that it is possible to make this situation work. All Class of 2026 Freshman are struggling with their academics and socialization, but as the year progresses, we hope all Freshman can work as hard as Kaydee Merrifield is.

In Remembrance Of: Prominent People Lost in 2022

By: Madison Pritchard

Vivienne Westwood: 1941-2022

Vivienne Westwood was a force to be reckoned with during her successful career in fashion. She got her start in 1965 after meeting and moving in with Malcolm McClaren. Together, they opened a vintage fashion stall called Let It Rock. Here, Westwood began to design and create clothing based off of ideas McClaren had. The designs were representative of the “normal” style of the time, which often included very bold and promiscuous slogans or graphics. These articles of clothing were immensely successful within the punk youth demographic in Britain, however, they garnered negative attention from the more conservative right-wing reporters.

Eventually, Westwood and McClaren parted ways in 1986 and Vivienne began her own brand, Vivienne Westwood, which stayed true to her unique and extravagant roots. Here she became a household name because she was never afraid of being too bold or too brazen with her designs. Her influence on the fashion world is forever remembered as an important one for the strides she took to make a difference. 

Stephen “tWitch” Boss: 1982-2022

Over his lifetime, Stephen “tWitch” Boss developed impressive skills in acting, producing, choreographing and dancing. In 2008, he was on the hit TV show “So You Think You Can Dance” and ended as the runner-up contestant. During this season, he performed a dance titled “Mercy” with fellow contestant Katee Shean that earned them a choreography award nomination from the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards. In following seasons of SYTYCD he participated as an All Star dancer. 

He became the guest DJ on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in 2014, and then in 2020 became a co-executive producer of the show. He also starred in the “Step Up” movies of 2010, 2012 and 2014 as character Jason Hardlerson. Then in 2015 he acted in “Magic Mike XXL”. In death, he leaves behind his wife, fellow SYTYCD contestant Allison Holker, their three children, and a loving fanbase who know him as a lighthearted, hardworking, and devoted man. 

Irene Cara: 1959-2022

Popular songstress and actor from the 80’s, Irene Cara worked on a multitude of projects that earned her claim to fame. One of her most popular songs being the title song “Fame” from the 1980 musical film of the same name, where she played Coco Hernandez. The song rose to number 1 on music charts from multiple countries, earning her a spot in mainstream music. Then in 1983, she sang the song “Flashdance… What A Feeling” from the film “Flashdance”. This performance won her an Academy Award for Best Original Song and the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. 

Later in life, she voiced Snow White in the unofficial sequel to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Happily Ever After, and also appeared as Mary Magdalene in the musical tour for Jesus Christ Superstar. After these jobs though, she never was able to go back to the level of success she had once reached, and began to slowly drift away from the limelight. 

Takeoff: 1994-2022

Kirshnik Khari Ball, or more commonly known from his professional name Takeoff, was one-third of the critically acclaimed rap trio, Migos. Made up of his uncle, Quavo, and cousin, Offset, they first hit the hip hop scene in 2008. But only in 2013 did they begin to garner attention for their work after the release of their single “Versace”. Their first number 1 hit “Bad and Boujee” was what really pushed them to the forefront of the rap genre.

Migos’ second and third studio albums “Culture” and “Culture II” both debuted at number 1 on Billboard 200. Soon after in 2018, Takeoff announced an upcoming solo album titled “The Last Rocket”. In October 2022, as his final project, Takeoff released a collaborative album with Quavo named “Only Built for Infinity Links” in the month leading up to his death. 

Because of his important contributions and impact he had on the hip hop genre, the public commemoration of his life entitled “Celebration of Life” amassed over 20,000 attendees.

The Weird Obsession with Marilyn Monroe

Written by Madison Pritchard

T-shirts, mugs, blankets, posters, figurines, and dolls. These are all merchandise items you can find with Marilyn Monroe’s name, face, or features plastered all over them. She has dominated the pop culture scene for well over seven decades, and there seems to be no sign of stopping that trend anytime soon. But what really prompted her ever-lasting popularity and her staple reign in pop culture?

Marilyn, born Norma Jean Mortenson,  was your classic rags-to-riches story. She was  born in Los Angeles and in her early life she  went from foster home to foster home. Marilyn  married her first husband at sixteen and started  her first job. While working, she was scouted and  began a new career as a pin-up model and acted  in a multitude of short-films.

