Student Debt Reaches an Unsustainable Level

From school visits to applications, applying to colleges can be overwhelming. Perhaps the biggest issue? The cost of college and student debt. The tuition and fees for an average in-state four-year college costs approximately $9,410 a year. In-state four-year private colleges average about $32,410 per year. The prices are even higher for out-of-state colleges.

According to NBC News, student debt has risen in recent years and is now at $1.6 trillion nationwide. Tyler Colyer, a Jeffersonville High School counselor, says that many worry about the cost of college. “The cost of college is a huge concern for many students and families,” Colyer said. “Parents and students worry not only about the cost but also how they will afford it now or in the future if student loans are necessary.”

According to a report from CNBC.com, 84-percent of students that borrowed loans said that debt has affected their ability to save for retirement. Many people don’t pay off their loans until their 40s.

Kyle Sanders, former editor-in-chief of The Hyphen and a sophomore at Indiana University Southeast, said that he is concerned about money and that it even influenced his decision about the university he attends. “I decided to attend a local college to save money and am constantly thinking about how the debt I have will affect me years from now,” Sanders said.

Colyer advises students to start early when it comes to paying for college. “Get good grades and work on your standardized test scores because that means money,” he said. Colyer pointed out that scholarships are also essential. “Don’t write off applying for a scholarship because it’s only a few hundred dollars. Every penny counts!”

The Great Spirit Stick Controversy: Is it Rigged?

THE-UNDERSCORE

To get the answer to this question, we went straight to the source: Principal Julie Straight. She started by pointing out that the seniors don’t always win. For instance, at a pep rally last year, the seniors didn’t win the spirit stick, which resulted in “outrage and devastation” until they got it back.

“It isn’t rigged,” she clarified. “But I will say that if it’s a coin toss, that nod will go to the seniors. There is something to senior privilege. They have earned that. But … they have to earn it.”

Do you have a burning question about Jeff High history or traditions? Ask The Underscore and we’ll investigate for you. To submit an idea, talk to a Hyphen staff member or send an email to jeffhighhyphen@gmail.com

School Start Time: Is 7:45 Too Early For Teenagers?

In early November, as the nights get colder and the days get shorter, the sound of an alarm piercing through the darkness early in the morning can be quite alarming. According to sleepfoundation.org, teenagers need a minimum of 8½ hours of sleep — yet only 15 percent of teenagers get that much. 

Why not just go to bed earlier? According to sleepfoundation.org, teens have a hard time falling asleep anytime before 11 p.m. due to biological sleep patterns.

Sleep is as important as the air you breathe. It is also important for maintaining the stress teenagers face. So why does school begin so early at Jeff High — especially in comparison to other districts, including those where high schools start later than elementary schools? 

According to Greater Clark County Schools superintendent Mark Laughner, “One main reason the district chooses to start high schools before elementary schools is so that older siblings arrive home at the end of the school day prior to their younger siblings. We serve a lot of working parents and this provides them with additional support in the afternoon.” 

Jeffersonville High School sophomore Georgia Martin, who said she wakes up at 5 a.m. to get ready and catch her bus in time, thinks the start time should change. “I hate [the starting time], and I think it should be pushed back an hour,” Martin said. Getting more sleep isn’t the only reason. Martin added that her bus stop is a street over from her house, so she worries about safety walking to her bus stop in the dark. 

In spite of the complaints, the school district does not plan to push back that alarm clock anytime soon. “The district is not looking to change start/end times in the near future,” said Laughner.img_7197

Recent poll results from @thehyphennews on Instagram!!!!

 

Is College Needed?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.”

 

JHS Theatre to Present Alice in Wonderland November 8-10

This weekend the Jeffersonville High School Theatre Department will take audiences through the looking glass with three performances of Alice in Wonderland, a production based on Lewis Carroll’s classic story about dreaming and identity.

Shows will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, November 8 and Saturday, November 9. There will also be a 2 p.m. matinée on Sunday, November 10.

