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News

Students and Teachers React to First E-learning Day

On Friday, February 7, Greater Clark County Schools had their first E-learning day. E-learning days allow students to work from home. They do not make up the day at the end of the year. This has been implemented at many other public school districts, but this year is the first for Greater Clark. 

Schools have undergone two practice days in the first semester, but when school was called off for the 7th due to weather, the first real E-learning day was on. 

Responses on the first day were mixed amongst students. “It’s horrible,” says sophomore Lillian Hollins. “In my opinion, it’s just more stress-inducing and it’s a struggle to do.” However, others see the benefits of E-learning. “I personally really like E-learning days because they help me feel productive in my days off,” said junior Kaelin Elsner. 

Teachers also had mixed feelings about the process.“I think it’s beneficial for students to learn how to work from home,” says English teacher Justin Linde, “It simulates online classes one might take in college or a real-life job where one might be able to work from home.” Linde also believes the process will improve with more time. “I think once students have more practice with the process, they will find it more enjoyable and less stress-inducing,” he says. 

 Teacher Carolyn Simpson was happy with the process but found some problems. “I thought it went by on my end very smoothly,” she says. “The biggest negative is to use actual school and class time to get them to do their work.”

The next opportunity to experience the pros and cons of E-learning will be Monday, February 17 — which is a make-up day for a closure last fall. 

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Feature

Katie Dorman Spreads Kindness

Whether it’s theatre, art, culinary club, thespian club or tennis, Katie Dorman is always involved in something at Jeffersonville High School. But according to Dorman, her biggest accomplishment has been a club that is growing quickly.

“I like that I’ve been a part of plays…I like that I’ve worked hard at tennis, but right now I think my biggest accomplishment would be GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) and making progress in our club,” Dorman said. Even though Dorman did not start the club, she said she wanted to be involved with it, even before she realized that she was a part of the LGBTQ+ community.

“I always wanted to be a part of it just because I feel like it’s a nice way to spread more awareness of people who are just trying to make their way through life by being themselves,” Dorman said.

According to Dorman, the Gay-Straight Alliance has made progress through spreading awareness.“We’ve done booths during lunch, we’ve spread cards around, we have people coming in, sharing their experiences, having people who aren’t in the community that are straight but they’re allies and coming into the club just so they can be more aware,” she said. “We do spread kindness through everybody.”

In addition to the Gay-Straight Alliance, Dorman also has a passion for the arts and wants to study them in college. “I could have a minor in theatre,” she said. “I’ve been thinking about it. But primarily at the moment, probably just 2D art, maybe 3D art. Some digital design. Animation maybe. Getting into the basics…traditional art.” Dorman thinks that like the Gay-Straight Alliance, the arts can bring kindness. “I really think art can be very expressive,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be super deep, it doesn’t have to be something like Leonardo Da Vinci or anything like that. Make something simple, and then start sharing it with people. And that’s…a good way to spread kindness.”

Katie Dorman by Marni Scholl

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Feature Football

Jeremy Shingleton is Dedicated On and Off the Field

Jeremy Shingleton is a senior at Jeffersonville High School and is a member of the football team. Shingleton, who has been a dedicated player for all four years of his football career, finally saw his hard work paying off when he scored his first touchdown for the football team in their game against Bedford North Lawrence.

The game held on October 18 was a dedicated night for seniors including Shingleton. He says it was his favorite part of being on the team. “It made me really happy when everyone was cheering for me,” he says. He also says it was exciting and although he was a little nervous, seeing all his teachers and teammates there to cheer him on made him
feel better. Shingleton says he loves being on the football team and it’s one of his favorite parts of Jeff High.

Shingleton enjoys many things outside of football, including his student job at Meijers where he is dedicated to helping customers.

“My favorite part is helping every customer that walks in,” he says. Shingleton also says That he hopes to get hired at Meijer so he can work there more and help even more people. (Currently he is participating in a work-study program.)