The public’s fascination with Monroe began back in the 1950s with her iconic roles in the films “Gentlemen  Prefer Blondes”, “The Seven Year Itch”, and “Some  Like It Hot’’. Along with her feat of becoming  Playboy’s first cover girl, and being crowned the “Sexiest Woman of the Century”  by People  magazine. She is also widely known as a leading and revolutionizing sex symbol of the fifties.

Her original boom was her cover on  Playboy Magazine. What many don’t know is that this was a non-consensual act on owner Hugh Hefner’s part. She had originally posed nude for a calendar company out of “desperation” in which she made reportedly $50. The photos were eventually sold  to Hefner for $500 dollars, which kickstarted his Playboy empire while Marilyn got none of the  profits.

Marilyn is one of the most  successful examples of using an on vs. off screen  persona. So while these two personas were  different, they shared a lot of the same qualities.  Like her sense of literal humor. This prompted critics to claim that she was just acting as herself,  instead of stepping into a new character. Her roles in Hollywood were consumed  by the “Blonde-Bombshell” typecast and sexist  stereotypes. In most of her movies she is depicted as a young ‘hopeless’ girl who eventually gets with a wealthy and sophisticated man. Marilyn’s acting career was often looked down upon by critics who criticized her for relying on her attractiveness, rather than acknowledging the fact that Marilyn was actually an intelligent and professionally trained actress who would make fun of the characters she played.

Into her personal affairs, Monroe was  married three times, divorced three times. It was  also highly speculated that she was in some sort of  relationship to former president John F. Kennedy.  This only added more allure to her persona. It left many people wanting to know more about this public,  but also private figure.

Unlike many golden-age Hollywood  starlets like Lucille Ball, Elizabeth Taylor, or Eve  Arden, Monroe never had the chance to grow  old and age. So, fast forward to her untimely  death in 1962, when she was in her mid thirties.  She passed, and was left forever-36, a young and  beautiful woman frozen in time, never to grow  out of the image people already had of her.

Her early death plays a huge role in her  long-time fame. It left people able to dehumanize  her, because she, physically, never changed. Just  an unaging sex symbol. It begs the question of  morality in the case of famous figures. She also  never seems to have been able to rest, even after  death. She also was never given credit for her  incredibly successful career.

After her death, her estate was given to  her acting coach, Lee Strasberg, who eventually  passed, and then the estate was given to his then wife, Anna Strasberg, who is assumed to  have had no connection to Marilyn other than  through Lee. Anna eventually sold Marilyn’s  estate to CMG Worldwide in 1994, which is how large corporations gained access to  the ability to create merchandise and make  immense profits off of Monroe.

Despite her career, most people have seen or known about Marilyn before even watching her films. Her face is plastered on merchandise and is included in in random advertisements that have no  connection to her or what she stood for. Popular moments that reference or imitate Monroe span from even the earliest moments after her death to now, in 2022. For example, the 1980 Chanel No. 5 perfume commercial where Carole Bouquet  literally turns into Monroe is a little freakish to watch. Or Madonna’s recreation of Monroe in “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” for her 1984 “Material Girl” music video that hit the nail right on its head. And even to the 2017 burial of Hugh Hefner next to Monroe, even  though they never actually knew each other, as Hefner revealed in a 2012 interview with CBS News,  stating  that he felt a connection to her because of her  significance to the popularity of Playboy. Or even most recently, the controversy surrounding  Kim Kardashian wearing Monroe’s “Happy  Birthday Mr. President” dress to the 2022 Met  Gala.

Even now, people still want more of her. The biopics and biographies, merchandise, or  recreations of her work in film are still copied and multiplied year  by year. Ironically, she is likely more scrutinized now than she was when she was alive. People need to leave her alone, and let her rest. Let the fascination of Marilyn Monroe die with her, one last time.  

Nov. 2022

9/11: Remembering the Attacks After Twenty Years

By Yousaf Quereshi

My mother was a 15 year old Sophomore attending New Albany High School on September 11, 2001. I don’t think that she was ever really worried about anything in the world, especially on that day, except for maybe passing math class so that she could eventually graduate high school. That was the story of most American teenagers living in the early 2000s⸺absorbed in their immediate surroundings and worried only about their own lives. However, September 11 would awaken everyone, including my mother, to the dangers of living in the world and the interconnectedness of everyone. 

