An Open Letter To My Freshman Year Self

By Chloe Treat

I’ll start by saying congratulations. Congrats for making it through what could have quite possibly been the lowest 4 years of your life. Not the worst, but the lowest. You had highs, plenty of them, but when those lows hit, they hit hard. I’m not exactly writing this to fill you in on all the things you’ll eventually learn, but to ease your anxiety on how those things are going to go, and to let you know that you’re doing fine.

You’re 14, so I hate to tell you, but that boy you met, it’s not going to work out. He’ll become your “whole world”, and that world is going to get thrown upside down and turned inside out. I also regret to inform you that the friends you have now are going to be long gone come senior year, so cherish them while you can.

So yes, you’re going to lose a lot, family even, the people that kept you going day and night, but these losses are going to bring you some pretty amazing gains. You’re strong. The universe and God will never burden you with something you can’t handle. It is NOT going to be easy, but it will be damn good in the end.

The Hyphen? Yes you made the staff, and believe it or not, you’re the Editor-in- Chief. This is going to stress you out more than you’ll ever know, but you’re going to win first places and find something within yourself you didn’t even know existed. You’re going to become opinionated and educated, and you’re going to find your voice in this loud world. You will debate, argue, and shed some tears over the things you’re passionate about. Keep your head up, because one of these days you might just change the world.

You’re going to have to grow up a little faster than your peers, and junior year is going to make you question everything you thought you knew. About yourself, your family, your faith, and the universe in general. Some really messed up stuff is going to happen, but you’ll make it through with the help of some genuine people.

Senior year is going to start off strange, but you’ll quickly fall into place. Football games and late nights at IHOP are going to become the highlight of your week, soak in the moment. You’ll soon become friends with girls that you never even imagined you’d talk to, and one of them is going to become your best friend.

I know what you’re thinking, “I will never have a best friend, I’m just too different”. Well think again because you’re going to find someone that may be just about as different as
you, her name is Lizzy, and you need to keep her close. You won’t be able to do it without her, but she isn’t the only one.

I know this is a lot to take in at once, but you need to know that all of the pain and hardships you go through truly do pay off. Stay true to yourself, be respectful yet skeptical. Find something to believe in and carry it close. Speak out and up when the room is silent, because someone has to. Keep fighting for social justice, gender equality,
and for this earth, even when it isn’t the cool thing to do. But most importantly, stay you. Stay loud, weird, and somewhat annoying, because as you know, well-behaved women seldom make history.

Might as Well Face It: You’re (Possibly)… Addicted to Love

Drugs and alcohol seem to be the first thing that crosses one’s mind when they hear the word addiction. Webster’s Dictionary defines the word addiction as noun; the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity. This backs up that singer Robert Palmer was right all along back in 1985 when he sang, “you might as well face it, you’re addicted to love.”

As you know, here at Jeff High we are teenagers. We have our education that is a priority, as well as our families, social life, extracurricular activities, jobs. Some people are fine being by themselves, they actually find peace in being alone. Others cannot stand being alone. What they can’t go without isn’t drugs or alcohol; it’s other people. It can be different types of relationships, friends and/ or significant others. Often times it can even be unhealthy relationships, just for the sake of being in one.

Apps with maps and locators, immediate status updates, access to live footage of what is going on. This has all led to a new condition: FOMO. Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website. For some of our parents the connection was a pager, but they still had to make the effort to find a phone to return a call. Cell phones were common in the late 90s and now they are an expected social norm. Add in the various methods of social media and now someone always knows what everyone else is doing.

The fear is real for those individuals; they are scared of not knowing everything going on with everyone else and not being included all of the time. Some have to interact or be around other people to function, they can’t make decisions or act on their own. They want to be included, and want to belong. Sadly, our society has become one where people value their self worth based on how many likes or retweets or shares their social media posts get. Our generation has the explosion of social media avenues to easily see what our peers are doing all of the time. There really is no escaping it.

It’s been called being codependent; being needy, awkward and insecure are just a few of the words used to describe feeling the need to be around someone. It can present to other people as desperation, nagging, clinginess. I’ve heard it referred to as being approval seeking, attention seeking or sometimes just downright crazy. There is a fine line and a difference between loving someone, being addicted to someone and obsessing over someone. How do you know if you are addicted to someone? At first it isn’t easy because just like drugs there is the high and good feeling in the relationship. Regardless of how that friend or significant other treat you, you keep running back to them to get that fix. When it’s good, its rewarding but when its bad, it’s usually very bad and unhealthy. You are left with a psychological dependence where you think you need the other person.

