Issue 10 making an impact

Cover art by Saraf Anjum

Land acknowledgment

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.

Land acknowledgement courtesy of Brenda Brainard.

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:


Congratulations to South's community members who have been nominated for an ACE (A Champion in Education) award!

Dan Ambrose, Volunteer, South Eugene High School

Sebastian Catlin, Student Achievement Specialist, South Eugene High School

Chris Dobson, Music Teacher, South Eugene High School

Benjamin Godfrey, Math Teacher, South Eugene High School

Rebecca Gourgey, Special Education Teacher, South Eugene High School

Dave Hancock, Athletic Director, South Eugene High School

Dody Hansen, Volunteer, South Eugene High School

Michael Leahy, Counselor, South Eugene High School

Shirley Madathil Lathrop, Counselor, South Eugene High School

Lallie McKenzie, Engineering Technology CTE Teacher, South Eugene High School

Amy Page, District Librarian, Instructional Services Department

Natalie Rush, French Teacher, South Eugene High School

Haruka Sakurai, Japanese Teacher, South Eugene High School

Tamara Torrence, Math Teacher, South Eugene High School

Campbell Trangmar, Custodian, South Eugene High School

Bobbie Willis, Journalism Teacher, South Eugene High School

Rose Winand, Technology Support Specialist III, Technology Department

Amy Page, Library Support, Library Department.


The Bracket posted at 400 hall. Photo by Naomi Saenger.

clash royale

On Apr. 20 at lunch, SEHS' student government members started the first Clash Royale tournament of the year after seeing how successful prior tournaments have been. Over the course of the next four weeks, participants will duel against each other, and the winning teams will move on and play against the winners from other brackets until there is just one team of champions left. –Ricky Verges

Photo courtesy of 4j School District

Superintendent search

Following assistant Superintendent Cydney Vandercar’s post as interim superintendent for the 2021 and 2022 school years, the 4J school board is now ready to begin the process of finding a permanent hire. The district has decided to allow public input from staff, parents, and students to help decide who should be the new district superintendent.

“Our goal is to lead a fair and open search process for the next permanent superintendent of Eugene School District 4J,” the current 4J school board explained via the district website.

The public may participate in panels, recommend questions to be asked, and review interviews on the 4J website. 4J schools have emailed information out about how to submit possible interview questions for consideration – submissions are due Apr. 25. The hope is that allowing more community input might help improve the district administration system and build community trust. –John Watson

Photo courtesy of 4j School District

IHS celebration coming up

On May 23, the annual IHS celebration and program fundraiser will be held at Oakway Center. Alumni, retired teachers, and current staff will be there to greet families and celebrate the program’s shared history of international education. When attendees eat at one of the participating restaurants in the Oakway Center during the event, Eugene IHS receives a percentage of the proceeds to fund IHS student government and future student activities. The IHS student government has been working hard to make the celebration as fun and lively as possible. There will be raffle baskets with prizes and gift cards that have been donated from business' all over Eugene. Fun outdoor games will be available, and student artwork will be showcased. Alumni, teachers, family, and current students from all three IHS campuses – South Eugene, Sheldon, and Churchill, are welcome to celebrate the end of the learning year. Abby Keiber

school improvement video

As reported by Jeff Martin of AP News, on Apr. 16, students of Druid Hills High School in Atlanta, Ga., have taken videos of their school practically "crumbling around them." The footage was uploaded to YouTube, and has since gained more than 27k views. The video has "prompted outrage among some parents." But little immediate action has been taken to improve the building for students who attend school every day. The DeKalb school board has said they will "consider a resolution,” but the video footage shows there should be much more than consideration at this point. - Brielle Blaszczyk

Photo courtesy of SEHS Student Government

asb applications open

Applications to run for Associated Student Body (ASB) student government positions are now available for all South students. Applications are due at midnight on May 4, and voting will take place on May 20. The application requires a short personal statement and three short answer questions, accompanied by two teacher recommendations, a campaign poster, and an Instagram post and story for the Student Government Instagram page. The positions are: ASB President, ASB Vice President, Communications Officer, Secretary/Treasurer, two Site Council Representatives, School Board Representative, Elections Officer, Activities and Assemblies Coordinator, Affinity Group/Club/Student Liason, and Social Media Coordinator. ASB President and ASB Vice President both require one year of previous student government experience. Detailed information, position descriptions and the link to the actual application (scroll all the way to the end) can be found here. – By Natasha Dracobly

Opinion editorials

Photo by Bettina Wu

Supreme Court Reform

By Bettina Wu

The appointment of Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court following Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement this summer has resulted in the issues of the Court to come under examination. Although the judicial body should be objective by deferring to the Constitution in its decision-making process, it is common knowledge that justices lean more conservative or liberal in their personal philosophies, which can naturally impact judicial decisions.

To combat this issue, many are calling to “pack the court” – increasing the number of justices on the bench – in an effort to balance the ideologies of the justices. Others also demand for term limits to be set.

This strategy has gained public attention because there is an imbalance of ideologies on the Court, with six conservatives to three liberals. With this proposal, the total number of justices on the Court would become 13, with possibly seven liberals to six conservatives, which many see as a more mitigatable difference.