Tickets are $10 for Jeff High students and senior citizens. The general admission price for others is $15. The ticket price includes a tea party with the cast after the show.

JHS Theatre director Derrick Ledbetter describes the show as “free-wheeling, highly imaginative and fast-paced.”

The show stars Anna Lowe as Alice. Other cast members include Gavin Van Fleet, Joryn Burns, Jesse Crull, Becken Maddox, Madison Conway, Hannah Dickens, Cassie Hawkins, Kennedy Smith, Hailey Hughes, Claire Storz, Abby Napper, Alex Seifert, Katie Dorman, Lydia Church, and Nathaniel Garner.

Written by Chloey Trinkle

Preventing Suicide: Avoidance Isn’t the Answer

Suicide is a raw topic that most people like to avoid. The ones trapped by suicidal thoughts often feel alone and don’t talk about their feelings. People who were left behind after a loved one’s suicide are left with questions and pain, often causing them to stay quiet. Those without experience with the heartbreaking topic don’t know how to talk about it.  But the idea of avoiding conversations about suicide and everything related can be deadly, especially since according to the National Institute of Mental Health, suicide is the second leading cause of death in teenagers and 4,969 of those deaths were Indiana residents. 

Suicide is preventable, so how do we prevent it?  

Gage Donohue, coordinator of a Survivors of Suicide Support group who lost his 19-year-old daughter (a Jeff High graduate) to suicide, says, “We can reduce the suicide rate by encouraging people to ask for help when they need it, to educate the public about the warning signs and risk factors and let people know there are a lot of people willing to help.” 

According to Donohue, one way to prevent suicide is simply looking for signs in your friends and peers. Donohue says, “Listen to what people are saying when they are talking to you, look in their eyes, watch the body language and ask questions.  Put down your phone and really listen. Do not be afraid to ask, ‘Are you thinking about suicide?’ You will not put the idea in their head if it is not already there.” In addition to offering support, Donohue says you should encourage them to contact the Suicide Prevention Hotline or a health care professional right away.

Donohue also says that is important not to degrade or dismiss someone’s feelings or thoughts. He says that people with suicidal thoughts or depression are not weak. “People do not really want to die, they just want the mental or physical pain to end.”

Most importantly, if you feel yourself having these destructive thoughts or feelings, talk to someone. Tell your parents, your friends, a doctor, or a trusted adult. Remember that you are not alone and millions of people feel the same way. You are worthy of life and everything it holds. 

Suicide Prevention Hotline:
Call 1-800-273-8255 OR
Text CONNECT to 741741

Speaking of Labels…What’s the Q+ About?

For many years, people used the term “LGBT” to describe the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual
and Transgender community. In recent years, you might have noticed a new addition at the end: “Q+”. The Q+ is meant to be more inclusive of people who identify with something that’s not in the traditional LGBT framework (such as Asexual
and Pansexual).

While it might not seem like a big deal, the distinction is important to many people —
and has actually become a hotly debated issue. A Jeff High student who wanted to be anonymous for this story says the Q+ isn’t needed: “Trans covers FTM (female to male), MTF (male to female), and non-binary (the feeling of being genderless). Lesbian and Gay cover that, and Bi covers Pan so that’s about it.”

On the other side is Amber Walker, a Jeff High student who prefers the Q+ addition because “Personally, I feel that there is a whole spectrum of possibilities that don’t fit into just four labels.”

On a recent Instagram poll, the votes for the acronym LGBT was just one person while the votes for LGBTQ+ were 17 people. Most of those polled were from the area, but some were not. An LGBTQ+ community member who voted is from a country where being a part of the community is looked down upon and it is illegal to attend Pride festivals and have samesex marriage without punishment.

Is this debate pointless? While representation is important, the LGBTQ+ community, whether you believe in the Q+ or not, is an accepting community for those of different sexualities and genders. Even though LGBTQ+ won our poll, your opinion is your opinion as long as you aren’t hurting anyone with it.

