What Matters

the axe magazine online, issue 1 – OCT 2020


Online Learning • Dance

NBA Finals • Your relationship with Coffee


Feature Story: 'No Justice, No Peace'

by Soju Hokari

The 411

Land Acknowledgement

With thanks to Brenda Brainard

Eugene School District 4j, South Eugene High School, and your Axe Magazine online would like to acknowledge that our institution sits on the homelands of the Kalapuya people.

In the Treaties of 1851 and 1854-1855, and the subsequent forced removals of many Indian people from western Oregon, some of the Kalapuya were moved to the Grand Ronde Reservation and some were moved to the Siletz Reservation. It is important to note that all of Lane County was an important trading and gathering area for camas and other resources.

During the Restoration Era, from 1977-1989, Lane County was designated at the Service Area for the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians, the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Indians, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, the Coquille Indian Tribe, and the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Indians.

Eugene 4J District and South wish to acknowledge that descendants of the original and Service Area inhabitants of this land are still here today. They are thriving members of our schools and our communities. Countless members of other Tribes now also call our community and schools their home.

We wish to thank those original stewards of this land. We as outsiders on this land wish to remember that we need to take good care of this land and take good care of all members of our school district and community. Thank you for joining us.

mission statement

The Axe is dedicated to the goals and ethics of journalism. As a student-run publication, our mission is to both inform the student body and spark discussion among the student body about the news within South Eugene High School and the wider community. We function under an open forum policy. We accept and may use in our publication the feedback and commentary of our readers. Email all inquiries: willis_b@4j.lane.edu.



Holiday Farm Fire

The Holiday Farm Fire has been raging since Sept. 7, caused by a downed power line and unusually warm, brisk winds. Several local districts, including District 4J, postponed students’ first-day-of-school returns. Hundreds of people living in Linn and Lane Counties were evacuated, though some have returned to their homes as the fire has come more and more under control. Currently, the fire has burned 173,094 acres and was nearly 80 percent contained by the beginning of October. Officials expected the fire to be fully contained by the end of the month. –By Sophia Telaroli

Belarus: Ongoing Protests

On May 24, President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus, was re-elected to his sixth term in office. The night of the election, citizens got the news that their president had won by a landslide; many believed the news was a lie. Lukashenko’s victory was so unexpected and unsettling that citizens began protesting the night of the election, resulting in violent confrontations between citizens and authorities. Protests continue to this day. –By Elita Kutateli

Future of 4J SRO's

Following the Black Lives Matter protests in June, 4J school board members voted 6-1 to find an alternative to their current contract with the Eugene Police Department, stating that “sworn officers will not be stationed in schools” after Dec. 31. Currently, there is one School Resource Officer stationed at each high school under a contract with EPD worth almost half a million dollars annually, an amount that 4J continues to pay regardless of whether school is on-site or in CDL. – Soju Hokari

Canvas: Everyone is Learning

This year students got jolted into an entirely new online working environment. Between figuring out the new platform and trying to maintain a school mindset in their own homes, it has been extremely stressful.

However, what some students fail to recognize is that teachers are not experts at this either.

“It has definitely been challenging at times,” SEHS English teacher Alicia Sterling said. “For assignments that I have been using for years on other platforms, trying to input them into Canvas is very difficult. Half of my usual lesson plans don't even work in an online environment.”

Online learning is new to many and can be very draining for students and staff alike. Be patient – we are in this together. – Mira Ciccarello

Opposition Leader Poisoned

On Aug. 20, Russia’s opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned via tea consumed while in an airport. Falling ill, Navalny was hospitalized and put into a coma after having a near-death experience. Many, including Navalny himself, believe that Russian President Vladmir Putin may have ordered the poisoning against Navalny. Navalny openly criticizes corruption within Russia’s government; some believe this may have made him vulnerable to government scrutiny. –By Elita Kutateli

Back to Business as Usual?

Hundreds of local businesses have suffered significant impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic and some will never bounce back. For those that do, however, few are really sure when business will be completely normal. Most local businesses have had to limit shop capacity, which leads to less sales and decreased revenue. During the mild summer weather, some establishments have been able to make use of extended outdoor seating to welcome customers to dine in. The shopping experience has also changed to accommodate social distancing restrictions, which may also be leading to a decrease in customers shopping. –By Sophia Telaroli.

