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.

GCCS Board Swears in New Members

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Finding a new superintendent is a pressing issue for the new school district leaders.

Later this year, Greater Clark County Schools is expected to name a new superintendent. However, change has already started to take place, as three new school board members were sworn in on Jan. 8: Janelle Fitzpatrick, John Buckwalter and Bill Hawkins.

On Dec. 24, 2018, Dr. Andrew Melin resigned as the superintendent of GCCS. Now the school board – which consists of the three new members as well as Milton Clayton, Teresa Perkins, Christina Gilkey and Katie Hutchison – is facing the immediate challenge of filling the top position in the district.

At the Jan. 8 school board meeting, Hutchinson was named president of the board and proceeded to run the meeting. Other newly filled positions included Fitzpatrick as vice president and Clayton as secretary. “It’s kind of scary to be the new vice president of the board, but also exciting to make some positive changes and to work with Katie and the whole board,” Fitzpatrick said.

“The number one goal is to find a superintendent and fill that empty chair at the table,” Hutchinson said.

The new superintendent must be ready for change in any direction. There are different ideas of which direction that should be. For instance, the school board isn’t sure if they will limit their search to people from within the community or expand it beyond the Greater Clark County school district.

“You’re not going to make everyone happy, but we’ll make the best educated decision to benefit GCCS,” Clayton said.

Buckwalter said the new superintendent must be “a good listener, equitable, and ready to take on the task of increasing our climate and culture.”

Until the new superintendent is selected, Charlestown High School principal Mark Laughner is serving as interim superintendent. Laughner was named to the interim superintendent position effective Jan. 23. The contract approved by the board will expire on June 30, 2019.

Written by Haylee Hedrick and Emma Ellis

Photos by Haylee Hedrick

MULTIMEDIA: Net up or Heads up

video by Emma Ellis & Haylee Hedrick

At Jeffersonville High School, the baseball field and tennis courts sit within feet of each other. While the close proximity is useful for watching two sporting events at once, it also creates a safety issue with foul balls easily reaching the tennis courts.

Hyphen writers Emma Ellis and Haylee Hedrick look at the issue, and what can be done to ensure safety for all JHS athletes.

Friends of Rachel: a chain of positivity

written by Emma Ellis & Haylee Hedrick
photos by Dylan Shupe-Logsdon

Loud pops rung throughout the halls of Columbine High School in Colorado on April 20, 1999.

At first, students thought the sounds were firecrackers being lit on the lawn outside.

The reality: shots were being fired from semi-automatic handguns at students outside eating lunch.

The shooting, which would later be known as the Columbine shooting massacre, lasted 49 minutes and spanned most of the school. Senior Rachel Scott, a 17-year-old who was known around the school for always spreading kindness, was the first victim shot and killed.

April 20 of this year will mark 19 years since the first mass school shooting occurred. Since Scott’s death, her legacy of positivity lives on within JHS through the Friends of Rachel club, which has been actively working to make sure that her and her legacy never fade.

“There’s a sense of unity that comes with the student body being against bullying, knowing that it’s a dangerous thing within any school environment.”

Friend’s of Rachel co-president Neh Thaker

“It’s definitely become more prevalent, as the presidents, to continue a positive movement throughout the school, ” Friend’s of Rachel co-president Keith Asplund said. “We need to use her story to prevent bullying and stop escalation of violent situations.”

On that fateful day, 13 lives were lost — 12 students and one teacher — and 21 more were injured. But through all of the despair, a legacy of gold was gained.

Following the shooting, Rachel’s father, Darrell, created the “Rachel’s Challenge” program to honor his late daughter. His hope was to carry out her goals by showing the impact that minimal acts of kindness can have in a high school setting.

Eventually, the club would reach millions of high school students nationwide every year, encouraging safety and positivity in schools.

“The club gives students an outlet to share and discuss things they might be embarrassed about or going through,” said one of the club sponsors, Taylor Troncin. “And (we) respond (with) something to combat the negativity going on.”

At the beginning of each school year, the JHS club encouraged members of the student body to sign an “anti-bullying banner” to pledge their agreeance to keep the school from being a place of violence, bullying and discrimination.  


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During lunches, students were encouraged to sign a “Say Boo to Bullying” banner, as well purchase wristbands that read ‘Band Against Bullying” to benefit the Friends of Rachel group.


“There’s a sense of unity that comes with the student body being against bullying, knowing that it’s a dangerous thing within any school environment,” said Friend’s of Rachel co-president Neh Thaker.

Scott paved the way for a positive movement that has grown to a larger scale and can continue to grow by each person affected.  

“It’s really a simple message that she (Scott) was trying to spread,” Asplund said. “It isn’t big — it just starts with some students in school, day-to-day, hour-to-hour, spreading positivity.”