At 8:46 in the morning, the first hijacked plane flew into the World Trade Center’s North Tower. It was apparent that a terrible accident had happened in New York City. Then, 17 minutes later, the second hijacked plane flew into the World Trade Center’s South Tower. This wasn’t an accident⸺this was deliberate. America was under attack. The Pentagon was attacked not long after, and a fourth plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. Nearly three thousand people died immediately as a result of the attacks…and thousands more died as a result of it. But September 11 had consequences for those who survived as well. For many Americans, the attacks on September 11 awoke the sleeping dragon of fear. Fear about living in a dangerous globalized world that most people had forgotten about since the attacks on Pearl Harbor when President Franklin D. Roosevelt had told us that the only thing we had to fear was “fear itself”.

But now, it’s been twenty years since 9/11, so why should we still remember? Why should high school students who weren’t alive during 9/11, like my mother had been on 9/11, continue to remember this event?

We should remember to honor the men and women who died in the World Trade Center Towers and on the hijacked planes. We should remember to honor the first responders to the attacks. We should remember to honor the survivors of the attacks and the families of the fallen.

We must continue to remember 9/11 to honor the loss, the rescue, the fear, and the hope of that tragic day. You didn’t have to be alive for 9/11 to remember the horror and the heroes. We remember so that we will never forget what happened on that day, and how we overcame it as Americans.

Now, twenty years after 9/11, America is under attack again. The terror of the Covid-19 pandemic has killed and continues to kill innocent Americans and first responders everyday, leaving behind long haul survivors and grieving families. Although Americans may not always agree on politics, when our homeland is under attack and innocent American lives are lost, I have hope that we will put aside our differences, and come together as we did during 9/11 to overcome any existential threat, including a global virus.

Readers: Remember 9/11. For the good it brought, for the bad. For the very ugly. I will always remember and be moved by the fact that this nation could come together on that day, forget differences and pray for each other, remove hate from our hearts and build compassion within our souls. Remembering 9/11 elevates the belief that we can exist as a unified American people, to pass on our love and care to those we hold dear and those we lost. Why can’t we be that country again?

Masks: More to the Story

Students see pros and cons of wearing a face covering every day.

Whether it’s due to legal requirements or personal preference, wearing a mask is commonplace since the start of COVID-19. According to the CDC website, COVID-19 is spread through water droplets that are released when people breathe, sneeze, cough, or talk. Masks can prevent this by blocking water droplets from reaching other people by trapping them on the inside of a person’s mask. However, not everyone is wearing a mask. According to a survey posted on http://www.webmd.com only 93% of U.S. adults wear a mask when unable to social distance. This leaves 7% of US adults not wearing masks.

At Jeff High,everyone is required to wear a mask when they’re not able to social distance. For the most part, students are adhering to the rules well — even when wearing a mask makes things difficult.

Senior Milo Shireman makes a fashion statement when
wearing a mask at school. Photo by Paige Moore

Victoria “Jade” Worrall, a junior at Jeffersonville High school says, “It’s really hard to do things because I can’t breathe.” Also, Worrall says, “It fogs up my glasses and I can’t see without taking them off… I have to take off my glasses whenever I go shopping.” According to a New York Times article, fogging occurs because hot air gets trapped inside and escapes through the top of the mask. One solution is sealing the top of your mask with medical tape or athletic tape, which can prevent air from your breath getting through and fogging your glasses. They also recommend molding the top of your masks to fit your face properly.

Others say wearing a mask has caused breakouts — a problem dubbed “mascne” or “maskne” in the media. The problem is so commonplace that the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) has published a list called “9 Ways to Prevent Face Mask Skin Problems.” Senior Michael Broadhead says, “I deal with it, but it’s not as bad as I thought it would be.” Senior Harmony Wayman says “I just wash the crap out of my face to prevent it.” Regular cleaning is at the top of the AAD’s tips for preventing mask acne. The organization also recommends choosing a mask that fits well, so you’re less likely to touch your face, and has a “soft, natural, and breathable fabric, such as cotton, on the inside layer that rests against your skin.” The AAD adds that you should “Avoid synthetic fabrics, such as nylon, polyester, and rayon on the layer that rests against your skin. These are more likely to irritate your skin and cause breakouts.”

On the other hand, masks aren’t always problematic. Many people have used them to further their style and outside appearance. “You can get cute masks and they look really nice on you.” Worrall said. That’s a bright spot — and a spot that has nothing to do with the dreaded mascne.

By Lily Hughes

The Pandemic and Mental Health

Let’s be honest: COVID-19 is hard on everyone, but it’s particularly hard on teenagers. It has affected every aspect of our lives. School is different, sports are different, work is different, friendships are different. The list goes on and on. As Pediatrician Rebekah Fenton said in a recent Washington Post column, “The teens of the pandemic are living through a significant and prolonged stress that most adults have never known.”

