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Will Biden Cancel Student Debt?

For years parents, teachers, and mentors all had a simple formula for success – go to college. However, while many college graduates leave with better job prospects and a diploma, often these young adults also leave with large amounts of debt. According to Forbes, by February of this year, the collective student debt in American topped $1.7 trillion spread over about 45 million people. Now President Joe Biden is considering how to tackle this challenge, and as students burdened by this debt enter an uncertain economy, many questions remain.

In the first 100 days of his administration, Biden has taken some steps to lessen the amount of debt for certain borrowers. For example, Biden has already cancelled debt for 72,000 victims of fraud and 41,000 debt holders with disabilities, according to Business Insider. Despite these progressive actions, many activist groups and Democratic politicians are urging the Biden administration to do more to tackle student debt.

In 2020, then-candidate Biden promised to cancel $10,000 in student debt for each American borrower. He planned to forgive these debts using his authority from the Higher Education Act of 1965, which many believe gives the President the authority to cancel student debt. Biden is said to have directed his Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to assess the legal issues surrounding student debt cancellation. 

Despite these recent moves, many progressives are pushing Biden to cancel $50,000 of student debt for all American borrowers. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York is part of the group pushing for the larger debt cancellation saying, “It will do so much good for America.” The debate inside the Democratic Party represents one of the first big disagreements of Biden’s Presidency. Advocates for cancelling larger sums of debt say it would help stimulate the economy and decrease the racial wealth gap, while Biden and his allies argue forgiving those large sums of debt for all Americans would benefit some who are wealthier and chose to attend private institutions.

As the debate rages in Washington, the people affected weigh their options. Senior Joselen Lopez cites student loan debt as a huge factor in her college decision, “Financial Aid is always my first consideration. I hope that the Biden Administration takes action and gives more thought to forgiving outstanding loans and decreasing future student debt,” she says. Lopez will attend IU Bloomington in the fall.

As pressure mounts from activists, students, and politicians, Biden will face the same question about student debt that has defined his presidency so far – just how big will Biden go?

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News Opinion

Staff Editorial: Moving Forward

This year, our coverage has been dominated by one topic: COVID-19. The pandemic has altered every aspect of our lives. Articles about what were the usual high school moments – sports, dances and clubs now included precautions and notes about how the pandemic affected the event. 

Despite this, we don’t believe the pandemic was over-covered, as its effect can barely be understood even now. Its impact has been all encompassing and has forced us to reconcile with long held beliefs and norms in the face of unprecedented change. We too have reflected not only on our work, but what this pandemic has taught us about ourselves and our world.

As vaccination rates rise and cases fall, life will start to look more normal. However, we as a school and a community should not immediately snap back to the ways of before without question. We would be remiss if we allowed this pandemic to come and go without teaching us something about ourselves.

Here are some things we have learned:

1.) We need community. While America has always been a nation that prides itself on individualism, we must realize that some issues are too widespread and important to face alone. In times of trouble we need help; we need each other.

2.) Division is our weakness. There are important differences in politics today, and those disagreements should be hashed out and vigorously debated. But it is when we fail to recognize our common humanity that those small differences become irreconcilable. That’s when we fail.

3.) School is more complicated than we thought. With virtual school, our learning drastically changed. For some it was a dream come true – the chance to work at your own pace and make your own schedule. For others it was a nightmare – sitting in bed on your chromebook with motivation decreasing by the second. But as we move forward we understand that school is about more than learning in a classroom. It’s about social interaction; it’s about the structure of the school day and it’s about our personal growth.

4.) We all can benefit from some personal changes. In quarantine most of us took up new activities. Whether it was crafting, meditation, or baking, we learned new skills, and as life slowed down we were able to make the changes that we needed. Many people also had changes to their friend group and peers. While change isn’t always easy, sometimes change is what we need.

5.) We need to pay more attention to local government. Often all eyes are on our national government. We hold our breath for presidential and congressional elections, but often the most important governing is done at the local level.In the beginning of the pandemic it was state governments that took action, shutting down businesses and schools in the name of public safety. As we attempted to reenter school this year, it was the school board who set guidelines and rules for how we went back to school safely. While sometimes hard to understand or less exciting, local government matters.