You lose your sense of self which can affect your mental health, your education, your successes and other relationships and friendships around you. Just like with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, there are 12-step programs, rehabs and books to help you learn how to stop being addicted to people. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Written by Hannah Thibedeau

Another View: Experimentation Doesn’t Always Lead to Addiction

It’s easy to conclude that first of all, the use of drugs that are claimed to be “gateway drugs” is on the rise, and the consequences for these are severe. For example, at Jeff High, if you are caught with marijuana or alcohol on school campus, you’ll be arrested without any question.

However, I do not believe that experimentation of these substances directly lead to the use of harder drugs like cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine. Though majority of drug abusers have started from abuse of marijuana and/ or alcohol, correlation does not equal causation.

Not everyone who uses is susceptible to addiction. Addiction can be acquired through familial history, poor mental health, and a number of different reasons, but not necessarily because of some irresponsible decisions in high school.

Written by Bella Bungcayao

The Addictive Nature of Drama and Gossip

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Once a teenager reaches their high school years, they will quickly learn the notorious nature of tension amongst their peers. Though it is unspoken, there is a very apparent culture of having a chip on everyone’s shoulder, and saying one wrong word on someone else’s name can cause an uproar of backlash on social media, in the classrooms, and out.

The word “drama” has lost its association with theater. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines drama as, “a state, situation, or series of events involving interesting or intense conflict of forces”.

They also define the word “gossip” as, “a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others”. However, most teens would disagree with this definition, as the majority of “gossip” that is spread is far from factual.

Both of these definitions have a negative connotation, but why are they so common?

High school is a strange time of transition for every student. In the short span of four years, a student will almost inevitably be exposed to several crucial life experiences such as the loss of friendships, falling in love, betrayal, failure and so forth. We’ve all been there.

With that being said, it’s not so surprising that those who haven’t yet reached the maturity to take these experiences with a light heart, are acting out.

This phenomenon has been a relevant issue this year at Jeff High, and predominantly within the underclassmen. According to several seniors and juniors, there is more tension amongst the school than anyone has ever seen before.

It is extremely easy to walk the halls at this school and hear about who did what over the weekend, which friends are fighting, which couple is breaking up… as if any of that information is anyone else’s business except for the subject’s.

And those involved are not adamant to stop it. They feed off of it. Much like an addiction.

There are several theories as to why this is, which span from the emotional turmoil that is puberty to lack of attention at home. For those of you concerned that this inevitable phase of life won’t come to an end, just take a step back and breathe. High school isn’t near as long as it seems.

By Bella Bungcayao

Photo by Amber Rowe

Staff Editorial: It’s Time to Own Up to Addictions

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There are many different types and forms of addiction, from cell phones and video games to alcohol and drugs. Addiction has made its way all through society from young children to older adults. Addiction has shown itself through many things that people have attached themselves to. Even addictions that seem harmless can have detrimental effects, whether people realize it or not.

In this issue, The Hyphen will inform you on many different types of addictions that are still relevant and will continue to be for many more years to come. So, how will society contribute to stopping these addictions? It starts with acknowledging that drugs and alcohol aren’t our only addictions. If it’s hard to stop doing something – whether it’s drinking Red Bull or checking your Instagram or keeping up with the latest drama – that thing has power over you. If you want to regain your power, start with admitting to its addictive nature – because whether you believe it or not, even something that seems insignificant could potentially be harmful in the long run.

Guest commentary: We believe bowling should be considered a sport here at Jeff High

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Bowling is already labeled as a sport at the professional level. It is also counted as a sport at other high schools, including Jasper and Ben Davis.

Plus, the Rollin’ Red Devils had one of the best records of any team at this school so far this year. The team brought home not only a Sectionals Champion trophy, but also a Regionals Runner-up trophy. The Rollin’ Red Devils also went all the way to semi-state this year for team event.

This is only the third year Jeff High has had this bowling team together. We have made a lot of progress, so let’s keep the ball rolling.