Learning For ALl

By Sophia Telaroli

The majority of schools in Oregon are online now due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands of children ages five to 18 are doing school in their homes, and thousands of parents are helping their children with their schoolwork; for some it is harder than for others. Normally, when students are actually at school in person, their parents are able to go work and get done what they need to do. But what happens now when those students are at home and need help or cannot be left alone? Eugene residents Aaron and Amanda Vandevire are parents of two elementary school children. Aaron Vandevire works as a manager for DEFY and Amanda works from home.

“It has been very challenging finding time for both school and work (while working from home),” Amanda Vandivere said. “I have found myself prioritizing and getting creative while balancing and juggling everyone’s different schedules, including mine.”

Parents with young students are faced with the responsibility of making sure they are on time to the correct classes. Many elementary students aren’t quite as familiar with navigating online classes and platforms as high-school- and middle-school-students are. This can leave parents feeling overwhelmed or lost as they try to help their children get to where they need to be.

“The majority of my day is spent logging into individual Zooms,” she said, “whether that be PE, music, or mandatory curriculum.”

When younger students are in normal school, they are given recess and time to play and socialized during lunch. In online learning, students sit in front of a computer or iPad without long enough breaks in between classes to stretch and refocus. Although we all know young children have a hard time sitting still for long periods of time, distance learning makes that even harder.

“We have found that it is really important for the boys to get up and move around during break intervals and set realistic goals for them,” Aaron Vandivere added.

Although this new way of schooling is challenging and stressful, there is a silver lining in that families are spending more time together.

“I have always wanted to spend more time with the boys. Although I do feel they are missing a huge piece of socialization … we are able to move at a pace that is fitting for each of them,” Vandivere said.

So for all involved – students, teachers, or parents – something to keep in mind is hopefully quarantine won’t last forever, but maybe the memories of pulling through together will.

Covid-19 and

The Eugene Dance Community

The pause caused by COVID-19 has caused dancers to reflect on racism in their community

By Sarah Dione

Photo by ______ ________

Since COVID-19 and quarantine forced them to close their studio doors closed, local dance companies have been working on a system to keep their students connected and engaged. Whether that meant classes via Zoom, taking necessary sanitizing precautions during in-person classes, or giving dancers access to digital workshops, Eugene’s dance community is doing it all. Being separated from the community has been devastating for dancers.

“We as dancers have an intense connection to the art and the people we do it with,” Hanna Paulvens Sherwood said.

Some students have appreciated the efforts of studios and teachers.

“It’s getting better,” EBA and Flex studio student Taima Taylor said.

At the same time, the shift from “normal” has actually created an opportunity, both private and public, for reflection in Eugene’s local dance companies. Leaders in the community have had time to put pre-COVID distractions aside and to consider where in Eugene’s dance education community social justice movements like Black Lives Matter fit in with the performing art’s history, traditions, and current practices.

Teachers and students alike are making connections, from the most mundane daily routines on up.

“Regulations on not being allowed to wear the accurate [skin-] colored tights have just recently been lifted at some studios, along with strict and unmanageable hair constraints,” Taylor said.

But those are the smallest concerns, making it difficult to know if the community is actually evolving or if companies are simply getting swept up in the energy of local social justice protests and movements.

“Long outdated techniques have continued to enable a privilege of whiteness within the dance communities,” Flex Studios co-owner and director Lindsey Shields said. “In the current climate, it is imperative that the hard work be done and not just spoken.” Companies who don’t continue to evolve are subject to call-out culture.

The heightened awareness around issues of racism, inequity, and privilege has shone a bright light on the racist foundation of dance as a performing art. In addition to discriminatory uniform and hair rules for BIPOC dancers, they have additionally often been denied lead roles because of the stereotypes – stereotypes that, in art forms such as ballet, go back to 17th century Europe – around who is “right” for those roles.

How these philosophical shifts will impact Eugene’s local dance education community long-term remains to be seen.

feature story

'No Justice, No Peace'

Black Lives Matter protests continue

Protests have become more organized and more radical over the summer, according to some South students

By Soju Hokari

“Raise your hand if this is your first time here!”