As we enter our new normal, we hope all people learn the lessons this past year has given us. As we head optimistically into the future, let’s make sure to not return to the status quo, but rather, to re enter our normal routines with an open mind, an appetite for improvement and the will to change our lives for the better.

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News

After a year off the field, the Jeff High Baseball Team is Ready for Success

The Baseball team departs the field in their game against Floyd Central. Photo Credit – Claire Smith

Sliding into the season on a new field, the Jeffersonville High School Baseball team has been working hard to make up for what they’ve missed. Going through the challenges of this year, the team has been able to build a family-like connection.

After the season was cancelled last year, the team worked hard and looked forward to this season. Alex Kelley, a Junior on the Varsity Team says,  “Baseball has brought together a brother-like bond that we can turn to keep our minds off the virus and the crazy things going on in today’s world. Baseball has been something I love and can always turn to when things go south and I think that goes for a lot of the guys on the team.” For most members of the team, baseball is really something that keeps them motivated not just on the field but in school as well. Kyle Campbell, a freshman on the JV Team says, “Baseball has helped me by keeping me focused on school work, which helps with baseball, because bad grades equals no baseball.” 

The team has worked hard to improve every time they play. Since COVID-19 spiked last year at the start of baseball season, they lost some teammates. Kannon Stull, another Junior on the Varsity Team says, “Not being able to play was a hit for younger players with little experience on Varsity. Although the sense of having so little experience has given us a sense of being the Underdogs and that really allows us to be calm and play our style of game.” Despite the challenges, this season allowed the team to experiment with new techniques and work even harder. Kelley says, “This season feels like it means more. We didn’t have a season last year and we never know what is going to happen for next season so it really made us play every game like it will be our last because it very well could be.” The time and effort has really paid off.

The new field also provides new opportunities. With easier maintenance and space to control fielding, the new field was a huge benefit. Campbell says, “It’s amazing that we get to play on the turf field. With the turf it helps infielders be able to read the ball better and we don’t have to worry about bad hops. Also when it rains on game days there’s a better chance it won’t get canceled.” Having this field made the team even more appreciative of the work put in.

The team will begin their post season on May 29, 2021, in the Semi-Final of the Floyd Central Sectional.

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News

Senior Leadership Guides the Girls Tennis Team Into the Postseason

The Hyphen sat down for a Q&A with Evelyn Minton to discuss the tennis season.

Evelyn Minton, Congratulates her teammate on a successful point. Photo by Emma Blacklock

The Jeffersonville High School Girls Tennis team is moving through their postseason, optimistic about their chances and fresh off a sectional win against Providence. Senior Evelyn Minton helps prepare her team for the upcoming challenges of the postseason. The Hyphen staff was able to ask her a couple of questions about her experience in the sport and what the team is like this year.

Q: Why do you play tennis?

“I play tennis because it is super fun and I like having a competitive outlet.”

Q: What is the team dynamic?

“We have a lot of strong leaders on the team and we encourage our team mates while we play by cheering up and down the courts. We have 6 seniors on the team so we have a lot of experience and a desire to win for our last season.”

Q: What does a normal practice look like for you?

“Normal practice for me is a ton of serving and doubles drills with the other doubles teams. Sometimes we do game play and other days we just work on strategy and communication with our partners.”

Q: What inspired you to join tennis?

“I started playing back in middle school because I wanted a sport to do in the spring.”

Q: What is the hardest part about tennis?

“The hardest thing about tennis is playing in the weather. If the wind is crazy or it’s super hot it can be hard to adjust.”

Q: What has the season looked like thus far?

“So far we’ve had a good season. We’ve played competitively all year and we’re still getting better as a team every match.”

Q: How do you feel about your performance this season so far?

“I’ve had a ton of fun this season. My partner(Loran) and I have a winning season and we’ve gelled as a team. We feel like we have unfinished business and were looking forward to racking up some more wins this year.”

Q: What is your favorite thing about the sport?