Written by Conner Shaw and Bret Cooper

Opinion: The Power of a Familiar Face

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Every student deserves to see someone they can relate to in a position of authority

Every day we wake up to go to the same place, for the same amount of time, with the same people. Though we have many things in common as Jeff High students, we are all different. We have different priorities, motivations and backgrounds. You may not have thought about it this way, but finding someone who shares your background could help you learn.

According to the Indiana Department of Education, in the 2016-17 school year there were 92.3 percent white teachers to 7.8 percent of non-white teachers at Jeffersonville High School.* While the student body has a great deal of diversity, the teaching staff does not. This may be what is making it hard for students to engage academically. If students don’t see someone who looks like them in power, it’s hard for them to imagine themselves in that position.

Junior Ananda Brooks says that when she has a teacher who has a similar background, “I can relate and be motivated more. If they can do it coming from where I do, then I know I can too,” she said.

Each student has a different range of strengths in certain areas. Some can be based on their environment and how they were brought up. Others can be strictly social based. Some teachers are willing to modify the way they teach to the way some students learn. On the other hand, adapting their teaching style is out of the question for some teachers; students who struggle in the classroom that know this are willing just to give up. Most students just want their teachers to encourage them.

Lanna Tate, a junior, spoke on how one of her predominantly white teachers did not encourage her to strive for a higher semester grade after she had asked if there was anything she could do to raise it. Despite that one teacher, she had a staff member of color guide her as a student. “He gave me a lot of advice and helped me make smart decisions in school and out,” said Tate.

Schools should provide teachers who can properly engage students with the same ethnicity or background because not all students are the same. Every student deserves to see someone they can relate to in a position of authority. Give the chance for JHS students to grow feeling empowered in their academics. All students may not remember the knowledge, but we choose to remember the individuals who taught us.

Written by Alanna Groves

Photo by Caleb Sorrells

My View: Disabled People Need Your Help, But Not The Kind You’re Thinking Of

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There are ordinary, everyday actions that people often don’t think about. Such as the ability to move your arms, legs, see and hear.

Now, pick one of those and think about what life would be like without it. For example, imagine you couldn’t walk very well, or not at all. Say you want to meet up with friends at a restaurant, and when you get there a flight of stairs stands between you and the entrance. Or what if you couldn’t see well and they have no enlarged menus?

This is what life is like every day for a person with a disability, including myself.

I was born at 28 weeks and weighed three pounds and a quarter of an ounce at birth. As a result of being so early, I have brain damage that causes me to have epilepsy, auditory neuropathy (a type of hearing loss) and cerebral palsy in my legs. But the point of this column is not to tell my life story. It is to talk about how disabled people are a minority and why the lack of accessibility is a problem.

The Americans With Disabilities Act was signed into law in 1990 by former president George H.W. Bush. The five titles of the ADA cover employment, state and local government, public accommodations, telecommunications and miscellaneous provisions. Under this law, disabled people supposedly should not have to encounter many barriers in life. Right?

In 2017, there were an estimated 320 million Americans with a disability, or approximately 12.7 percent of the population. Despite this huge number of disabled people, there is still discrimination and lack of accessibility nearly 29 years after the ADA was made a law.

Bonny Folz, a physical therapist at the Kids Center for Pediatric Therapies in Louisville, Ky., has practiced for more than 30 years. Over this time period, she said, “I feel that many positive things have happened, especially within our physical structures. However, I continue to see greater limitations in how we as individuals look at those who may appear, sound or move differently from ourselves or how we feel the norm is.”

Today’s society lacks the understanding and accommodations needed for people who are different – those who don’t fit what they see as the norm. It’s a reminder that not all people see disabled people as equal, or even as people. Unfortunately, the president is among those.

During a campaign rally in 2016, now president Donald Trump mocked the arm movements of a disabled New York Times reporter. Also, in 2018, some found his comments on the Paralympics offensive. He said, “it’s a little tough to watch too much, but I watched as much as I could.” How can discrimination get better for people with disabilities when our own president makes fun of disabled people? Society needs to learn to not judge people based on first impressions of how they talk, walk or look.

For example, a deaf woman named Amanda Koller recently told NPR about her struggles to get a job despite the fact that she’s working on her second master’s degree. She described how potential employers got frustrated with her needs and impatient while interviewing her.

How is this okay? An extremely smart, well-educated woman can’t get a job because employers simply get frustrated? This might seem like a rare occurrence, but a statistic provided by NPR showed that less than 40 percent of deaf people work full time.