Tyshawn Ford’s voice reverberated from the giant speaker system on wheels last Tuesday as a crowd of 50 protestors circled around in the middle of the street.

As he waited, 10-20 hands rose tentatively into the air. Four months in, the movement for Black lives has changed dramatically, but it has not stopped.

For South students Elsa Weybright and Seiji Koenigsberg, participation hasn’t slowed one bit. The pair have been at nearly every protest in Eugene over the past few months, working to change a criminal justice system that they believe disproportionately harms Black people.

It is slow going.

“Nothing’s happened yet,” Weybright said. “Nothing’s happened. If you look at Breonna Taylor, nothing has happened with that.”

“Jonathan Price was killed last week,” Koenigsberg added.

The pair believe that change will only come through further protest and grassroots activism from groups such as Black Unity, the local? organization responsible for putting together last Tuesday’s protest.

“Protesting, specifically – that’s how change starts,” Weybright said.

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Weybright laments that more high schoolers aren’t marching for Black lives, and encourages South students to show up to Black Unity protests.

“High schoolers choose to ignore stuff that doesn’t affect them,” Weybright said. “Especially if you are white and you go to South Eugene, you have the privilege to not pay attention to what’s going on.”

Koenigsberg adds that protests have been relatively safe, especially over the past few months as Black Unity has found its footing.

“[Protests are] very well organized,” Koenigsberg said.

Tyshawn Ford is the founder of Black Unity. He says he has been hard at work turning the group into an organized protesting machine.

“I’ve been to a lot of different protests and marches [across the country], and there’s nowhere else where they’re as organized as we are,” Ford said.

Ford’s hard work is on display at protests, where medic and safety teams march alongside large drums and a giant speaker-on-wheels. Marchers regularly stop in intersections for educational speeches.

“We’re here for total abolition,” Ford said at one such stop on Tuesday. Black Unity believes in abolishing not only the police, but prisons and our entire criminal justice system. Ford understands that people may be skeptical, and says that his group spends a lot of time explaining how it would actually work.

“Abolishing the police doesn’t mean just get rid of the police tomorrow,” Ford said.

Ford is also interested in seeing more high schoolers show up to marches.

“I want to be able to teach kids about activism, and how to organize, and Black history,” Ford said, adding that Black Unity marches are a great way to learn about history, and a good way to raise awareness on topics such as police abolition and social justice.

South junior Weybright agrees.

“People have started talking about police reform, [and] police abolition,” Weybright said. “I think it’s provided a pretty good platform to talk about these things and talk about racial issues.”

But Weybright is not very hopeful for the future of the movement. She thinks that the protests are slowly dying down.

Ford is more hopeful. He says that Black Unity meets with the Eugene City Council and the mayor on a regular basis, and that the organization has made an impact on the 4J school board.

“I think that in the future, there's going to be a lot of real police reform happening, working towards abolition,” Ford said.


2020 NBA Finals Recap

Professional basketball sets the bar for quarantine caution and the return to spectator sports in the time of COVID.

By Ivan Freck

It may not feel like it, but over half a year has passed since the pandemic shutdown. Back in the ancient times of early March, with COVID-19 just creeping over the horizon, the NBA season was entering the stretch of season that felt like the start of a new era.

After a half-decade of the Golden State Warriors fending off potential dynasty spoilers, the NBA’s power vacuum had shifted 400 miles down the Pacific coast. The two Los Angeles teams – the Lakers and the Clippers – came out of last year’s offense with shiny new super-teams manufactured unlike any other iteration of the multi-superstar title contenders that came to define the past decade.

The Lakers, a summer after signing LeBron James away from Cleveland and sitting on their hands through a 37-45 season, cashed in almost all of their trade chips for generational big man Anthony Davis and assembled a hodge-podge roster around the duo, hoping that the collective team would mesh in different ways to suit any matchup.

The Clippers, on the other hand, sold their entire future to trade for wing Paul George, which in turn attracted Kawhi Leonard, fresh off a single season as a mercenary for Toronto’s championship run of last year. What made these teams so different from the former examples of super-teams like the Miami Heat early in the last decade or the Warriors later on, was that they were constructed with a time limit baked in. If either of these situations don’t work out, there is not an easy way to salvage the future down the line.