Staff and Student Views on Jeff High Dress Code Changes

This school year, Jeffersonville High School implemented small changes to the student dress code. The most significant change involves shorts and skirts. The new rule is that they should be longer than fingertip length. Previously, they needed to be knee length. The same fingertip rule applies to holes in jeans. The dress code was also changed to allow exposed shoulders if the shirt has some kind of sleeve. The JHS Student Council, working with the JHS Administration Team, then clarified that students cannot wear completely off the shoulder tops.

“The new dress code is definitely a positive step forward for the student body but could still be revised to include more, still appropriate, changes.”

Alexa Roach, Senior

“You don’t come to an institution to be fashionable. You come to learn skills to better you in the working field.”

Sean Hyatt, Junior

“I think it’s okay, but it’s never been a problem for me because I don’t understand the thing about kneecaps or shoulders.”

Kaitlyn Hill, Freshman 

“I like the change to the dress code and I really like that the students got a say in it. But I feel like this dress code is harder to enforce, because a lot of outfits are borderline.”

Mr. Esarey, Social Studies

Story by: Leia DeGeorge

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Diversity Among Student Leaders

Diversity has become an important thing around the Jeffersonville community. The amount of diversity in our student leaders has been growing in our community and across America. As individuals, we might not always think about the diversity in our community — but across America, it is becoming more important to people’s everyday lives.

Jeffersonville High School has over 2000 students, giving us the chance to have more diverse leaders in different positions of different clubs. Since our school has so many students, I believe it is important for diversity to happen because diversity helps bring different backgrounds and cultures to our community. People from different backgrounds can bring new ideas to the table that we haven’t thought of before due to their different perspective on the world.

That is why having Amelia Epperson, who is from Australia, and Bethia Busingye, who is from Rwanda, as our student leaders on Student Council is so important to our community. They’re both from different countries, so they both have experienced different things and can offer some great new ideas to Student Council. As someone who ran for office myself (I ran for Class President for the class of 2022), I understand what might motivate someone to seek a school leadership position. I wanted to help make students’ voices be heard, help change things in the school and apply my life experiences in a way that would help others.

The fact that Bethia and Amelia are doing that, while also bringing cultural diversity to our student leadership, is icing on the cake. Some people are on the opposite side and don’t like the increasing diversity in America. The opposite side is the people who want America to stay the same and not change. One person being our president, Donald J. Trump, who has been attacking people of color in America and telling those people to go back to their countries. Diversity should not set us apart; diversity should bring us together. Schools are becoming more diverse because of the changes that are happening. The changes that are happening involve different people from different cultures that are coming to America.

As schools are becoming more diverse, the students’ leaders have become more diverse — here and around America. Increasing diversity is why Jeffersonville High School is one of the best schools in Indiana, in my opinion. We have many diverse leaders who can help the school and change the community in a big way.

The topic of diversity is becoming more important every day to us as individuals and us as students — as it should be, because it is a very important topic. Having diverse leaders is not only going to affect our community but the world as a whole. All in all, having diverse leaders is not only going to help change our community, but change the world for the better.

Opinion by: Nana Spio

Leaders From the Other Side of the World

Staff Photo

Student Council co-presidents Bethia Busingye and Amelia Epperson are not only from different countries, they’re from different continents. Busingye immigrated to the United States from Rwanda, Africa four years ago, and Epperson moved to the United States from Melbourne, Australia about three years ago. 

Epperson and Busingye joined Student Council together when they were sophomores and now run the club together. 

“It’s good that we’re already friends, because we already know how to work with each other,” Epperson said. “Look at us, (Student Council) presidents, three years later.” 

Despite being in the United States for several years, the two seniors have had challenges, especially adjusting to life in a foreign country. “Well, I have family here,”  Epperson said. “I came here once before when I was 10. So I kind of have a feel for it. I wasn’t terrified, but it was still kind of scary and, it’s a new school, it’s way bigger than any school I’ve ever been to. It was a little culture shock.” 