Under the circumstances, it’s not surprising that teens are struggling with mental health issues. As a result, other aspects of health are suffering. Dr. Fenton says that some of her teen patients “have gained or lost significant weight, in search of comfort or control. Some who had manageable levels of anxiety before the pandemic have worsening symptoms. Isolation precipitates depression or suicidal ideation. More than younger children, adolescents notice and are affected by their parents’ emotions, including financial pressure.”

You should take care of your mental health as much as you take care of your physical health. Mental health illnesses affect the ability to handle daily activities. This means that those who are having a harder time may experience panic attacks, start having a harder time focusing, start sleeping more, start having a hard time completing assignments which make cause in grades plummeting, start having trouble getting out of bed or taking showers and even more obstacles.

Studies around the world are already showing how teenagers’ mental health is suffering during COVID-19, but we wanted to know how it is affecting you, our readers.

The Hyphen sent out a survey to a group of students that have chosen to remain anonymous. When asked how their mental health was before COVID-19, 80% said they were happy or in a good state of mind. Since the pandemic started, 60% of respondents said that their mental health has dropped or they are having a harder time. One student said, ”Corona has affected my mental health by allowing me to have more extra time on my phone, which leads to being on social media, or anything relevant to that, which leads to comparing myself to others way too much. It has also caused me to overthink and worry about things I should not be.”

This is a rough time for all of us. If you are struggling with mental health issues, please reach out. This is not something you should have to go through alone. Below are hotlines if you are not comfortable talking with a
parent or counselor.

By Rachel Lowe

Matt Barker’s goal: a “great experience” for athletes, fans and visitors

Athletics are a big part of student life at Jeff High, which means there has to be an athletics director to keep sports running smoothly. Recently someone new has come to the position, Matt Barker. Having prior experience in the GCCS corporation and plenty of familiarity in the athletic department, Barker is ready for any challenge that comes his way. “I’m enjoying it, it’s a lot of work,” he says, “I’m really just trying to do the right thing.”

Athletics Director Matt Barker
Hyphen Staff Photo

Barker has had a passion for coaching for most of his life, starting with his first coaching gig for a girls powder puff team as a junior in high school. He ended up coaching and teaching PE at Parkview Middle School, and after that Barker and his family moved to northern Indiana. He pursued his education and now has a bachelors from Valparaiso, a teaching license from Manchester, a masters in secondary education from IU Southeast and a masters in administration from Grand Canyon University. Having no plan to move, Barker was looking into an administrative position at a nearby elementary school when he got a call from an old friend from Parkview, Pam Hall (now Principal at Jeff High). Knowing the love he had
for coaching, she offered him a job as the Athletics Director. “I’ve always respected Pam. She was a really great leader. So I said let’s do an interview and I’ll let you know. I interviewed for it, I honestly, being a coach for 20 years, seeing the hours of work athletics directors put in, figured I didn’t want to do that. But I interviewed and everything was kind of what I wanted to hear, so I accepted the position.”

Jeff High can be a very intimidating place, but Barker feels right
at home. He explains that although things can be quite hectic, the people around him are truly helpful. “I’ve found in the couple months I’ve been in this job, the athletics director world is very open to helping people out.” When he first arrived during late October, Barker was informed that there was a little bit of financial strain in the athletics department. Naturally, he got right to work on this issue and a couple others, such as transportation. Barker makes sure to note that he puts emphasis on communication between coaches and student athletes. With the spring season quickly approaching, there is plenty more work to be done.

Working as an athletics director in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic is complicated at best. Barker expresses his dejection about the crack down on fans allowed at games. “It sounds weird, you only have 500 people, but it would have been much easier to let 4000 people in.” He elaborates on the importance of proper mask protocol and social distancing.

Current events aren’t all Barker is focusing on, though. He is also making plans for the future. He believes that an important part of bringing up a good athletics program is a comfortable atmosphere and well-kept equipment. “My goal is to make sure that when people come to Jeffersonville — whether you’re an official, an opposing player, opposing coach, a fan — that you come here and you have a great experience.” This summer he wants to clean up the basketball lobby before the next season starts, and in the more distant future he hopes there will be turf on all of Jeff High’s fields and a new weight room. Barker isn’t only concerned with
the aesthetics of our facilities; another concern of his is our hospitality. “When you get an email about how welcoming you were as a school, that’s a great feeling.”

