Jeff High Graduate Virginia Moore: “Shocking” Fame Provides a Platform to Help Others

For many people in our area, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear’s daily COVID-19 briefing became a staple of their daily routines. The briefings inspired virtual meet-ups, catchphrases like “you can’t be doin’ that” and even a meme group on Facebook that grew to more than 200,000 members. One aspect of the briefing — and the memes — that got a lot of attention is the sign language interpreter, Virginia Moore. However, most don’t know Moore is a Red Devil.

Moore grew up with both of her parents and two of her siblings being deaf. “My first language was sign language,” she says. However, leaving Jeff High she never thought her career would involve Sign Language, and after graduating in 1980 she attended Michigan State to study criminology.

Her plans changed when she came home from MSU after her father was involved in a car accident. She opted to complete her degree at Indiana University, and to pick up some extra cash she began interpreting for students. After going between different jobs, she would find her career path.

She became the interpreter for the Executive Director of the Kentucky Commission of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Over the years she worked her way through the agency, eventually becoming the Executive Director. The main operation of the agency is to provide advice to the governor’s office on policies affecting the deaf and hard of hearing communities.

However, it was only recently that Moore entered the spotlight as she began interpreting for the Governor at his COVID-19 briefings. 

virginia-meme

Jeff High graduate Virginia Moore gained meme-worthy fame as sign language interpreter for Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear.

While most of the attention she receives is for her interpretation, Moore and the agency continue to advocate for the deaf and hard of hearing during the pandemic, and it’s at times like these that their work is most important. 

Often, the needs of these communities are not factored in. For example, as the prison system was adapting to the pandemic they began issuing masks. However, many deaf and hard of hearing individuals rely on lip reading to understand others. So Moore and the agency advocated to provide clear masks.

While she has been busy, Moore has noticed the fame she has acquired, “It has been a little bit shocking,” she says. But Moore sees this publicity as more of an asset than anything else. “As COVID is a very horrible virus…there’s this little gold nugget. What we’ve been able to accomplish in the last three months is more than I’ve been able to accomplish in the twenty years prior,” she says.

Over the course of the pandemic, she says she has identified one thing more effective than any other: unity. Moore says, “In order to get something accomplished there is no Republican or Democrat… we can’t have these divisions at the beginning of something like this.”

But through it all she maintains an optimistic view, especially for students. Speaking to the Jeff High graduates and students she says.”This generation of graduates are truly the most creative… This is the one generation that everyone will remember.”

Governor Holcomb closes Indiana Schools for the Remainder of the 2019-2020 School Year

On April 2, 2020, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announced all schools in the state of Indiana will remain closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year. Schools are required to complete 160 total instructional days (20 more after April 2). 

Students attending any schools in Indiana are still heavily encouraged to follow the social distancing measures and complete their e-learning work when assigned. As of April 2, there have been 78 total Coronavirus deaths and over 3,000 confirmed cases of the virus in Indiana. The best way to fight the sickness, Holcomb stated is to continue to socially distance as much as you can, and to avoid going outside unless for necessary means. An announcement from Greater Clark County Schools is expected Friday, April 3.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb Announces The Closure of Indiana Schools Until May 1

Holcomb will also suspend all state testing for the school year

Updated March 19 at 3:52

At a press conference on Thursday, March 19, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announced that all Indiana schools will be closed until May 1, 2020. Holcomb also announced that state testing, including ISTEP10 and ILEARN will be cancelled.  These changes come as a result of the spread of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus.

The governor also noted the possibility of not being ready to return by May 1, and said, “If, and I stress if, by some miracle, we get students back this year, we’ll use that time in class for instruction. So I’m cancelling Indiana’s student assessments for this school year.” 

After Holcomb, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick expanded on some of his proposals. 

“School closure to May 1… this is the first step,” McCormick said, “There may be a need to come back and revisit that.” McCormick also noted that it is just state testing being cancelled and not other non-mandated testing.

