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.

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

More to the Story: Q&A With GCCS Board Members

What is your goal for the upcoming year?
Janelle Fitzpatrick: A place for students to learn in and have no limits on their future … a place where educators want to work … [to] move forward with the Academy and Pathway system, as well as listen to the concerns of the people (teachers, students, parents) and address them. Also, look at each school individually. They aren’t all the same, and deal with issues at each individual one. I want more people to feel as though they can share their concerns and be listened to – students, teachers, anyone wanting to be heard on a certain subject.

John Buckwalter: I am honored to be a board member and to move in a forward motion. I’m excited to collaborate with the community and it is very critical to move forward to do the best for GCCS.

Milton Clayton: For 2019, we will be monitoring the downtown school building and securing a temporary interim superintendent until we get one in place for the long run.

Which is better for our new superintendent: someone from our area or an outsider?

John Buckwalter: We need fresh eyes to address these topics and issues and someone who is ready to move forward and not focus on the past.

Milton Clayton: You’re not going to make everyone happy, but we’ll make the best educated decision to benefit GCCS. I’m happy to work with the new members and to welcome them, as well as new faces and perspectives, to the board. We cannot limit our options when it comes to getting a new superintendent.

Katie Hutchison: Someone from this area would be someone from inside the community and knows the little sub-communities as well as the history behind the area, and would probably be here to stay. Someone that isn’t from around here might not have the roots or the means to stay … but they’d bring fresh thoughts to the operation.

Written by Haylee Hedrick

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

Chess: The Sport of Mind

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There are 400 different openings that are possible at the start of a game of chess. Calculating that first move intelligently and with close precision is crucial. All members on the team use different strategies to beat their opponent. Though it may not seem straining, moving pieces across a checkered black-and-white board takes mental strength, high concentration and rigorous training. So while chess does not require the physical endurance of activities like basketball, soccer or swimming, it still qualifies as a sport – a sport of the mind. Chess fits within the same category as debate, speedcubing (racing to solve a Rubik’s Cube) and backgammon.

Calculating each move with precision “To the T” within a controlled amount of time, like a pre-planned quarter of a sporting event, makes the challenge of the game even harder. All the possible moves must be determined for the player to decipher which move has the most strategic advantages. Then they must try to presume what their opponent will do next and anticipate the result, hopefully toward to their personal victory. “We train, putting in hours of [training] like any athletic sport, and we compete,” coach Paul Washington said. “The talent within the team determines the outcome. It takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at anything you do in life. Chess is no different.”

Members of a chess team are given a rank and they compete against other players locally, regionally and nationally to receive points. Wins and losses determine how highly ranked the chess player goes.

Junior Emmanuel Simmons is the highest-ranked player at Jeff High and is the team captain. When a good move becomes apparent, there is a physical reaction, he says: “My heart starts beating out of my chest, my ears start ringing, I’m looking at the move thinking, ‘This is it. This is it.’”

Similar to tennis, each win counts as a point for the individual and accumulates to either a win or a loss for the team as an entirety. The stress of a match is simulated within the team’s training.

“The heart is a muscle and if adrenaline is pumping then I’m working out a muscle,” said coach Anthony Willis. “To do that, we have trainings that we do here, drills that we put these kids through. If you lose, you lose for your entire team to get their adrenaline flying … Just like that guy playing football calling the plays, he reads the defense and puts his people in the best position to execute the play.”

Whether it gets recognized as a sport locally or not, chess has been recognized by the International Olympic Committee as a sport since 2000. The chess team at Jeff High illustrates why chess requires a level of training and focus like other athletic endeavors.

 

Written by Haylee Hedrick

Basketball, Swimming and Wrestling Season Previews

Girls Basketball

The Lady Devils return to the court this season with many returning players – including senior Tori Handley and juniors Nan Garcia and Kelcie James – as well as returning coach Mike Warren. Based on early successes, the team looks poised for a sectional title this year. The Lady Devils have scored 60 or more points in games that they have won this year and look to continue their high-scoring streak as the season goes on.

