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

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

Opposing Views: Should We Build the Border Wall?

JHS students and staff weigh in on the pros and cons of President Trump’s plan for securing the border with Mexico

“I am against the wall. Statistics show we don’t need the wall and if we get a wall it won’t do the things Trump says it will.”
– Jojo Spio, Senior

“I am for the wall because we do need to protect our borders. Every other country in the world protects their borders so I don’t see why we can’t. Should we let immigrants in and out? Yes, but it has to be according to proper procedures.”
– Mr. Dench, Radio and TV Teacher

“I am against it because I feel like the money that could go to the wall could go towards many other things that could be way more beneficial for the country. For example, Flint Michigan still doesn’t have clean water. Why would we spend so much money on a wall, when we could spend money on getting citizens clean water?”
– Jaleigh Brown, Sophomore

“I’m for the wall. It seems like a pretty obvious solution to me. If you want to stop people from coming in, you put a barrier in front of them.”
– Brennan Zastawny, Senior

“America was founded on the idea that it was for immigrants. It was founded by immigrants, for immigrants, and for people who needed a safe place. And if you really want to get technical, the first illegal immigrants showed up in 1492 with Christopher Columbus. The wall won’t stop illegal immigration.”
– Mr. Henderson, English Teacher

“In my opinion the wall isn’t a bad solution to immigration, but it’s not perfect either. But bottom line is eventually something needs to be done and the wall seems like a fitting solution to the problem.”
– Lex Hawkins, Junior

Written by Joselen Lopez, Mattie Blanton, and Sophie Rousseau

Editorial: Jeffersonville’s Promise Deserves the Chance to Prove its Value

When Jeffersonville’s Promise was announced in November, many praised the program as a way to give hope to the hopeless. The program promised two free years of tuition at Ivy Tech for qualifying Jeff High graduates, starting with this year’s senior class. When you consider that more than half of the students at Jeff High receive free or reduced price lunches, the impact of Jeffersonville’s Promise is monumental for those who could not afford college otherwise.

However, a bill recently introduced in the state House of Representatives puts the future of Jeffersonville’s Promise in doubt. House Bill 1596, which is primarily sponsored by Ed Clere, R-New Albany, would stop or curtail the program. After a quick decision to move forward with the bill in a committee, this week the bill was moved to a different committee, according to a report in the News and Tribune.

For now, the program still stands while Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore continues to advocate for the program.

We, the Hyphen staff, believe the bill sheds light on the need to define more rigorous standards for how the scholarship money is used. However, we believe that Jeffersonville’s Promise should stand, because it is a wise use of tax dollars. Just as we use tax dollars to provide libraries and public schools for citizens, we should use tax dollars to provide college education.

Some would say that Clere is using this measure to continue the ongoing feud between Jeffersonville and New Albany high schools. The issues are deeper than that. But there is one thing we can all agree on: a more educated population in Jeffersonville benefits our entire area — including New Albany.

Is it Unfair? Students and Staff Sound Off on the Dress Code

Dress code has been a hotly debated topic for as long as I can remember. Teachers, peers, administrators and more all have different expectations of what students should and can wear to school.

There are even differences among dress codes in schools in our area. For example, New Albany-Floyd County Schools have a casual dress code and it isn’t even strongly enforced. They can show skin above the knee, have rips in their jeans, show shoulders and more.

Our dress code at Jeff High is very strict, but there are many people who say that it is somewhat sexist, as well. While it doesn’t explicitly show, everyone knows that our dress code affects girls more than boys. Guys can wear shorts a few inches above the knee, but if a girl wears a skirt or dress the same length, they get punished.