Everything came to a stop when news emerged that rudy gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for the virus

In the Eastern Conference, there was less nailed down. Milwaukee was expected to continue its ascent as the new team to beat with reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, but past that, cases for Philadelphia, Boston, or Toronto had too many holes to really stake down with confidence.

On the night of March 11, the top of the NBA standings didn’t have too many surprises in store. The Lakers had a comfortable lead over the Clippers for the top spot in the West, and Milwaukee was cruising to a dominant hold of the East.

Suddenly, the real world stepped in. After murmurs of playing without fans to account for the onset of COVID-19, everything came to a stop when news emerged that Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for the virus. The NBA suspended play immediately, and the sports world hasn’t been the same since.

Three-quarters of the way through the season, a question had to be answered. How can the NBA finish the season and not risk spreading the virus? After a couple of months without a definitive answer, the organization revealed its plans: Twenty-two of the 30 teams would play eight so-called “seeding” games at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports at Disney World in Florida, and the full playoffs would proceed from there. One wrinkle thrown in for teams on the outside of the playoff field was a chance for the ninth-place team to play in a play-in game for the eighth seed in a conference if they were within five games of the eighth-place team. After a couple of weeks of quarantine, the games picked up where they left off.

Basketball in a new atmosphere was a bit odd at first, but athletes were ready for the return and desperate spectators adapted. The smaller arena and lack of fans made for a spectacle that lacked the same excited energy that playing on such grand stages like traditional arenas have, but the quality of play didn’t suffer too much from the extended break.

The highlight of the seeding games was the battle for the eighth seed in the West, a fight that featured six teams gunning for one spot. New Orleans and Sacramento fell out of the race after a handful of games. San Antonio and Phoenix, with the most significant deficits to make up heading in, exceeded expectations, but ultimately didn’t have enough misfortune from other teams to make it in. Memphis, holding down the eighth spot by three-and-a-half games, struggled out of the gate, but ended up clinging to the ninth spot by virtue of a tiebreaker over Phoenix. Portland, bringing back some players who had time to heal from injuries during the quarantine hiatus, had to claw their way through several white knucklers to make it to the eighth spot and best Memphis in the play-in round.

The first round of the playoffs proceeded without too much of note in the way of on-court drama, but a wildcat strike by the players in protest of racial injustice in the aftermath of the shooting of Jacob Blake by police officers in Wisconsin briefly left the season in question. After some meetings on what to do next, the players elected to move forward.

Round two is where the narratives that had been built up over the season started to warp. Milwaukee, after some subpar performances in the seeding games left some with doubts over their viability as a championship-caliber team, were soundly beaten by Miami, the fifth seed that at first glance seemed to be more of a pesky roadblock than a formidable opponent. But Miami didn’t stop there, beating the Boston Celtics in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals.

In the Western Conference bracket, the Clippers jumped out to a three-games-to-one lead over the Denver Nuggets, who had to overcome that same deficit in the previous round just to face off with the Clippers. It seemed like the two Los Angeles were going to battle for Western Conference supremacy, just as it was predicted before the season started.

Then it all came crumbling down for the historically-maligned Clippers: Denver stole three straight games, with the Clippers blowing double-digit leads in all three. After the Lakers held up their end of the bargain in the Western Conference finals, they had a faceoff with Miami.

These two teams were diametrically opposed. One was built to contend and grab attention, with two of the best and most popular players front and center. The other was made of an amalgam of stars with a smaller spotlight and homegrown overachievers that came together to form a team that won with its depth and versatility over three straight higher-seeded opponents. Ultimately, the Lakers’ stars were too much for the Heat, especially with some unforgiving handicapping due to injuries on Miami’s end.

NFL Points Per Game - On the Rise

Placeholder Placeholder Placeholder –By Ivan Freck

visually speaking

How does one drink Coffee?

By James McKeon


Stuck at Home

Students (or in some cases their parents) share first-day-of-school photos from their home office.

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The way we were...

Remember sitting next to friends? Singing with abandon? Everyone huddled up looking bored at the pep assemblies, but secretly enjoying the performances and being out of class?

Yeah, we miss it too. #southstrong 💜

thank you for reading the axe magazine online!