An open letter, to whoever wants to read the probably not so wise wisdom of an 18 year old

By Emma Ellis

High school has flown by and after three-and-a-half years of saying I’m so ready to get out of here, now that I’m finally here with the last day of my high school career just days away, I can’t seem to put the brakes on. I keep trying to put off things that I probably shouldn’t be putting off, like this article for example. My brain is somehow reasoning if I don’t do my end-of-high school stuff then I can push back the end of high school.

Surprisingly, that’s not how it works. Life carries on with or without you, the trick is to not get bogged down by stuff you don’t want to do. Look on the bright side. Play the hand you were dealt. No use crying over spilled milk. As stressful as it is to be graduating, to be leaving the safety of home and family, school has been preparing us for this since kindergarten. Which is an encouraging thought, or maybe not, depending on how well you’ve been paying attention these past 12 years.

Have fun in high school, make sure your involved like a sport, club or even a class like newspaper. Don’t worry if it’s all going to work out, just do your work, don’t push it back or take a shortcut — you get the most out of life when you participate in it.

My plans for after high school? I plan on going to IUS for a year or two to stay close to home until I get my own footing, then transferring for a history degree that I still am not quite sure what I’m going to do with. I hope to become a New York Times best selling author if I ever get around to finishing a book. I plan to keep playing tennis until I can’t play anymore.

I would like to use this time to send out a thank you to all my teachers in my life for teaching me and inspiring me. I want to thank my coaches for always pushing me to go the extra step. A special thanks to my grampy, for always supporting my tennis career. I want to thank my family, my dad who is always there when I need him and wanting to help however he can, my mom who has picked me up and dropped me off at every practice, lesson, match, whether it be 5am for morning practice or picking me up past midnight, and last but not least I want to thank my sister for always being her bright smiling sweet self that brightens my day no matter how much of my stuff she breaks. There is no point in stressing over something you can’t do anything about, so just say ok and move on with your day.

The Perks of Being a “Joiner”

By Haylee Hedrick

High school has taught me how one can be a part of almost every social circle and yet not a part of one at all.

When I walk through JHS, it feels like home away from home. I walk through the halls every day and get to see so many people that have made this experience as great as it is for me. People that are like me, and people that are so different from me, seem to know my name or they know something that I’m a part of. I have formed a connection within the student body and have been honored enough to make an impact during my high school experience.

They say that life’s what you make it, and by “they” I mean your teacher, or parents or someone who has the experience to tell you it’s not a myth. I’m just another one of those people telling you that it’s true. When you enter into high school, you don’t know where you’re going to fit in, you don’t quite know what new friends are going to make yet or if you’re going to like your classes — but something that I can tell you that you can completely control is what you get into and what you get involved with. Getting involved is my key to enjoying high school.

There’s going to be that typical fear that you won’t find something for you. Well, I promise you will. I’ve been exposed to 20+ groups within Jeff High alone, and all of them are great groups to get to know. As a freshman, you can choose to sit back and watch people experience high school without you, or you can choose to join in and to be a joiner — and that’s what I did.

“You can’t walk into JHS without someone in the office, or a staff member in general, knowing Haylee and what she does for the school!”- Mom

“Forming connections is important. The people you meet and their perception of you can take you far (or hold you back dependably). Always value the relationships you make” – Dad

I can tell you first-hand being involved in clubs is the best thing that I’ve ever done for myself. As soon as you join a club, you get to know some people that have similar interests as you even if it’s just that you both want to be a part of this club or want to make a difference. Automatically you have a “family” of peers and supports because you are part of something, and it makes this huge place not seem near as big or scary.

Also, the sponsors of those clubs can become some of your greatest idols. Plus it’s always good to have an adult that you feel comfortable around and that you feel like you can come to when things happen. (I’m not saying the things will, but c’mon it’s high school
and sometimes you get into a situation where you just need of a little help.) But it’s okay because you’re making connections and the more connections you make, the more people that will help you — and vice versa. In the long run, you learn that means the more people you can help. Being involved has made me want to come to school and not only is it wanting to come but it’s wanting to stay rather than stay longer even though I’m going to graduate and stay longer after school and come on the weekends and to truly be proud to say that I am a Red Devil and I am a part of Jeffersonville High School. So yeah, high school is what you make it, and believe it or not it can be a place full of smiling faces and familiar faces and people that really know you and know what you stand for. It can surely be some of the greatest years of your life if you let it. So my motion to you is get involved, join clubs and make yourself known for the right reasons. It’s a huge benefit and I promise it pays off.

I enjoy school as much as I do because I’ve built a name for myself here. I’ve got a friend in every corner.

I’ve formed enough connections between different groups and members of cliques that I’m well known enough to feel like I’m a small part of, for lack of a better word, every social circle. Yet I really dislike the phrase “social circle” in itself because I feel like JHS isn’t just social circles and I’ve been able to “prove that.” It’s a big family that works together and I’m blessed to be one member of this family.

Special Thanks

Key Club: Thank you for allowing me to give back to the community and do good for the students within our school. The Key in Key Club means Kiwanis Empowering Youth and the club for me is about community service and doing something because you want to help and since it’s the right thing to do, no reward needed except for the satisfaction in knowing that you helped. You have allowed me to lead a group of driven individuals who want to make the world a better place. I’ve met some truly remarkable people through this group and I am honored to be named the president of the club for the 2018-19 school year.