The Lady Devils started the season off by defeating the 16th-ranked North Harrison Cougars 66-44. “It was a big win for us after being so close in previous years,” said team captain Tori Handley.

The sectional title is particularly important for the team this year, since it was taken from their grasp by a late, game-winning shot in last season’s sectional match-up against Bedford North Lawrence. “It was a terrible feeling, but we all know our roles and what we need to do to succeed as a team,” said Handley.

Written by Braxton Troutman

Boys Basketball

Every November, if a high school basketball team has lost a lot of senior talent, people call it a “rebuilding year.” Although Jeff High lost several seniors from last year’s strong team, not much rebuilding is needed this year. In fact, the 2018-2019 Jeffersonville Boys Varsity Basketball team, under the direction of coach Joe Luce, is poised for an exciting and successful season.

For returning junior starter Trè Coleman, this season he will have to take the court without the experience of his brother Jaden Coleman and the leadership of Bailey Falkenstein, whom they lost to graduation. Coleman said he is “expecting a great season and a good run when it comes to sectionals.” The Red Devils will have eight returning players on their Varsity bench and Coleman feels like the 2019 Seymour Sectionals is a wide-open playing field. “With all our returning talent, we should consistently get better during the season and be competing for a sectional title in March.”

Written by Hannah Thibideau

Swimming

The Jeff High team is diving into another season for boys and girls swimming by getting back to their routines: morning practices, workouts, and vigorous afternoons in the pool. Their coach, Mike Pepa, couldn’t be happier with the work ethic on his team. “It’s difficult. We put in a lot of hours, probably the most hours of any team in the school,” Pepa said. “But it’s a lot of fun and good camaraderie. You’re part of one of the most successful teams in the school if you join, but it takes a heck of a commitment.”

To get to their level of expertise in their sport, they don’t take the season lightly. When the end of October comes around, the girls team starts warming up. “I’m really excited to have a great season with the girls, everyone is so fantastic and sweet,” senior Haley Vescelus said, “ we have a strong team and I’ll be sad when it’s over.”

Starting the season off right, the girls won against Bedford North Lawrence in their first meet. The boys team season starts two weeks after the girls, by the beginning of November. Both teams are in the water working to better the team and themselves.

Last year’s state qualifier, Kameron Case, has high hopes for his senior year swimming. He plans to continue his career in the pool in college. “I’m looking forward to this season,” Case said, “ I hope this year will better prepare me for college level competition.”

While the team practices for hours and days, all of that work goes toward a smaller, yet larger, goal: shaving off mere seconds (or fractions of seconds) from their time on meet days. A swimmer must rely on their own strength and put those hours of training into trying to beat competitors on the clock. “You’re always trying to beat your best time,” Pepa said. “You’re not just benefiting the team but improving yourself as well.”

Written by Haylee Hedrick

Wrestling

The Jeffersonville High School Wrestling team is coming off yet another successful season. After a phenomenal 2016-2017 season, where the team qualified 14/14 Wrestlers to Regionals, the current 2018 team has qualified 13/14 wrestlers last season. “Team 60” also had 11 sectional champions.

As the wrestlers succeed on the mat, the team also gets it done in the classroom. Last year, there were six Academic All-State wrestlers, and the team also had the top two team GPAs in the state for the past three years.

With Coach Struck coming off of his sixth sectional championship, he looks forward to the new season. “My goals only change slightly from year to year. But our vision stays the same,” he said. “My goal is to make it to state, national and international championships, but the purpose of our program is to inspire our athletes to be the best versions of themselves they can be.”

Despite losing a class of wrestlers to college, there is still a major upside for the new and improved squad. Senior wrestler Isaac Hall says, “I feel we have a really strong lineup and I think it’s going to be a shock to everyone because of how many first year varsity wrestlers we have. They just haven’t had their time to shine and I think they are going to show out in a big way this year.”