Shingleton says that although football is one of his favorite activities, his favorite thing to do is helping other people. “I want to help everyone,” Shingleton says. Shingleton also enjoys other sports like wrestling and when he’s not playing football, he’s watching it. He also enjoys school and especially his favorite subject, social studies. Shingleton works hard on the field and even harder at school and work, making him a very dedicated student athlete. “I try to do my best in everything no matter what,” he says.

jeremy-s-kyle-tincher

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Feature Football News

Isaac Findley is Guided by Faith

isaac-findley-by-paige-moore

On a Wednesday night at Spring Mill State Park, a young man emerged from his baptism in a creek. And he emerged as a new person. Issac Findley is a dedicated football player here at Jeffersonville High. He found his faith in middle school and felt he needed to “take responsibility” for himself, his life and his relationship with God.

Findley made the decision to be baptised in middle school, and describes his baptism as feeling unfearing and courageous, reanimated with a new passion for his life and those ]around him.“It was probably in middle school when I got baptized, because that’s when I really took on my faith as myself and not my parents.” He feels that baptism is when you really “put the holy spirit in your life and live as Jesus would have lived.”

When asked if he ever feels outcast because of his faith, he notes that after declining party invitations he has been mocked for being “too religious.” He says that some will ask him “why are you different?” and he’ll answer, “It’s because of my faith.” He doesn’t feel the need to shove his faith down others’ throats, nor to pass judgment on others; he simply wants to provide a listening ear and a prayer for those who ask for one.

Findley told the story of one such incident where he invited another football player to church. The other made excuses he couldn’t drive, he was busy, he was forced to church in his childhood. Finally, he went with Findley to church, and found his love for God and faith reanimated. Later, Findley asked him to a Bible camp. Eventually, Findley was present for his baptism.

“I don’t want to shove it down people’s throats. “You can come talk to me and I can pray for you,” he says. He thinks some people need to give religion a chance, that it could help them as it has helped others, and that it all affects us in different ways. He feels as though religion has made him more accepting to everyone, and that he wants to include everyone. Findley says that Jesus loves everyone, and asked us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

Findley also says his faith has improved his relationship with his partner, Kiersten. That keeping God in the center and having an emotional and spiritual relationship has helped him and Kiersten be more understanding of each other and to have a better, long lasting relationship. He said it was because “we don’t stress about if we’re good enough.” They go to church every Sunday together, and keep their relationship centered on spirituality.

Findley plans to be an engineer after high school, and attends services Southeast Christian Church. His relationships and life have improved since his baptism, helping him be more open, inviting and long-lasting. He only asks that you give spirituality a chance.

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Feature Tennis

Mark Reilly Looks Back on Nearly Four Decades at Jeff High

reilly-by-max-fisherWhen Mark Reilly applied to teach science at Jeffersonville High School in 1983, he was surprised to get the job because “teaching jobs were hard to come by.” Little did he know the impact and length of his stay at Jeff High. Reilly has been teaching science at Jeff High for 38 years. He says he had always had an interest in teaching and he noticed that he was often used to help others both in class and in sports when he was a kid. This discovered talent would become his passion through his teaching and coaching. Reilly is well known for his class and always optimistic personality. Around school, his classes are favorites among Jeff High Students. Whether it’s the baby chicks he gives his biology students or the field trips his environmental science classes take, Reilly is well known as a fun teacher who wants the best for his students.

Many others know Reilly as a coach. He first started coaching in 1984, when he was an assistant baseball coach for two years. After that, he began coaching tennis, a job that lasted him 30 years, and ended with him as one of the most successful coaches in Jeffersonville High School History, and put his tennis program in a position to compete for a state title.

Reilly started his first girls’ season with a team where half of the players couldn’t keep score. His final boys’ team pushed eventual state champions North Central in a close 2-3 loss in the state semi-final.