Dance Marathon: Thank you for showing me what it’s truly like to be a part of something larger than myself and to set a goal that will help so many people so many more than I can even imagine. I like that I’m a small part of that and part of this huge community of people that have the same interest at heart as I do. That’s an amazing feeling to have and it’s a similarity that I have with people that I’ve never even met before.

Student Council: The committee roles I’ve been honored to hold in Student Council have taught me a lot about myself. Pep rally has taught me that you really do have to get pushed down to recognize the strength that you have to get back up and keep going. Planning the pep rallies has instilled in me the skills to adjust quickly, go with the flow and solve problems. You can plan those things to the T and still there will be adjustments made the day of. Due to pep rally I have had to learn skills and tackle obstacles I never thought I’d encounter. Thank you Student Council for pushing me to my limits all to prove to me that I can in fact do it.

The Hyphen: This role has “forced” me to conquer some of my fears and introduce myself to groups that I never thought I would associate with — not because of anything do with them, but simply because I wasn’t a part of their club or their team and I didn’t have a reason to be until a story came with them and it was my job to report on that story. Lo and behold, I got to know that and I made a connection there and now I feel like I really know our chess team or I really got to know the personalities behind the basketball players and I have a personal connection with the swim team and I genuinely want them to do well because I know them truly. I report on the school board all the time and that has allowed me to get to know them and for them to recognize my face and know who I am and make a connection to me through a group that I am a part of. Thank you for “forcing me” to meet these extraordinary people.

Before You Judge, Take Time to Get to Really Know Someone

By Tyler Hughes

Reach the Unreached, Touch the Untouched

At Jeffersonville High School, a lot of people make assumptions about one another and really just look at their peers and basically judge a book by its cover. Some, maybe most, kids at Jeff look at me as the “Jock of the School.” They see me as this kinda big headed guy who thinks he’s better than everyone and someone who has no heart when it comes to certain things. My peers look at me that way until they get to really know me. Yes, I can be a little confident about certain things because for the most part I’m a humble, kind hearted, funny and enjoyable person to be around.

Over spring break, my senior year of 2019, I took time out of my life to make a difference in someone else’s. I went on a mission trip to San Reymundo, Guatemala, and helped build six houses for families who only lived under sticks and tarps, if they were even lucky to live in that kind of “shelter.” We started from just dirt on the ground, to making a concrete base, building walls with wood, to making a roof with pro rib, to installing electricity in their new home. We supplied them with beds, blankets, couches and a TV. The house we built may have not have been the biggest but to them it was a mansion. We
built this house with every ounce of love. Over the course of us building this house for these families, we got to spend time and connect with the kids and families. If anyone really knows me, I’m a sucker for kids and am so easy to connect with kids easier than anyone else. I connected to each and every kid of the families in such a beautiful way that I’ve never felt before with anyone. Each and every day we arrived and left the site where we built the house, the kids would line up and give me a hug and a kiss on the cheek and tell me how much they appreciated me.

This trip was definitely life changing and I couldn’t have been more blessed to be able to create a huge impact on each and every one of their lives. And I just wish people would just take a second and truly get to know me and who I am really am.

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

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By Antonio Thompson

First I’d like to thank all my friends and teachers for the amazing years I had at Jeff High. My senior year was filled with love and lots of memories, good and bad. The good is that I got to see my friends everyday. The bad is that I didn’t finish my senior year of basketball with my closest friends.

Throughout my years here, I slowly stepped out of my comfort zone and stopped being shy with a lot of people and that was probably the best decision that I’ve made. Til this day I wouldn’t have the friends that I have now if I wasn’t able to step out.

I realized around my sophomore year that high school can be a place to make new friends, try new sports, different clubs, etc, and I made sure I took advantage of it. I suggest you could do the same.

Be Where Your Feet Are

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By Jack Ellis

High school, essentially the greatest years of our young lives. A time that we will never ever get back. Whether or not right now you are having troubles in high school or even having the time of your life, cherish it. Cherish the good, cherish the bad, just take everything in. Before you know it, you will have just a few days left of high school, just a few days left with all of your friends, and just a few days left until you never see some of these faces you have become so familiar with again.

Kind of harsh, I know. That is the harsh reality we have to deal with. We have a couple of weeks until the real world hits us harder than a semi-truck. So to whoever is reading this, live in the moment. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do anything. Do everything you can at school, go be involved in a club, go try out for the sport that you always wanted to play.

Go make friends, stay out late and maybe do some things that you probably shouldn’t, go to that party everyone is talking about. One day you will look back at the things you missed because you were too scared or too shy to do it. And it will haunt you. Embrace high school, get out of the house and have fun, because high school is a one-time thing. You will never get these years back, there are no do-overs, you get one time to do this thing — so do it right.

As much as I say that I want to get out of this place, I would do anything to get 4 more years of high school. As seniors, we begin to take our last exams, we attend our last pep rallies (even though they took OUR spirit stick away). We attend our last basketball games as a student. We put on that jersey one last time, we take to the court or the field for one last time. There is one common denominator with all of us: we have the same four letters across our chest. Just a word to others, but to us it is our pride and joy, our home.

No matter who you are, or what you do, take these four years of high school and make them the best years you have ever had. One day you will be right where I am, wishing you could have it all back.

An Open Letter To My Freshman Year Self

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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