Barker conveys that success isn’t all in the wins and losses. He values sportsmanship and the overall experience for student athletes. He feels the most important part of his new position is getting students ready
for the world outside high school. Looking to give athletes team working and communication skills for future opportunities, he hopes that sports can be a well-needed escape for high schoolers.

By Emily Proctor

Photo Gallery: It’s The Look of The Century

Vintage, Cottagecore, aesthetics galore! All throughout Jeff High, there are plenty of students who have their own unique sense of style. Some of these students agreed to an interview to talk with us about how it all comes together.

Captions by November Shawler and Chloey Trinkle
All photos submitted

When someone chooses their sense of style, it may come from a multitude of different sources. It could come from a certain era of fashion in the past, a certain celebrity who wears certain styles of clothing, experimenting with old items of clothing and revamping them into something new, or even just seeing something from a store and developing your own style based on that. Whatever it may be, everyone has their own taste and it comes down to preference. In the end, it’s all about expressing yourself.

Strike Hard: A Review of Cobra Kai Season 3

It was only a few years back when the YouTube Red series Cobra Kai premiered to an eager base of fans ready to experience an action-comedy drama that brought back fond memories of the blockbuster film, Karate Kid. Despite a great fan following on YouTube Red, Cobra Kai only felt its giant boost when it finally debuted on Netflix in the summer of 2019, reaching the #1 spot on Netflix’s top ten most watched shows, and #1 in Nielsen Ratings nationally (Nielsen ratings measure audience viewership and ratings nationwide).

Cobra Kai builds on the legacy of the Karate Kid movie series, while also exploring the full story of what happened then and what has happened since.The two enemies from the first movie, Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) and Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) are now middle-aged men. Still their lives seem to be rooted by the consequences of the original film’s ending, where Daniel kicks Johnny in the head and wins the All-Valley Under 18 Tournament, all thanks to his wise and great mentor, Mr. Miyagi (played by late Pat Morita). 

The show released its third season on January 1, 2021. So without further ado, we’re going to strike first, strike hard, and show no mercy with this review of Cobra Kai’s third season.

– – – – Warning: Potential Spoilers Ahead! – – – –

Season 3, much like the previous seasons, has received a lot of critical and audience acclaim. We start the season revealing the consequences of what happened at the end of Season 2: Johnny Lawrence is broken and giving up on life again, Miguel Diaz is in a coma, Johnny’s son Robby is hiding from the law enforcement, and Kreese is operating Cobra Kai.

The Plot

By far, the plot of the series is brutally compact with a lot of poetic throwbacks to the film trilogy. However, I believe the third season’s plot sells us short. We see a semi-repeat of Season 2 with Miguel helping Johnny impress girls and Johnny growing his relationship with Carmen Diaz, Miguel’s mother. Even the season finale depicts a rematch of the fight that literally happened in season 2. Among many others, an interesting one is the rehashing of the whole love triangle with Robby getting angry at Miguel and Sam “falling in love again.” The season seems to be reiteration of what already has happened, which is a key recurring theme in the series. Hopefully the creators of the franchise take the lessons they bring to the table: to their hearts as well.

The Narrative

The plot isn’t so great, but there is a plus side to that: the season becomes redeemed by the narrative. A narrative is often binding, no matter how expansive. Like Star Wars. The third season follows the Miyagi-Do and Cobra Kai dynamic, but it isn’t the teachers fighting it out this time. It’s the students. Sam LaRusso is willing to take things into her own hands, Hawk won’t stop bullying Demetri. Robby is willing to live by the Cobra Kai creed, you have a lot of the key character arcs of Season 2 culminating to their greatest peak. You can tell the story is being a little lazy, but essentially it just ends up like the Return of the Jedi from the Saga of Star Wars. The story has way fewer risks, but the result is somewhat more appealing: This season brings a renewed focus to the new characters — building their relationships, building their motivations for future seasons.

The Layering: Shading it together

What Cobra Kai’s third season does, is what movies and television series are constantly trying to do right. The layering. Adding motivations to characters, so you know it isn’t some white-headed nose-less wizard just trying to do stuff because evil is something to enjoy (if you didn’t get that reference, please search up “JK Rowling”). There is a composite and uniform slate of ideologies that make Cobra Kai so compelling to watch. This is why I believe the show has broken so many records to achieve ultimate success.