In a USA Today article published on Jan. 8, a paraplegic named Tyler Schilhabel shared how lack of accessibility nearly ruined his honeymoon trip. On the first flight, he had to be carried off a plane by a flight attendant to ensure that he made his next flight on time. On his return trip, the plane didn’t have the aisle chair he requested, so he had to scoot down to the very back of the plane on the floor to reach his seat.

This is not right and something needs to change. All disabled people want to be is independent, and when we’re forced into situations that put us on the spot it’s humiliating and demeaning.

We have the ADA for a good reason, but society hasn’t caught up. We should be able to get jobs. We should be able to get on an airplane. We should be able to go out with friends and not worry about how we’re going to read the menu, or get into the building.

There needs to be change to prevent situations like those of Koller and Schilhabel. Even if you are not disabled, you can be an advocate for change.

“The environment will never be totally barrier free, but our eyes can be,” Folz said. “We all need to see the worth of those around us, no matter if they talk differently, (or) move differently….We all have strengths. We need to point those out, not distinguish.”

Written by Greta Reel

Photo by Kyle Tincher

Opposing Views: Should We Build the Border Wall?

JHS students and staff weigh in on the pros and cons of President Trump’s plan for securing the border with Mexico

“I am against the wall. Statistics show we don’t need the wall and if we get a wall it won’t do the things Trump says it will.”
– Jojo Spio, Senior

“I am for the wall because we do need to protect our borders. Every other country in the world protects their borders so I don’t see why we can’t. Should we let immigrants in and out? Yes, but it has to be according to proper procedures.”
– Mr. Dench, Radio and TV Teacher

“I am against it because I feel like the money that could go to the wall could go towards many other things that could be way more beneficial for the country. For example, Flint Michigan still doesn’t have clean water. Why would we spend so much money on a wall, when we could spend money on getting citizens clean water?”
– Jaleigh Brown, Sophomore

“I’m for the wall. It seems like a pretty obvious solution to me. If you want to stop people from coming in, you put a barrier in front of them.”
– Brennan Zastawny, Senior

“America was founded on the idea that it was for immigrants. It was founded by immigrants, for immigrants, and for people who needed a safe place. And if you really want to get technical, the first illegal immigrants showed up in 1492 with Christopher Columbus. The wall won’t stop illegal immigration.”
– Mr. Henderson, English Teacher

“In my opinion the wall isn’t a bad solution to immigration, but it’s not perfect either. But bottom line is eventually something needs to be done and the wall seems like a fitting solution to the problem.”
– Lex Hawkins, Junior

Written by Joselen Lopez, Mattie Blanton, and Sophie Rousseau

Why Should You Care About Class Size?

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As a student, you might not think about class size very much. However, it is a topic that teachers discuss often and, in some cases, disagree about. This topic is disputed because most teachers like to have smaller classes, while others like to have bigger classes.

Since our school has so many students, classes are typically pretty large, usually ranging from 30 to 35 people in each class. However, some teachers can’t decide if they prefer bigger or smaller classes. This is a common dilemma for foreign language teachers, in particular. Aude Johnson, one of the French teachers, faces this problem.

“On one hand, I like smaller classes because I can have more one-on-one time with the students,” said Johnson. “On the other hand, when it comes to presenting, I find that students in bigger classes perform a lot better than students in smaller classes.” However, teachers who teach the common core classes such as Language Arts generally prefer smaller classes ranging from about 20 to 25 students. For example, Carolyn Simpson, a 10th grade Language Arts teacher, agrees that smaller classes are the way to go.

“I definitely prefer smaller classes because I can have more one-on-one time with my students,” said Simpson. “Also, students in smaller classes typically have better grades because of that extra one-on-one time.”

Although the teacher’s opinions on class size are very important, the students’ opinions are just as important, if not more so. Students’ education is very important and should be prioritized. When students feel as though they aren’t catching on as fast as others, they need that extra help from the teachers.

“Anything over 30 makes it harder for teachers to control the class and for students to learn effectively due to distraction,” said Evelyn Minton, sophomore.

All in all, while class size is a very debated topic among teachers, it should be an important topic for students, as well. Class size not only affects how students learn, but it also affects students’ grades. In the bigger picture, this one topic affects students now and well in to the future.

 

Written by Mattie Blanton and Kayleigh Gernand

Photo by Joselen Lopez

How Does Social Media Affect Your Mental Health?