Written by Jack Ellis

Boys Basketball Photo by Kyle Tincher
Swimming and Girls Basketball Photos by Amber Rowe
Wrestling Photo Submitted

Meet the Candidates: Greater Clark County School Board

Education is powerful, and when accompanied by new perspectives it can lead to great transformations within our school system. Change is coming to the Greater Clark County Schools board, as potential new members representing districts one, three and four will be voted on during the Nov. 6 election.

On Oct. 3 a meeting was held at Jeffersonville High School at which school board candidates answered questions from the public (including residents, teachers, parents of students and even some students) at a “meet the candidates” forum. Tara Cofie, a member of the JHS debate team, was the facilitator of the event.

Few of the school board candidates were present at this event. Bill Hawkins (District 1), John Stagner (District 3 ), Nick Duran (District 4 ) and Kevin Anderson (District 3) couldn’t make it due other commitments. The three that were able to make it were Janelle Fitzpatrick (District 4), John Buckwalter (District 3) and Lucas Hostetler (District 1).

Before the audience started asking questions, the candidates each introduced themselves to let the public know their background what they can bring to the table. Fitzpatrick discussed her teaching career and her job as a stand-up comedian.

Buckwalter referred to himself as a lifelong educator and explained his time within the Woodrow Wilson program. Hostetler, who is from the New Washington area, shared how supportive he is of that community and his background in management.

Why are you running for school board?

Cofie started off the questioning with, “Why are you running for school board?” The candidates responded with the following.

Janelle Fitzpatrick: Being a teacher in GCCS for past 20 years, I saw lots of good
programs and lots of changes in what was expected of teachers, the time constraint, larger class sizes and not a whole lot of pay raise, especially when benefits cost more. Change is needed. I want to do some rebuilding (in trust with the community) and make Greater Clark a place where teachers are happy to work.

John Buckwalter: There have been surveys conducted but not acted upon… the purpose of the board is to address that. Every teacher sacrifices being a spouse, a parent, and doing whatever they do in their spare time, but they do so because we are all student-centered. Someone has to do something about this, and I’m crazy enough to do it and I feel like I can make a difference [and what I’m trying to say is] if not now, then when?

Lucas Hostetler: I’ve had teacher’s husband showing up to things but the teachers themselves didn’t, they didn’t want to be associated due to fear… I knew then I am running for a very good reason. That was what kind of solidified me to want to run even more than I already did. I want you guys to hold me accountable because I will hold you accountable if you’re working your tails off in the classroom and you’re not getting what you want, you have to hold me accountable to speak for you.

How will you handle people who disagree?

Next, an audience member asked, “What happens when the people speak up and you (school board member) don’t agree with what they have to say, how will you respond?” The candidates responses are as follows.

Janelle Fitzpatrick: Any time you have more than one person in the room, you can have a difference of opinion. I’d like to see more balance. There needs to be more balance and then the more you all can bring up, it will be listened to because it needs to be listened to. We need to get more ideas and poll our people; I believe we will really go along way.

John Buckwalter: You’re the voice and when you work for the people that’s what it’s about: take what is said by the majority and then make educated best decisions with it. I would like to hope that there’s a symbiotic relationship between you and your board members so that we’re helping each other here and I’m making the best decision. You know sometimes you might not make best decisions, but you made it with the facts you had in front of you.

Lucas Hostetler: When you create an atmosphere and an energy that people want in a school, business, or corporation, it’s a positive. I hope and I pray that [the atmosphere] changes with this next election and you can go to school board meetings and actually say “I don’t want this.” And myself, hopefully, can say, “I really don’t think they want this, but what’s best in five years?” I think with better communication, we can get to that point and stronger leadership is needed for improvement.

All the candidates claim they can make needed changes to the system. We’ll see who has the chance after the election on Nov. 6.

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.”