In season 3, we see the story delve into John Kreese’s background. A bullied teenager, with a mother suffering from mental problems on the verge of committing suicide, who then ends up enlisting to go to Vietnam. He fights in the war, loses his best friend to Vietnamese soldiers after failing to learn the “no mercy” lesson taught by his military superior (NOT EVEN REALIZING that his military superior actually withheld information about his girlfriend’s fatal car accident). As this storyline develops, Cobra Kai becomes dark very quickly. Kreese then ends up being forced to fight with his military superior. In this scene, you see the brutality that has formed the man we saw in Karate Kid and learn more about this season.

And here’s the bigger theme of Cobra Kai: everyone, in their own way, makes sense. Kreese failed to learn “strike first, strike hard, no mercy!” And when he did, he lost people he cared about, he suffered mentally and physically, but most of all: the regrets of those failures create the “monstrosity” which exists in the founder of the Karate Dojo: Cobra Kai. But we’re only skimming Kreese here, when we explore Daniel LaRusso, we explore Johnny Lawrence: you realize their fighting isn’t even over ideologies, of whose karate teachings make more sense. It’s about the people they care about: Daniel cares about Robby, he’s learned to accept Miguel-Sam’s relationship. Johnny has begun to care more about Miguel’s mother: he isn’t shy of who he WAS, when he talks to Ali; returns to the Karate spotlight by launching his dojo.

Is Nostalgia Getting too Much?

Let’s face it, the nostalgia on Cobra Kai makes you laugh, cry, scream, and take the show even more seriously. The past is what makes Cobra Kai’s present all the more endearing. It’s the basis of Cobra Kai’s success. The return of the old characters, and settings, and more importantly the dividing attitudes of society on survival in the real world. Cobra Kai, using this very nostalgia, has transformed this show into one about the hard route with a slate of moral values, and the shortcuts without an exact slate of moral values.

But we reach a point eventually in season 3 and ask ourselves: has the nostalgia reached its peak? Season 1 and 2 masterfully depict the continuation and evolution of what once was, while keeping core ideas intact. Season 3, meanwhile, is reminiscent of the post-Lucas Star Wars films. We see Daniel finding out about a whole new karate technique (Luke projecting himself across the galaxy), old villains who are now supposed heroes like Chozen (Boba Fett saving Baby Yoda), and a bit of copy-paste from Season 2 (Force Awakens copying A New Hope).

There’s very little at stake in Season 3, but….

There’s a Very Good Setup
Sam LaRusso, Miguel Diaz, Robby Lawrence, Tory Nichols, Daniel, Johnny, Demetri, Kreese and his gang … everyone has something to look forward to in the next season. Everything is suddenly at stake. The All-Valley Tournament next time isn’t some beef-bashing on love triangles: A dojo will close, a set of values will triumph, characters reach the peak of their arcs. No matter the shortcomings and great moments from Season 3, the fourth season will be worth the watch. 

Written by Yousaf Quereshi

A Not-So-Brief History of Women in Politics

With Kamala Harris on the Democratic presidential ticket, this year could be a turning point for women in American politics. However, Harris is just the most recent in a line of trailblazing women.

1872 – Victoria Woodhull runs for President. Woodhull also created a publication called Woodhull and Claflin’s Weekly.

1887 – The first female mayor is elected: Susanna Salter of Argonia, Arkansas.

1916 – Jeannette Pickering-Rankin is the first woman to be elected to congress. 

1920 – White women are granted the right to vote.

1923 – Soledad Chacon, a Latina woman, wins the election to become the Secretary of State in New Mexico.  

1952 – Charlotta Spears-Bass is the first black woman to be nominated for vice president. 

1952 – Asian American women earn the right to vote.

1962 – Patsy Takemoto Mink becomes the first female Asian/Pacific Islander woman to be elected into state senate.

1965 – Native American women earn the right to vote.

1974 – Elaine Noble becomes the first openly queer woman to win in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

1976 – Mary Rose Oakar is the first Arab-American woman elected to senate.

1980 – LaDonna Harris becomes the first indigneous woman nominee for vice president.

1984 – Geraldine Ferraro is Democratic Party’s vice presidential nominee, making her the first female vice-presidential nominee representing a major American political party. 

1985 – Wilma Mankiller becomes the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation.

1992 – Nydia Velasquez becomes the first Puerto Rican woman elected to congress.

2001 – Condelezza Rice becomes the first woman to hold the position of National Security Advisor.

2016 – Hilary Clinton runs for president, before losing to Donald Trump.

2017 – Nikki Haley becomes the first Indian-American woman to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

2020 – Kamala Harris runs for Vice President along with Joe Biden on the Democratic ticket. 

Compiled and written by November Shawler