 McCormick said, “Our goal is to graduate (high school) seniors.” However, she noted that decisions for certain ceremonies will be made on a local level. 

On March 19, Greater Clark County Schools announced their plans for the time off. Weeks will alternate between eLearning weeks and Closed Days. On the weeks that students are off, they may continue to work on submitting assignments from the eLearning week before, but no new work will be assigned.

According to the Indiana Department of Health, there are currently 56 reported cases of the coronavirus in Indiana as of March 19, 2020. 

Story by Greta Reel and Max Fisher

Straight From the Source: Jeffersonville High School principal Pam Hall Discusses the Coronavirus

On March 13, 2020 Greater Clark County Schools, lead by Superintendent Mark Laughner, announced GCCS’s plan in response to the global pandemic, COVID-19 (Coronavirus). 

The plan states Greater Clark County schools will have:

  • e-learning until Spring Break (March 16 – 20)
  • regularly scheduled Spring Break (March 23 – 27)
  • no school (March 30 – April 3)

GCCS will also not have to make up the week without school following Spring Break. Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has waived 20 days for all Indiana schools. This means the 5 days used  by GCCS the week of March 30 will be excused. 

Looking forward GCCS will make a decision for the week of April 6 – 10 by April 2. 

While the decision to close was made at the district level, Jeffersonville High School principal Pam Hall says her staff was already doing what they could to keep students safe. “Our custodial staff have been consistently using chemicals that would kill the virus,” Hall says,  “We’ve made a very calculated and very rigid routine of cleaning in between passing times…Making sure that those very common areas are being wiped down consistently.” She also noted that that the custodial staff will do a “top-to-bottom” clean of the school during the break. 

Jeffersonville High School Principal Pam Hall says the E-learning days should be like those done before at Jeff High, “It should just be very short assignments, no more than 15- 20 minutes.” Hall also noted that teachers like usual will be available to help during the course of the day. 

While district and other administrators have only made a decision for the next three weeks, many Jeff High students have expressed their concerns for future events. Whether it’s prom, graduation, or spring sports. Students are wondering what will happen following the three weeks. 

Hall says the administration hasn’t made any official plans that far forward, but she hopes to be able to deliver these experiences for her students. “I think that there are certain things that a student at any high school looks forward to,” says Hall, “We know that graduation and prom are two really big things…  and it is certainly something that we want to make sure happens for our kids. So they have that full high school experience.” Despite this, Hall says there are no concrete plans in place at the moment. For sports, Hall believes a lot of the decisions will be influenced by the IHSAA (Indiana High School Athletic Association.) But Hall, a former athlete and former coach herself, hopes for the best after the three weeks. 

When asked about the reaction to COVID-19 Hall doesn’t think the plan by GCCS is an overreaction. She says when looking at all the angles, “This makes sense.”

And Then There Were Three

Former Vice President Joe Biden takes the lead in the 2020 Democratic Primaries, while multiple candidates drop out of the presidential race.

Former Vice President Joe Biden has appeared to take the lead in the 2020 Democratic primaries following his surge on what is known as Super Tuesday. 

On Tuesday, March 3, 14 states (Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia) and one United States territory (American Samoa) held primaries and caucuses for the Democratic candidate in the 2020 presidential race. 

Biden surged, winning Alabama, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Maine,  Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) won Colorado, Utah and his home state of Vermont. Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg won American Samoa. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) held one delegate.

According to The Washington Post, in order to win the Democratic nomination, a candidate needs 1,991 delegates. Each state has a certain number of delegates based on the population and the weight in the Democratic party. Based on the number of votes they receive, the candidate wins the delegates. 

Bloomberg dropped out on Wednesday, March 4. After failing to win any states, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) dropped out of the race on Thurs., March 5.  Gabbard still remains in the race.

On Tuesday, March 10, primaries were held in Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota and Washington.  According to The Washington Post, Biden took the lead in Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi and Missouri, while Sanders took the lead in North Dakota. Washington has yet to be called.