“People have different, really weird questions to ask you,” Busingye said. “And I had to make a lot of adjustments, like with my accent. I had to start putting on an American accent in order for people to understand me, because kids would (be) like ‘That’s not how you say that.’ So it was kind of a big difference, and people were a lot less nice.” 

Epperson agrees with this, saying, “I feel like there was a little bit of discrimination with us. Like, your (Busingye’s) accent, people are like, ‘Oh my God that’s weird, what are you saying?’ and (with) my accent people are like, ‘Oh my God it’s so great.’” 

Epperson and Busingye feel that it’s important to have an example of foreigners running a school club. “It makes other students (feel) like they are welcome to come,” Busingye said. 

“I’ve seen many students who are foreign, and…they don’t join any clubs, (because) they feel like they’ll be out of place. (But they’ll) be like, there’s two foreigners running Student Council.” 

Natalie Bronson, the sponsor of Student Council, feels that Epperson and Busingye represent Jeff High well. “I truly feel that Amelia and Bethia, both being from different countries, genuinely and accurately represent the dynamics of Jeff High,” Bronson said. “We have a diverse group of students and it is not only shown in the student body as a whole, but in the leadership roles we have throughout the school that students hold.”

Story By: Greta Reel

New GCCS Five-Year Plan Proposes Investments in Jeff High

On Sept. 17, 2019, Greater Clark County Schools Superintendent Mark Laughner presented his five-year strategic plan to the school board. Some of the proposed expenditures for Jeff High include:

  • Year one – 1 million dollars for a new football turf, 300 thousand dollars for a new track, and 2.4 million dollars for new football bleachers and press box.
  • Year two – 75,000 dollars for Radio and TV lighting
  • Year 3 – 2.8 million dollars for new locker rooms and weight rooms and 750,000 for HVAC

Jeffersonville High School Principal Julie Strait believes the bleachers are smart investments, saying, “Take a good look… it would be a much wiser investment, and something we could take pride in if we replace them.” She also was supportive of the new turf saying, “We’re the only high school in 6A without a turf football field. It’s part of pride in your community”

These proposed expenditures were part of a larger plan to support the school district’s goals in four focus areas. 

The first area is climate and culture, and the primary goal being to increase trust and communication. The district proposed many tasks in order to achieve this goal, including releasing a newsletter, providing more professional development, overhauling the website, increasing the marketing budget, and increasing many other forms of communication. 

The second focus area is community partnerships. The first goal is to engage diverse partners. The district hopes to implement a more formal tracking process to acquire more diverse partners that better represent the community. The second goal of this focus area is to make sure that these partnerships have mutually beneficial results. 

The third focus area is financial stability and responsibility. Within this focus area, a primary goal is maximizing and sustaining enrollment. The district proposed many solutions including creating more options for dropouts and homeschool children, adding a bus on Salem Noble Road to stop migration to other districts, transporting more students to their school of choice, redrawing school lines, and sending letters of intent to all 5th-8th grade parents. The second goal being reducing costs of programs and facilities. Some solutions proposed include a restructuring of the preshool system, a changing of instruction with elementary related arts, closing the River Valley Middle School Pool, and a possible retirement buyout. The third goal of this focus area is upgrading and updating facilities. The tasks of this goal include keeping the tax rate steady, implementing a five-year facility plan, reducing energy costs, and completing a five-year facility and demographic study. 

The fourth focus area is quality academics. The first goal is to improve student achievement by increasing the percent of students above their grade level in math and reading. The second goal of this focus area is to reduce the achievement gap in literacy, numeracy and PRIDE by transforming teaching and learning to increase student achievement. 

The school board will meet next on Tuesday, Oct. 1, at 7 p.m.

 

Written by Maxwell Fisher