“I love the energy and competitiveness of tennis. I always have fun while playing.”

The Jeff Girls Tennis team will continue their season Tuesday, May 25, 2021 against New Albany in Regionals.

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News

Online Testing: The Challenge of Ensuring Fairness and Avoiding Dishonesty

Jeffersonville High School teachers are using a range of approaches to make sure students are keeping it honest when testing

Story by Amber Walker

With the introduction of Chromebooks, Greater Clark County Schools students were able to switch to online lessons and assignments relatively quickly and easily during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, one issue stands out as a sticky subject: online assessments. 

Cheating on tests is not a new problem. Even before COVID-19, students were able to cheat using a range of methods, from writing notes on your palm to sharing pictures to wearing special sunglasses that allow you to spy on your classmates’ papers. However, the large number of students who are attending school online during the pandemic makes it much more difficult for teachers to spot and prevent cheating. 

Since the pandemic started, many schools have adopted tech solutions to prevent cheating. For example, GCCS Chromebooks have built-in monitoring software called Classwize. Using this service, teachers can monitor students’ screen activity and task behavior. Brittany Wright, who teaches Algebra 1 and Geometry at Jeff High, says she has used Classwize to keep students on task whether they are at home or physically in class working on their Chromebooks. “I can close their browser if they are doing something they’re not supposed to,” Wright says. However, the system is not foolproof because students may still have access to other devices such as phones and tablets. Still, Wright says, Classwize is “better than nothing.”

Some teachers approached the issue by making more thought-provoking, opinion-based test questions. English teacher Taylor Troncin says, “This school year, I have had to think outside of the box when it comes to assessments. Instead of doing multiple choice or true/false questions, I have started using more open ended questions, which challenge students to not only answer questions, but to explain their reasoning.” Troncin is also looking at the concept of an assessment more creatively. “I have moved more towards projects that can be completed virtually,” she says. 

While open-ended questions make it more difficult for students to cheat, there is a major drawback: it takes extra time for teachers to grade long-answer questions. 

Another tactic being used is scrambled questions and answers. Some teachers are also limiting the time students have to complete tests. Finally, open-book and open-note tests have become more common — even for traditional, in person classes. 

As for fairness, it might seem like online students have advantages over traditional students because they are not monitored as easily. Also, as science teacher Eric Robinson points out, taking tests at home allows for “opportunities that aren’t available in your more traditional classroom” such as a more comfortable environment. However, Robinson has noticed one thing in particular that works against online students: motivation. Robinson says, “It’s made students not as concerned about test-taking. It doesn’t feel as concrete to them.” In short, when it comes to testing online, Robinson says “there is more opportunity, but there is also less desire.”

The reasons students are inclined to cheat are often ambiguous. Perhaps it is done out of a simple necessity to move onto the next level in life. Perhaps it is done to achieve a perfect score or avoid failure. Sometimes students just don’t feel up to the task. Even if academic dishonesty cannot be prevented entirely, Jeff High teachers are taking steps to minimize cheating and level the playing field for all students.

Story by Amber Walker

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News

Welcoming Another Creative Mind:Mr. Ridings

After teaching at Parkview Middle School, Corey Ridings adds a new element to Jeffersonville High School’s art program.

Transitioning from a comfort zone can be a challenge, especially if it was for a long period of time. For Corey Ridings, former art teacher at Parkview Middle School, coming to Jeff High this year has been a new but good adjustment. After teaching at Parkview for 18 years, he decided to take the opportunity for a new change. As Mr. Ridings has said, “ So far, so good.” Boosting creativity around Jeff High might just be what we need.

Art teacher Corey Ridings
Hyphen Staff Photo


Mr. Ridings had always wanted to coach Varsity basketball. He had played basketball growing up, and it was always something he planned to do. To be a coach of any sport you have to have a teaching license. This is what led him to art. He enjoyed coaching, but he wasn’t committed like he should have been. “Gradually, about halfway through my teaching career … I started to be more passionate about art and in the process less about coaching.” At this point he knew that his initial future plan had changed direction.