Biden has received endorsements from former candidates Pete Buttegieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Bloomberg and as of March 9, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). It is currently unclear who Warren will endorse.

The presidential election between current President Donald Trump and the Democrat nominee will be on Nov. 3, 2020.

Story by Greta Reel

Coronavirus Spread Sparks Fears Worldwide

The coronavirus is becoming a worldwide pandemic and it is spreading fast. According to ABC News, the virus has already reached many as twenty-seven countries around the world such as China, Britain, Finland, France, Italy, and Australia. According to the New York Times, the coronavirus is a respiratory illness that began infecting people in Wuhan, China, and then spread across the world. According to the New York Times, the coronavirus started when people in Wuhan, China began eating certain types of poultry, seafood, and wild animals. Certain types of these foods have been known to carry viruses and diseases.

This is how people first started getting infected by the coronavirus in China. The other way the coronavirus has been affecting people in China is that it is forcing them to close transportation, schools, and major festivals. Not much is known about the coronavirus right now. Not even doctors or scientists know how easily the virus can be transmitted or how it can kill you. Doctors just know the virus is in your system for a long time before you start to show symptoms. The symptoms of the coronavirus are fever, severe cough, and difficulty breathing.

According to the Washington Post, the coronavirus has killed more than 1,000 people and has made over 28,000 people sick – with the number rising every day. The way people in China are trying to reduce the risk of getting the virus is by wearing masks that filter the air coming in. The coronavirus is such a problem that the Chinese government is rushing to build a hospital in ten days to care for the number of patients they are about to have. Meanwhile, those heading back to the United States from China have faced quarantine. As the virus spreads, fears about it affecting large numbers of Americans vary.

Rachel Lowe, a Jeffersonville High School sophomore, says, “I don’t think we need to worry about it being a major problem in the USA. Though many people have died and it is affecting a lot of people, I do not see a reason to freak out and think that I am going to get it. But I do think we need to learn how to minimize it.”

Hannah Taylor, a Jeffersonville High School sophomore, says, “It is a very scary and traumatizing incident because of the other flu and viruses going around scaring the nation.” Governments around the world such as Britain are sending scientists and doctors to China to help contain the virus and stop it. Scientists around the world are testing out different medicines on animals to see how the medicine responds to animals and the virus before they test it on humans. The drug doctors are using is called Remdesivir.

This antiviral medication has appeared so far to be effective against coronavirus in animals. The advances in technology and medicine are going to make it possible to stop the coronavirus faster. The world doesn’t know that much about the coronavirus yet, but doctors and governments are working together to solve this new virus as soon as possible.

Presidential Primary Season in Full Swing

The Democratic Primary season has begun with the first two states (Iowa and New Hampshire) in the book and “Super Tuesday” states tallying votes. The Primary process will finish in Milwaukee on July 13-16, where Democrats will nominate their opponent to battle incumbent President Donald Trump in the general election. (As of right now, the Republican Primary is almost a lock for Donald Trump. The President has high numbers within his own party, and it should be an easy primary season for the incumbent.)

To win the nomination a candidate must amass 1,991 delegates by the end of the process. While early, if there continues to be no clear consensus candidate, this opens the possibility to a contested convention. In this case, if no candidate is elected in the first round of ballots, delegates will be free to choose whoever they please as the nominee. With many contests to go, only time will tell.