In his teaching and coaching, Reilly says the biggest difference between the two is in the connection. “With sports, there’s more of a connection, kids respect me on the tennis court because of my play and knowledge, and they want to get better at tennis,” he says. However, in the classroom, he says he “has to make connections because we don’t have something in common. They need to know you care.”

Looking back at his career, Reilly hopes his students and players remember that he cared and always wanted the best for them. He says he still sees people that remember what he did for them when he was coaching or teaching. One thing he has learned over his years is the amount of influence he can have on someone’s life. “The impact you have on individuals, daily, you won’t realize until possibly ten years later,” says Reilly, “So, treat every kid with the same enthusiasm.”

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Sports Swimming & Diving

Boys/Girls Swimming and Diving

BOYS

After an impressive runner-up finish at sectionals last year, the Jeffersonville High School Boys swim team lost 5 varsity seniors. This year the team is low on numbers, but head coach Michael Pepa says the team is doing “better than I thought.”

With the smaller team, they have had to make some changes, such as having divers swim some events. Something Junior diver, Max Cathey described as challenging, yet helpful to the team. While it can be frustrating for the divers, Head Diving Coach, Holden Henderson says it pays off, “The net benefit is worth it,” he says. While the small numbers cost the team at dual meets, their strong individual performances will should  pay off in the State tournament. The small numbers also have helped with team  comradery. Senior co-captain, Jonas Gillam says, “we’re a lot closer because of it.” With all the hard work this season, especially over Christmas break the team is ready for a strong postseason.

Looking forward, the team is primarily focused on getting as many people to state as possible. Freshman, Evan Dickson says if they “keep at it, and show up every day,” he believes they can achieve those goals.

GIRLS 

The Jeffersonville High School girls swimming and diving team is coming off an impressive second-place finish at Sectionals last year. And this year with strong senior leadership, they believe they have a shot to take back the sectional title. Their goal this year is simple, “Win sectionals,” says freshman Samantha Elsner.

Head coach Michael Pepa says they have been training really well as a group, and he noted the team’s cohesiveness and positive attitudes as reasons for success. Pepa credits the work ethic to the senior leadership, saying,“They’re setting expectations a little higher this year.” Looking towards the postseason, the team has ramped up training, especially over winter break. “We’ve been training really hard, and the work is paying off,” says Senior Bonnie Dixon.

The team is also counting on a strong performance from Sophomore diver, Disney Mullins. This year with two years of diving experience under her belt, Mullins believes she can provide crucial points for the team. “I’m extremely proud of how far I’ve come from last year,” she says. With the work under their belt, to achieve their goals, Senior Captain Alyssa Miller says, “We just have to focus.”

Categories
News

School Start Time: Is 7:45 Too Early For Teenagers?

In early November, as the nights get colder and the days get shorter, the sound of an alarm piercing through the darkness early in the morning can be quite alarming. According to sleepfoundation.org, teenagers need a minimum of 8½ hours of sleep — yet only 15 percent of teenagers get that much. 

Why not just go to bed earlier? According to sleepfoundation.org, teens have a hard time falling asleep anytime before 11 p.m. due to biological sleep patterns.

Sleep is as important as the air you breathe. It is also important for maintaining the stress teenagers face. So why does school begin so early at Jeff High — especially in comparison to other districts, including those where high schools start later than elementary schools? 

According to Greater Clark County Schools superintendent Mark Laughner, “One main reason the district chooses to start high schools before elementary schools is so that older siblings arrive home at the end of the school day prior to their younger siblings. We serve a lot of working parents and this provides them with additional support in the afternoon.” 

Jeffersonville High School sophomore Georgia Martin, who said she wakes up at 5 a.m. to get ready and catch her bus in time, thinks the start time should change. “I hate [the starting time], and I think it should be pushed back an hour,” Martin said. Getting more sleep isn’t the only reason. Martin added that her bus stop is a street over from her house, so she worries about safety walking to her bus stop in the dark. 