His transition from teaching middle school students and then coming to Jeff High had been somewhat of an easy one. His reasons were, “I wanted to see what it was like to work with kids at a higher level,” says Ridings. “I needed a change,” he added.


He also enjoys working with students who have varying degrees of passion about art. “In middle school you’ve got a lot of kids that get art no matter what, and you still get that here a little bit. You have students who fall under the category of them getting art, and then you have the students who have no art background, and have to figure out a way to connect with them.”


He also works with students who are more experienced. “When you get into painting and drawing in upper level classes, you generally are going to get students who are passionate about art.” There is a constant flow of creativity. The colors draw people in, and captivate them. When there is time put into something, and there is passion, it can create something of meaning. “I try to teach them things so that if they see me in 20 years, something I said meant something to them.”


Regardless of what level students are at, Ridings says his priority is “quality over quantity.” . He explains, “My philosophy on teaching, especially with art, is it’s not just about getting something done, turning it in and getting a grade. It’s about mastering what the content is we are working on.” This gives the students the opportunity to work on something until that skill is mastered. This takes time and dedication, especially if it’s something you enjoy. You aren’t tested on your ability to do something, it’s more of the progression of your work and if there is improvement.


Ridings also looks for opportunities to boost creativity. In the past, he used meditation at the beginning of class to open the students’ minds and really boost that creative side of the brain. He hasn’t really seen an opening where that is needed for his high school students, so he’s not quite sure if he’ll bring that back. With the pandemic going on, he has focused more on how to communicate with students online and the way that each student approaches their art. All different, but all beautifully put together.

Story by Anna Hardin

Categories
Basketball News Sports

New x Two: Jeff High Basketball Rebounds With New Boys and Girls Basketball Coaches

Coach Melissa Voyles – Girls Basketball

Coach Melissa (Missy) Voyles took the head coaching job at Jeff High because it presented a great opportunity and a great challenge. Prior to coaching at Jeff, Voyles had coached at North Harrison. However, she wanted the chance to coach at a division 4A (the high school sports division for the largest schools) school like Jeff. She also saw the girls basketball team as a program with potential. “It’s always a program that could really be dominant,” she says.

Despite her optimism, there was a clear challenge for the Red Devils this year: injuries. Voyles said this season they had five ACL tears, one broken wrist, and two concussions. “I have never seen this many injuries,” she says. Despite these challenges she has been pleased with the level of dedication her players have shown, saying, “They play hard every day. I can’t fault them for that.” With this dedication has come improvement, according to Voyles.


Going into the season in a tough conference, and after losing a lot of senior talent last year, Voyles says, “I knew it would be a big struggle win-or-loss wise.” However, she credits her team’s leadership and hard work with their success this year, specifically, she credited Neveah Bates (junior), Baily Gibson (senior), Ajia Estes (senior), Tatum McFarland (sophomore), and Sofia Reese (sophomore) with creating a contagious positive atmosphere on the team.


For the postseason, the goal was simple for Voyles. “I want to compete with Bedford.” On Feb. 5, 2021, Jeffersonville fell to Bedford North Lawrence 62-36 in the Sectional Semi-final. Despite their season coming to an end, the Devils were able to keep the game within 10 points with the fourth-ranked Stars, until the fourth quarter.

Coach Andrew Grantz – Boys Basketball

Coach Andrew Grantz says he took the boys basketball job at Jeff High for many reasons, including “the history, the tradition, and the fan support here at Jeff.” Grantz also wanted to return to coaching in Indiana, and with the talent at Jeff High, he was excited at the opportunity to build the program.


For Grantz, the biggest difference between this job and his past coaching gigs is the community. “You know, Providence was a great place to be,” he says, “but you know with a private school, you’re pulling from all different directions.” He feels that the closeness in the Jeff High community really sets the program apart, and unlike Fort Myers, Florida (where he was for a past coaching job), basketball is a bigger deal here in Indiana.


For Grantz, his pride in his team was on display after the first semester when he learned the team had a GPA of 3.4 (highest in program history according to Grantz). For him this accomplishment was important as a coach because “they’re setting themselves up for life after basketball,” he says.