When asked if our dress code is more unfair to girls than guys, these are some responses from students and staff at Jeff High:

“I would agree that the dress code is more unfair to girls than guys. Guys can get away with a little bit more when it comes to dress code, because one would think they don’t have as much to cover up as girls do.”
– Natalie Bronson, science teacher and student council sponsor

“Absolutely. Guys violate dress code all the time and nothing gets said to them because they are guys, when girls barely break dress code by the slightest bit, we get in trouble.”
– Tiara Jones, sophomore

“Yeah, there’s more rules for girls compared to boys. I’ve been dress coded for having a hole in my jeans above my knee and a boy could have a hole in the same place and not have anything happen.”
– Elliot Mays, freshman

“Yes, guys have the ability to wear clothes that kind of let you breathe more than girls do based on our current dress code. Depending on the weather and circumstances, girls have it a lot harder.”
– Harrison Paul, senior

“Girls have it harder because guys don’t have that problem, really, or I haven’t at least. A lot of girls clothes break dress code and that’s just how they’re made. So it’s kind of unfair that they buy clothes and can’t wear them.”
– Hunter Milam, junior

 

Written by Joselen Lopez

Cover Story: Jeff High’s Foreign Exchange Students Weigh in on Life in the U.S.

What would you pack if you could only take one suitcase to last you a whole year? A whole year without seeing your mom or dad. A whole year without sleeping in your own bed or petting your family dog. A whole year of new sights and sounds and sensations. A whole year in an unknown country. For Jeff High’s five foreign exchange students, this is their reality.

Their names are Marlene, Louis, and Peter (who are all from Germany), as well as Giovanni (who is from Italy) and Kamilla (who is from Russia). Amongst themselves there are many differences, from the way they were raised to the traditions of their families, but one thing they all have in common is the foreign exchange program.

The foreign exchange program allows students from all over the world to experience global interaction and travel, as well as the host of said exchange students to learn from their non-native guest.

“America is the dream country,” said Kamilla on why she wanted to come to America. She wanted to learn English and thought coming to a new place would be interesting. Marlene also agreed with her on this statement saying everyone wants to speak English and she wishes to become fluent.

Giovanni said there’s even an English speaking club at his school back in Italy. The club’s goal is to help students get their PET, which is a certificate of English fluency. He also said America has lived up to his expectations.

“Everything here is bigger. There are roads for no reason, and fast food everywhere.” said Giovanni. Louis stated Jeff High is a much bigger building then his school building back in Germany.

“Our number of students is the same – give or take, around 2,000 – but our school is probably 10 times smaller than Jeff High,” said Giovanni on his school size. He said his school has no cafeteria, pools, sports fields or even lockers. “I love my locker, even if it is annoying that we have to carry around our stuff,” said Marlene, whose school is also without lockers. Marlene also said school in the United States is much easier than school overseas. Every other exchange student agreed.

For Peter, Jeff High’s daily seven periods are practically effortless to him, considering he takes 16 classes a week back home. In Germany, his homework is never assigned nor taken for a grade, rather it is simply just provided as a reference. In order for him to succeed on his exams, he has to study from wanting to rather that having to.

All the exchange students agree that homework from their home countries is harder than the homework here. Kamilla said some of her classes in Russia only meet once a week, so when they do have class most of the time is spent taking a test. All the learning is left for her to on her own.

Some of them said students in their home country stay together the entire day and go from class to class together. For Kamilla, she will to stay with the same classmates from her kindergarten class until she graduates. In Russia, high school students only study 11 years rather than 12.

All of their schools have no school sports teams either. Louis, who plays tennis, is part of a club sport rather than a school team in Germany. Club sports only practice about twice a week rather than usual 5 for school teams here in America.

Many of the exchange students commented that sports are a much bigger deal to Americans. “One of the stereotypes about America is the sports,” said Marlene.

One of the things she has enjoyed most about her time here in the United States was going to all of the football games in the fall, even if she had no idea how the game worked. She is planning on going to all of basketball games this winter. Marlene also hopes to keep in contact with the friends she’s made here at Jeff.

Kamilla, who will be leaving at the end of this semester, is sad she has to go. “I don’t know if I will ever see them again, and although it has been a short time, I am sad to go,” she said about leaving friends in the United States.

 

Written by Sophie Rousseau