In spite of the complaints, the school district does not plan to push back that alarm clock anytime soon. “The district is not looking to change start/end times in the near future,” said Laughner.img_7197

Recent poll results from @thehyphennews on Instagram!!!!

 

Categories
News

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

Categories
Opinion

Commentary: Religion in Schools – is it Constitutional?

written by Emily Tully

At the constitutional convention in 1787, our founding fathers came to the conclusion that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Many interpret this to mean that, literally, Americans have the right to practice any religion that we choose, but the government cannot force any religion onto you.

In recent times, or even since that amendment has been ratified, it has been misquoted and not followed as our founders meant.

Religion remains a topic not to be brought up with people, as most have a passionate opinion about it. Individuals follow the faith that they so choose and practice it in their daily lives to their discretion.

With that being said, there are some that don’t.

If things were as they were laid out in the Constitution, that would be fine. But companies, schools and other organizations have been shaming those who do not follow religion, or don’t practice the religion that they do, and making it institutional.

With the recent mass shootings in schools, there have been more calls for action as a means to stop the senseless violence and death that have been surrounding our society for over a decade. Solutions to the problem have been mentioned — arming teachers, stronger gun control, and even some unconventional ones, like adding more religion in schools.

The problem with teaching religion in public schools is that it is unconstitutional and hinders the process of students being able to form their own opinions.

Posts on social media from local high school students have claimed that the reason for these tragedies is ‘our country’s lack of morals and a relationship with God.’ Organizations have banded together to put ‘God back into public schools’ following mass acts of violence.

But what about those who do not practice any religion, or a religion that doesn’t have to do with God?

As a high school student, who isn’t particularly religious, I am absolutely in awe at the fact that other high schoolers want to blame this problem on something that is not based on fact. The fact of the matter is the average person, as young as 16 years old in Vermont, can purchase a gun. Eighteen-year-olds can purchase semi-automatic weapons that cause mass destruction. As many as 50 people can be killed in minutes, as seen in the Las Vegas shooting.

How long must this go on before our voices are heard? Why do these calls for action have to come from ‘children’? Why is being a ‘child,’ or a young person, a bad thing? Why do we imply that our youth is uneducated about this topic in particular; when, in reality, high school students are the ones who deal with this first hand?

As of print, there have been 82 school shootings since I started my freshman year at Jeff High, all of these resulting in injury and death. But my opinion doesn’t matter?

Students are faced with anxieties and fears that our lives will be potentially cut short, in a place where we are supposed to prepare for a life full of longevity and prosperity.

Betsy DeVos, the United States Secretary of Education, has been known for her Christian belief, although she has kept quiet since her nomination. In a 2001 interview, though, she offered a glimpse into her convictions.

“Our desire,” she claimed, “is to confront the culture in ways that will continue to advance God’s kingdom.”

Isn’t this, by definition, unconstitutional?

DeVos is known for her support of private and Christian/Catholic education, supporting President Donald Trump’s call to fund families moving away from “our failing government schools” into their choice of charter or private school.

Why would the country’s Secretary of Education be focused on moving families out of government schools, instead of improving them? Is it because they cannot teach their religious agenda in public schools?

Public schools are not a place to push ideologies, whether they be religious, political or economic. Schools are supposed to be a place for us students to prosper and find ourselves — find our ways of thinking and ways of doing things in a manner that we so please. If I had listened to all of the principles that were pushed upon me, I would not be the activist and opinionated person that I am today.

It’s not just ‘liberals’ or ‘left-wing’ people who believe in teaching students in a way that they can learn for themselves. Most students that I have polled, from all walks of life, want to learn for themselves.

Junior Chris Sosa believes that, “If the government is funding families going into private schools, that’s wrong. They should be focusing on bettering our public schools, because not everyone is going to choose to go to a private school.

“It’s a bias within our government towards those who don’t follow the religion that they do,” Sosa continued.

In this time of societal divy of how to fix this nationwide dilemma of violence, does the answer really lie within amending the Constitution?