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!
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
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.
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.”