Leading up to the season, with all the confusion about COVID-19, he says the goal was simple: “Let’s just play games.” He also felt that despite the loss of a talented senior class last year, the team would be strong.


Despite his optimism, he does feel one of the major challenges was Jeff’s lack of a consistent feeder program. “Whenever I was younger there was the JYBL (Jeff Youth Basketball League), and if you look at the run Jeff had in the ’90s, that happened right after JYBL started,” Grantz says. He hopes to be able to tackle this problem, which he believes will really help the program as it has before.

Looking toward the end of the season, his goal for his team is simple: “We want to reach our full potential… if we do that or come close to that we have a chance to make a run in the postseason.” Over the season, he says the team has “had flashes of it.” But to reach his goal it’s about “putting it all together at once.”

By Max Fisher

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News

Jeff High Theatre Brings “9 to 5” to the Stage This Weekend

The Jeffersonville High School theatre department is putting on a production of Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5”, directed by Jeff High alumni Sarah Holland. Performances are March 12 and 13 at 7 p.m. and on March 14 at 2:30 p.m. All performances will be held in the JHS auditorium.

“9 to 5” explores the experience of women in the workplace, and it includes plenty of quirky characters. Judy (portrayed by Hannah Dickens) is freshly divorced and working in an office for the first time in her life, finding it difficult in a new environment. Doralee (Jasmine Fondrisi) is judged by her colleagues for how she looks and endures hardship over the things she enjoys. And Violet (Joryn Burns) is a strong woman who is trying to move outside of her comfort zone and take control of not only what she needs, but what she wants. “9 to 5” tells the story of 3 women, in very different situations, not only standing up to their sexist and hypocritical boss Mr. Hart (Benjamin Broady) but also a system that is rigged against them. 

The original production of “9 to 5” takes place in the 1970’s, but by adding modern clothing and a more recent set, Holland renews this show by setting it in 2021. Holland points out that this change was to ask how we as a society can be better. “It’s amazing how when I sat down with all the girls in the cast, going around the room, talking about our experiences with sexual harassment. Every single person had their own story to share. That was both disheartening and it was great to speak about it and to have tough conversations. Because with a show like this, I’m not being subtle, I’m very firmly saying ‘this is an issue that we need to work on’ and I’m questioning the audience.” She expresses how lucky she feels to have this cast, and she feels relieved that the students have such great chemistry on stage.

Holland expressed the love she has for this cast. Although it was a challenge to pull it together in such a challenging time, she is pleasantly surprised with the result. “I know tickets are limited, but it’s gonna be streamed. Make sure you see 9 to 5, it’s truly something special.”

Cast and crew members have worked for weeks to prepare for this spring’s musical, “9 to 5”. Photo by Paige Moore.

Story by Emily Proctor

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Feature News Sports

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

Categories
News

Jeffersonville High School Leaders Considering Whether to Stick With Block Schedule Next School Year

At the beginning of this school year, Jeffersonville High School implemented a block schedule as part of the school’s efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19. According to Principal Pam Hall, “When we went to [block schedule] shortly before school started, the main reason was contact tracing and limiting exposures. The other was to limit movement.”


Now, as Jeff High starts to plan ahead for life after COVID-19, the question arises: stay on a block schedule next school year or go back to “normal”?


Hall says the process of making that decision is underway, but it could take a while to make sure all perspectives are considered. Step one was sending a survey to faculty and staff. This occurred in early January. Of those who completed the survey, 55 percent said they prefer the block schedule and 45 percent said they prefer seven periods a day.

Staff survey provided by Jeffersonville High School


Next, Jeff High’s administrators met with leaders from] other high schools in the district. Those schools had also conducted surveys about whether to keep the block schedule.


The next step in the process is to meet with the building leadership team at Jeff High (a group of people who
represents different departments and interests) to discuss the pros and cons of each option. The survey data is just one part of the puzzle. They must also consider the potential impact on student scheduling, lunch times, teachers’ planning time and more.