Joe Biden

Age: 77 Education: University of Delaware, Syracuse University Law School Former Offices Held: New Castle County Councilman (1970 – 1972), Senator from Delaware (1973 – 2009), 47th Vice President of the United States (2009 – 2016)

Strengths: • high name recognition • reputation from working with Obama, who is extremely popular in the Democratic Party •  black voters will help him in the south Weaknesses: • poor debate performances • prone to political gaffes and blunders

Bernie Sanders 

Age: 78 Education: Brooklyn College, University of Chicago Former Offices Held: Mayor of Burlington, Vermont (1981 -1989), Vermont Representative (1990 – 2006), Senator of Vermont (2006 – current) 

Strengths: • solid base of support from the 2016 campaign • huge amounts of grassroots fundraising • extremely well with young voters 

Weaknesses: • recently suffered from a heart attack • little support from within the Democratic party

Elizabeth Warren 

Age: 70 Education: University of Houston, Rutgers University, George Washington University Former Offices Held: Chief Advisor of the National Bankruptcy Review Commission (1995 – 2005), Chairman of the Congressional Oversight Panel (2008 – 2010), Special Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (2010 – 2011), Senator from Massachusetts (2012 – current) 

Strengths: • regarded as one of the smartest candidates in the Democratic race • experience and policy statements have gained her the catch-phrase “I have a plan for that” • hopes to be a more palatable progressive choice to party moderates. 

Weaknesses: • multiple controversies over her over exaggeration of her Native American roots • potential to be everyone’s second choice 

Pete Buttigieg

 Age: 38 Education: Harvard University, University of Oxford Former Offices Held: Mayor of South Bend (2012 – 2020) 

Strengths: • seen as fresh and new in the political world. 

Weaknesses: • little experience and low name recognition • poor numbers within the black community

Amy Klobuchar

 Age: 59 Education: Yale, University of Chicago Former Offices Held: Hennepin County Attorney (1999-2006), U.S. Senator from Minnesota (2006 – present) 

Strengths: • from the Midwest, a key battleground area in presidential elections • well-spoken and has a prosecutor’s quick wit 

Weaknesses: • lower name recognition than other top-tier candidates • rumors of poor treatment of staffers early in the campaign, which Klobuchar has denied

Others Three other major candidates are running on the Democratic side. Michael Bloomberg (10.0%), Tom Steyer (1.6%) and Tulsi Gabbard (1.4%) are all still in the race. While these candidates have yet to earn any delegates, the primary season is long and prone to upsets and meteoric rises to the top. *Polling Averages According to Real Clear politics 

Safety vs. Reason

On the morning of Thursday, February 5, you hear the sighs of many students as Pam Hall, Jeff High’s interim principal, announces that starting Monday, February 10, backpacks and “large” purses will not be permitted in classrooms.

The rule has always been in effect for backpacks, yet not all teachers enforced it. Now, there has been an addition to the rule: Large purses will not be permitted either.  According to Ms. Hall, a “large purse” is defined as something that can hold a Chromebook or an iPad, but the size of iPad was not specified.

Many students voiced their complaints with the reinforcement of the rule. Some have taken to social media and made public complaints about the rules. According to sophomore Victoria Jade Worrall, “The [enforcement of these] rules on bags make my space more cluttered, and it makes it easier for me to lose assignments or entire folders.” When asked if the rules made her feel safer, she states, “Not really… If someone wanted to commit a crime, they would do whatever they needed to do to go through with it. You could fit a weapon practically anywhere.”

Sophomore Brooklyn Parish says she hears many students complain about the rules. “I hear how a lot of kids fall down the stairs from having their school stuff in their arms.” She goes on to say, “I can see why the school added this rule. It’s to keep us safe. If the school is worrying about someone wanting to hurt people, then they should listen to their students.”

When students are passionate about something, they typically don’t let go of the issue. In the next few days or weeks, students will still be voicing their complaints. All students can do is hope for a change or silence their complaints and deal with it.

Pam Hall Sees Potential in Jeff

After graduating from Jeffersonville High School in the class of 1989, Pam Hall “had no desire to ever step foot in a school again.” Now more than 30 years later, she walks the halls with a new title: interim principal. Her move into the interim principal role was approved by the school board on Jan. 14, 2020.