You live in a pretend world. Viewing fake people in fake places with all of their fake possessions. Sure you have followers, sure you have “friends,” but are you really happy? Most people think Yeah, I’m Happy, but social media can affect your mental health more than you think.

According to a Pew Research Center study, 92 percent of teens claim to go online at least once a day, and 24 percent say they are online almost nonstop. The statistics are from 2015 and I can only assume these numbers have increased in the past three years. So, here’s my question: how much does this affect your pursuit of happiness?

Worrying about the amount of “friends” you have or the amount of likes you get can impact you more than you think. Not only does social media have emotional consequences, but it can influence what you eat, how much you eat and how often you choose to go to the gym. These things can cause physical problems, not just emotional problems. If you’re under eating and over-exercising (yes, that is a real thing) just to impress your followers, it can generate physical health issues.

Cyberbullying is another big problem that comes with social media. Not being the “perfect weight,” not wearing the “right clothes,” and/or not having all the right materialistic things are only a few situations that could result in cyberbullying. People can be mean. I’m just going to put that out there. Some will criticize you for things that may not even be true, but that’s just the way the world works. I’m not saying that cyberbullying is okay; that’s not at all what I’m implying. What I am trying to say is that you can’t expect for things to be perfect. And, if you are getting bullied, in person or not, you should definitely talk to a trusted adult. Whether that be a teacher, counselor or parent, they can most likely help you.

Growing up without social media hasn’t been super easy, which seemingly contradicts the purpose of this entire article; however, that actually helps my case. I don’t connect with people in the same ways as everyone else does. I tend to feel left out when I don’t see “that picture” or “that tweet” or don’t get “that invitation.” Just as having social media can cause negative feelings, not having social media can degrade your self-esteem too. This shows how much these apps have changed people throughout the last decade. If I can feel uncomfortable just because I am forced to have physical conversations, that tells you that some changes really need to be made.

What can you do to alter the way social media influences you? First I would suggest a cleanse. Although I said that not having social can be negative, I still think that you should try to go a couple days or maybe even a week or two without using any of your social media. It may end up becoming something that you make permanent. If you can’t stomach dropping Snapchat, however, you need to remember that whatever you post it will be out there forever. You don’t need to change who you are to fit in. If you are posting things that are even the slightest bit inappropriate just because everyone else is doing it, that can really come back to haunt you. Everything you put on the internet can be saved by anyone who sees it, even if it gets deleted.

 

Written by Kristen Jacobs

Is it Unfair? Students and Staff Sound Off on the Dress Code

Dress code has been a hotly debated topic for as long as I can remember. Teachers, peers, administrators and more all have different expectations of what students should and can wear to school.

There are even differences among dress codes in schools in our area. For example, New Albany-Floyd County Schools have a casual dress code and it isn’t even strongly enforced. They can show skin above the knee, have rips in their jeans, show shoulders and more.

Our dress code at Jeff High is very strict, but there are many people who say that it is somewhat sexist, as well. While it doesn’t explicitly show, everyone knows that our dress code affects girls more than boys. Guys can wear shorts a few inches above the knee, but if a girl wears a skirt or dress the same length, they get punished.

When asked if our dress code is more unfair to girls than guys, these are some responses from students and staff at Jeff High:

“I would agree that the dress code is more unfair to girls than guys. Guys can get away with a little bit more when it comes to dress code, because one would think they don’t have as much to cover up as girls do.”
– Natalie Bronson, science teacher and student council sponsor

“Absolutely. Guys violate dress code all the time and nothing gets said to them because they are guys, when girls barely break dress code by the slightest bit, we get in trouble.”
– Tiara Jones, sophomore

“Yeah, there’s more rules for girls compared to boys. I’ve been dress coded for having a hole in my jeans above my knee and a boy could have a hole in the same place and not have anything happen.”
– Elliot Mays, freshman

“Yes, guys have the ability to wear clothes that kind of let you breathe more than girls do based on our current dress code. Depending on the weather and circumstances, girls have it a lot harder.”
– Harrison Paul, senior

“Girls have it harder because guys don’t have that problem, really, or I haven’t at least. A lot of girls clothes break dress code and that’s just how they’re made. So it’s kind of unfair that they buy clothes and can’t wear them.”
– Hunter Milam, junior

 

Written by Joselen Lopez