Whether Jeff High stays on block schedule or reverts to seven periods, Hall says the longer classes have been
beneficial during this challenging year, and not just for contact tracing purposes. “We learned we need to slow down and make sure students have the skills to be successful.”

Story By The Hyphen Staff

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News

Jeff High Senior Jasmine Fondrisi Sings Her Way to the Finals

Jasmine Fondrisi performs the national anthem before the 3A Girls Basketball State Finals.
Photo Credit: News and Tribune

Eight years ago, on the advice of her friends, 4th grader Jasmine Fondrisi asked to sing the national anthem before a Utica Elementary School basketball game. The scene on that day in the elementary gymnasium was much different than the scene on Feb. 27, 2021, as Fondrisi stood, center stage, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis singing the national anthem prior to the Class 3A Girls Basketball State Finals.

“Ever since I was little I loved singing, and I loved performing,” she says. That love was showcased in her participation in cheerleading, theater, and music all throughout middle school. But despite her talent, many at Jeff High didn’t necessarily know Fondrisi for her voice prior to this year. As an active student, she is just about everywhere: the IMPACT slides warning about avoiding dangerous situations, the auditorium preparing to perform, the football sideline cheering on the team or in the studio as a broadcaster for WJHI (Jeff’s radio and TV station).

Yet this year she was given a new opportunity to represent Jeff High, by singing the national anthem before basketball games. Fondrisi says she got the opportunity simply by asking. As she was sitting in the stands watching her sister play, she recalls relaying to her grandma that she wished she could sing the national anthem. “The worst they could say is no,” her grandma remarked. So she asked the athletic office for the opportunity to sing the anthem prior to tip-off. When they said yes, Fondrisi was once again ready to do what she loved. 

After that, it became a routine — and as she continued to perform, the compliments didn’t stop. One of those compliments came from the referees at the boys New Albany game, along with an offer to sing the national anthem at the state finals this year. After they exchanged information, and the IHSAA approved, the stage was set.

This performance was different than the usual at Jeff High. Rather than warming up in her car, she warmed up in the bathroom, and instead of easily maneuvering through a gym she had been to all her life, she admits she got lost in Bankers Life. Fondrisi summed up the experience in one word – “surreal.” She began as she had so many times before, and as she finished with “home of the brave,” her performance was met with cheers and applause.

For Fondrisi, singing the national anthem means a lot, whether in fourth grade or high school. “I feel proud because I get to represent myself, and I get to represent the school,” she says.  

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News

Black Out: Jeff High Staff Wear Black to Protest Proposed Changes to State Education Funding

English teacher Allison Clary was one of several teachers who wore black on February 24 to support the #Blackout4Ed movement

Many Jeff High teachers wore black on Wednesday Feb. 24, in opposition to recent actions by the state legislature and Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb. While Greater Clark staff typically wear red on Wednesdays as part of their “Red for Ed”campaign, the teachers participating in “Black out for Ed” opted for the color change to underscore the gravity of the moment. “The situation is dire,” said Jeff High English teacher Allison Clary.

The primary reason for the protest is Indiana House Bill No. 1001. The bill has drawn considerable opposition from many including the Indiana State Teachers Association and former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick. 

Passing on a near party line vote, the bill would increase education spending by 378 million dollars over the next two years. However, more than a third of the increase is targeted toward voucher programs rather than public schools according to WDRB.

Jeff High Principal Pam Hall cited the budget as her reason for wearing black on Wednesday saying, “[the budget] affects every student in our building.” She also had strong words for the legislators who passed the bill saying, “politicians are robbing Jeff High students of the money they are entitled to and deserve.”

Principal Pam Hall wore black on February 24 to support the #Blackout4Ed movement

The bill adds to a laundry list of complaints many teachers’ unions and public education advocates have toward Governor Eric Holcomb and Indiana Republicans. “Holcomb is not really a friend of public education,” said Clary.

Jeff High teacher Kristen Case cited other reasons for wearing black, saying she “hopes the governor will get vaccines pushed out to teachers and keep teachers well paid.”

The bill still has to be passed by the senate and signed by the governor prior to becoming law.

Story by Max Fisher