Although Hall has more than 25 years of teaching experience, her introduction to teaching came by chance. Hall was playing college basketball when she ruptured her Achilles tendon, and she chose to take a red shirt year (a year off from athletics, allowing one more year of eligibility). “I had to find something else to do, so I started taking education classes,” she says. Despite this, Hall still didn’t have her eye on teaching. She wanted to coach.

Out of college, she was hired as head basketball coach at Providence High School, and the school also hired her to work in the school. This was when she found her love for education. After 10 years of working at Providence, Hall says she was “ready for a new challenge.” She found this at Parkview Middle School. At Parkview, Hall worked in special education, specifically with students with behavioral problems. She loved the job, and she was content to stay in this position for her career. However,administrators saw potential in Hall, and after 10 years of working in this position, she was made Behavior Coordinator. Hall says she “loved every minute of it.”

During her time at Parkview, she worked under principal Mark Laughner, who is now superintendent of Greater Clark County Schools.“He had a way about him of encouraging you to take risks in the classroom and with your students,” says Hall. And after 13 years at Parkview, Hall was set to follow Laughner into administration at Charlestown High School.

However, before she entered the job, she was offered a position she couldn’t turn down: an assistant principal’s job at her alma mater, Jeffersonville High School. “I couldn’t  tell you how thrilled I was,” says Hall. Despite her excitement, she was upset to leave her favorite boss. “I love working for Mr. Laughner. But my heart is Jeff, I want to be at Jeff, I want to work with Jeff kids,” says Hall.

Hall’s fight for Jeff started earlier than most. “For me, I had to fight my parents to come here because all my family went to Catholic schools,” she says. “But I knew I wanted to be a Red Devil… I knew I wanted to play basketball here at Jeff,” she says. Hall’s passion and love for education stem from her passion and love for Jeffersonville. When Hall moved from Providence to Parkview, she was searching for a new challenge — and she found it in a community she loves. “I think the biggest difference is, here at Jeff, we have Jeff kids,” says Hall, “If you look at our staff, how many people are Jeff graduates, and choose to come back.”

Coming from a Catholic school, Hall says it “makes me appreciate the diversity at Jeff.” And what others may see as challenges, Hall embraces. “The challenges here, that private schools and other schools in affluent areas, like Floyd Central, they kinda maybe snub their nose at it,” she says, “but we embrace it. This is who we are. We’re proud of it.”

During the two and half years Hall as Freshman Academy Principal at Jeff High, her love for the school only grew. And when former principal Julie Straight left, Hall let her know she was interested in the job. On January 14, one month after Straight announced she would be leaving, Hall was named interim principal of Jeffersonville High School.

Looking forward, Hall believes she is ready to take on the job. “I have a certain directness,” says Hall, “I don’t necessarily believe in a lot of fluff. I’m just, it’s point A to point B and how do we get there?” She knows this directness will be needed to succeed at this job. This directness is seen by other teachers and students around the school as an asset. Hall credits this trait to her athletics. “I think being an athlete has done that. It gives you a skill set that maybe people who aren’t involved don’t,” she says. Hall not only enjoyed basketball, but she also had to play for her future. “When I grew up we didn’t have a lot of money,” she says, “So the only way I was going to go to college was I had to play basketball.” This is where she believes her hard work and tenacity was born.

Thinking back to her days at Parkview, Hall recalls being known as tough, yet always wanting the best for students. “I’m going to tell you what you need to hear,” she says, “but at the end of the day, I’m also going to put my arm around you and tell you it’s alright, and tomorrow is a new day.” Hall hopes to continue building these strong relationships with students at Jeff.

Hall’s goal this year is to continue the work of Mrs. Straight. But looking past this year, Hall hopes to change the school’s perception. She hopes when people are moving to Southern Indiana, they want to live in Jeffersonville so they can send their children to Jeffersonville High School. “If we can achieve that, we will have taken care of everything,” says Hall. For Hall, this goal is her passion. “For people who have never been outside of Jeff, maybe they don’t see how other people view us,” she says, “That for me has been the driving force. I want to help embrace who we are, but also I want to change it… Embracing who we are and showcasing the great things.”

