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Feature

Inspired by Hard Work

The students of Jeff High have many inspirational teachers, celebrities and other adults in their life to look up to. This Black History month, Jeff High students talked about the importance of role models, and the people of color who have inspired them.

 Tara Cofie, a former member of student council and debate team, says her mother inspires her most. “She’s a really hard worker, and I respect the things she does for me,” she says. Cofie and her mother were first-generation immigrants to America from Ghana. Her mother encouraged her to do things she liked and that she was good at, “and I guess I thought I was good at arguing with people,” says Cofie. 

Will Loving-Watts, a basketball fan and player, says that Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant inspire him to work hard. Loving-Watts talks about how the persistence and hard work of Bryant and Durant inspired him to do the same. For example, the day before the state championship, he spent three and a half hours at the gym. “When we won, I felt like they would’ve been proud of me.”

Raquel Lopez is a soccer player, member of Jeff ’s Chefs and yearbook co-editor and she says her parents inspire her most. She wants to be a chef when she’s older and says it’s because of her parents. “My parents poured their hearts into every meal they made and you could always tell who made the food,” Lopez says. “Their food made people happy, and it made me want to do the same for other people.”

 Azarian Bacon, a chess team player, says that Mr. Washington and Mr. Willis inspire him most. “The times they’ve been really proud it is when progress is being made, for me it happened at a rapid pace,” Bacon says. “The first time I played chess I hated it. My eighth grade year I signed up for impacts that didn’t have chess, but I was forced to play it anyway,” he says. Bacon thinks Washington and Willis are proud of him and the improvements he’s made while playing on the chess team. 

The importance of seeing yourself in people around can make all the difference. The inspiration provided by teachers, celebrities and even your own parents can inspire you to pursue anything. As Raquel Lopez says, “For people of color, representation is really important to us. It’s really rare to see ourselves portrayed in TV shows and movies correctly. We often look for people who are similar to us for inspiration, because we desperately want someone to relate to.”

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Hyphen PDFs

PDF: Jan. 23, 2020

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This issue of The Hyphen follows the theme “We Are Jeff High.” In this issue there are features on students and teachers who represent all aspects of the school, as well as quotes and pictures from randomly surveyed students about what they’re passionate about. Our goal in this issue is to capture the true spirit of Jeff High.

Every student, teacher and staff member makes our school community unique. All of us have an impact, no matter how small. Once a Red Devil, always a Red Devil!

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Hyphen PDFs

PDF: Nov. 7, 2019

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With the “real world” just around the corner, that first move in The Game of Life seems a lot more relevant (and scary) than it used to be. Is college really the foundation for success? And if it is, how can a typical student afford it without taking on a lot of debt? Check out our cover story as we explore the trade-offs today’s high school graduates face.

This issue also contains:

  • An opinion column about the “fatal flaw” in FAFSA
  • Reader voices on school start time and whether money or happiness is more important
  • A preview of the new Disney streaming service
  • And more …

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News Opinion

Diversity Among Student Leaders

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

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

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

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

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

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

Opinion by: Nana Spio

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News

Leaders From the Other Side of the World

Staff Photo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Story By: Greta Reel

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Hyphen PDFs

PDF: Sept. 17, 2019

September 2019 Cover Image

The Hyphen is back with a new staff and fresh views. Download the September issue to read:

  • An in-depth report on how the American immigration system works, featuring real-life stories of people who are caught in it
  • A profile of this year’s student council co-presidents, Bethia Busingye and Amelia Epperson
  • Opinion columns about pronouns and terminology in the LGBTQ+ community
  • Student views on dress code changes and E-learning days
  • And more …

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Feature

Jeff High’s Inclusive Clubs

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Our clubs display and celebrate the diverse student body here at Jeffersonville High School

Jeffersonville High School’s student body is very diverse and full of students from different cultural backgrounds, life situations and orientations. In response to the diversity of our student body Jeff High has clubs here that celebrate the diversity of our school.

For the Culture
For the Culture is a club here at Jeff High that is all about diversity and inclusiveness. During their meetings they do activities such as rap contests and discuss a variety of topics from the community’s relationship with police to more serious topics such as the death penalty.

The club meets every other Wednesday after school in C222. For the Culture also does community service, college visits, and field trips to places like the Muhammad Ali Center.

“Our main goal for the club is to provide an opportunity for association with other students of color that are focused on school and community service,” said club sponsor Suzanne Siebert.

Buddy Up
Buddy Up is a club in which students group up with special needs students or buddies. Each buddy works in a group with a few other students, the students meet with their buddies on Wednesdays during impact. The club also occasionally has after school parties.

“In Buddy Up we meet with our buddies and just hang out with them. We do games, food, parties, and sometimes work on school stuff,” said Freshman Aaliyah Adams.

LGBT Club
“We’re all human.” That’s the mission statement of the LGBT club at Jeffersonville High School. According to Andrew Weiss, who is president of the club, its purpose is simple: to form a support group for LGBT students and help them learn the history of their community. Weiss works hard to make each meeting a positive experience for the club’s members. That positivity comes through and it’s apparent that many students look forward to coming, such as freshman Jade Worrall.

“I love to surround myself with happy and accepting people,” said Worrall. “It’s a very positive and fun environment.”

Every Friday the group holds open meetings in the media center or cafeteria. Those who are not necessarily a part of the LGBT community are welcome as well, the group accepts all.

“We will be here to talk if you have questions or if you are feeling confused about your sexuality,” Weiss said. “No one should feel scared. They can come and talk to me or an adult about their problem and we’ll try to help.”

Weiss understands what it’s like to be harassed due to your sexuality or to not feel accepted as does freshman member Marni Scholl. “I feel like a lot of people don’t accept but I do have friends who do. I feel like it is 50/50 when it comes to people who accept or don’t accept,” Scholl said. The group provides a safe space for people to get together and be who they are. They want to make students aware that being yourself is absolutely okay and that individuality is encouraged.

“I want to help raise awareness about not only the club but about how sexuality is a completely normal thing,” freshman Amber Walker said.

Written by Haylee Hedrick and Meredith Shepherd

Photos by Dezmond Boyd

Categories
Opinion

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