While Hall admires Straight, she acknowledges the difference in their management styles. “Mrs. Straight and I joke about that all the time. Because we are very different,” says Hall. “I think we complement each other very well. I’m sort of the I’m going to come in and kick the door down and that’s how we’re going to go. Whereas she is more diplomatic.”

Looking forward to her time as principal, Hall says, “I could take a few lessons from her.” Hall has loved working for Straight. “I have no doubt we are watching our greatest Red Devil walk out the door,” she says, “I don’t know that anyone has given more to this school.” Hall is also excited for Straight with her new position. She believes she will still be able to serve her school saying, “There are many opportunities on the horizon.”

After many years in education, Hall says, “This isn’t a job, this is who I am.” And it’s simple what keeps her going, “The kids,” she says, “Every day when I walk down the hallway, there are 2,000 reminders of why I do this.” 

hall

Hall interacts with students working at the Devil’s Den who sold sweet treats for Valentines Day!

Students and Teachers React to First E-learning Day

On Friday, February 7, Greater Clark County Schools had their first E-learning day. E-learning days allow students to work from home. They do not make up the day at the end of the year. This has been implemented at many other public school districts, but this year is the first for Greater Clark. 

Schools have undergone two practice days in the first semester, but when school was called off for the 7th due to weather, the first real E-learning day was on. 

Responses on the first day were mixed amongst students. “It’s horrible,” says sophomore Lillian Hollins. “In my opinion, it’s just more stress-inducing and it’s a struggle to do.” However, others see the benefits of E-learning. “I personally really like E-learning days because they help me feel productive in my days off,” said junior Kaelin Elsner. 

Teachers also had mixed feelings about the process.“I think it’s beneficial for students to learn how to work from home,” says English teacher Justin Linde, “It simulates online classes one might take in college or a real-life job where one might be able to work from home.” Linde also believes the process will improve with more time. “I think once students have more practice with the process, they will find it more enjoyable and less stress-inducing,” he says. 

 Teacher Carolyn Simpson was happy with the process but found some problems. “I thought it went by on my end very smoothly,” she says. “The biggest negative is to use actual school and class time to get them to do their work.”

The next opportunity to experience the pros and cons of E-learning will be Monday, February 17 — which is a make-up day for a closure last fall. 

Honoring a Legend: Kobe Bryant

The Jeffersonville High School Student Section Honors Basketball Star’s Passing

Former NBA legend Kobe Bean Bryant has been an inspiration to his community and people around the world. On January 26, 2020, Bryant died in a helicopter crash at the age of 41 along with his daughter Gianna Bryant (13 years old) and 7 others. 

Around the world, people were in shock when they heard the news. Bryant was everywhere in our lives, he didn’t just impact basketball, he impacted the world. Whether it was an advertisement with him, an action his charity took, or kids shouting “Kobe” before throwing a balled-up piece of paper in a trashcan, Bryant’s influence was all around us, and he was apart of almost every athlete’s life. Bryant was more than a player, he was an inspiration, an icon and a legend, on and off the court.

The Jeffersonville High School Student Section decided to honor Bryant at the Homecoming game on Friday, January 31. Student Section leader and Senior Adam Crawford said he came up with the idea to change the theme to purple and yellow (the colors of the Laker’s jersey.) Crawford said he was inspired to change the theme, “Because he was someone who didn’t just inspire basketball players, but he inspired the whole world.” 

Bryant’s Career

  • 20 seasons in the NBA
  • 4th on the all-time scoring list with 33,643 career points
  • 5 NBA Championships
  • 2 finals MVPs
  • 18 NBA All Star game appearances
  • 11 NBA first-team selections
  • 9 NBA Defensive first-team selections
  • 2 Olympic Gold Medals (2008 and 2012)

Story by Cameron Allen