Moreover, many propose enforcing term limits on the justices in addition to or instead of packing the court. Although different groups propose a variety of different ways to implement term limits, the proposal considered most agreeable is giving each justice a term of 18 years, and staggering those 18 years to ensure that every President gets to appoint two new justices. People support this because the current system gives justices a lot of power over deciding when they want to retire, or not. This can cause older justices to hold onto their positions until they come across a president who has ideologies similar to them and would appoint someone they approve of. In addition, letting justices serve until they are well into their 70s or 80s could be detrimental because their worldviews may no longer coincide with those of younger generations. This could also cause presidents to focus on appointing justices who are as young as possible since they will retain their power even after the president steps down.

However, both proposals have their drawbacks. For example, packing the Supreme Court may decrease people’s trust in the government. Some may believe that if every majority party could change the Court for whatever reason, the idea of justice and impartiality would be distorted. It would also force the Court to become more closely tied to whatever the current political climate happens to be. This is because it would give majority parties the power to sway the bench as they wish, despite the fact that the Court is meant to be apolitical.

The reason why some people oppose imposing term limits on Supreme Court justices is because they worry that forcing justices to leave the bench after a certain amount of time might cause the Court to change too dramatically and too quickly. It would also tie the Supreme Court to every single Presidential election, again making the Court become political.

Whether or not the drawbacks of these proposals outweigh their benefits remains to be seen. But reforming the makeup of the Supreme Court is likely to become an increasingly urgent topic, and it is not unrealistic to expect more attention and scrutiny.


Art by Saraf Anjum

Covid: Are things returning to normal?

By Saraf Anjum

With another COVID-19 wave sweeping through Europe and Asia, people wonder, are we really going back to normal or are we being too lenient with preventative measures?

With a population of 26 million, Shanghai is under firm lockdown as the number of Covid-19 cases soar to a sharp peak. Officials attribute the recent surge to the more contagious Omicron BA.2 subvariant.

On Monday, a striking 26,087 cases were reported amid school closures and cancellations of multiple international events. Many remain concerned about the economy of the country’s largest city and financial hub.

Shanghai has been implementing strict isolation and mass testing to reduce the spread, but complaints around food shortages and a lack of medical resources are still looming.

While China’s preventative measures have been much stricter than Europe, the recent surge could possibly be because of waning immunity due to less effective vaccinations.

Back in the U.S., things remain unclear as people make their way back toward normal life.

“I think it [masks] has become a bit less of a stressful thing and more of an everyday addition,” South sophomore Iris Lin said. “I think masks being optional is fine, but it still means taking a bit of a risk. I guess we just need to see how it goes as everyone stops wearing them. Having the vaccine definitely makes it less stressful.

South sophomore Ella Gomsrud agreed.

“For a little while, I was worried that we were jumping at it too quickly,” Gomsrud said. “But after a few weeks, it's probably an alright decision as long as we continue to be safe. Since masks are optional, not everyone is taking them off, and that is easing us toward normalcy.”

The situation outside the U.S., however, remains grim.

Almost half of Europe has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases as of [date]. Finland’s percentage leaped to a striking 84 percent with as many as 62,500 weekly cases. Switzerland saw a 45 percent increase as cases jumped to 182,190, followed by the U.K. with a 31 percent increase and 414,480 new cases. Likewise, Austria, Belgium, and Germany, among others, have experienced similar numbers.

Many politicians are lifting preventative policies: Just two months ago, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson lifted lockdown and vowed that they would rely on vaccines and treatments rather than lockdowns if needed in the future. France has relaxed their Covid policies by allowing people to enter restaurants, theaters and other public places without proof of vaccination.

Moreover, Germany has announced that they would lift many COVID restrictions, despite the country facing one of its worst tolls.

Researchers suggest the rise in cases, paired with more relaxed preventative measures, is due to the BA.2 subvariant, which is even more transmissible than its original Omicron predecessor.

These surges may just be a new fact of life.

“I think we are going to have surges no matter what,” Gomsrud added, “and as long as the surge is not right here in Oregon, I think now is no better of a time to wean masks off than any other time.”

Students remain hopeful.

“I don’t think that not wearing masks makes things necessarily go back to normal,” sophomore Molly Webb said, “but I think it is a step in that direction. Though hopefully, we will have more plans regarding healthcare now.”

For the time being, it seems like the best decision is to keep moving toward normalcy, but the recent surges around the world might be a reason to proceed with caution.

Art by Saraf Anjum

Green Week Roundup

By Saraf Anjum

In the hopes of inspiring a new generation of environmentally conscious leaders, Green Week takes the lead.

Throughout the week of April 18-22, South students were encouraged to participate in a variety of sustainable activities, such as walking to school or using reusable drinking containers.

Each day was dedicated to a different school-sponsored activity. Monday was the time to sign petitions for endangered animals (and for winning an eco-friendly stuffed animal!). Tuesday revolved around sustainable modes of transportation. Wednesday was for cleaning up and recycling, and Thursday for swapping clothes and wearing thrifted outfits. Lastly, Friday was for utilizing reusable cups (and getting free lemonade!).

First started by the Green Education Foundation (GEF), National Green Week became a nationwide initiative for schools to educate their students about sustainability, choosing any time from the first week of February to the end of April for events to take place.

With record-high temperatures around the world, biodiversity loss, droughts, and wildfires due to climate change, the future looks grim. Global temperatures have risen by a striking 33.98 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880.

While this may seem too colossal of a problem to be dealt with by one week of group activities, Green Week showed that sustainability is accessible to everyone and a little can go a long way. The act of participating was not limited to students who have always been active on environmental issues; rather participation was encouraged in anyone who wanted to make a difference, however small it may be.

Regardless of any student's interests or involvement with environmental protection or activism,” South senior Kenta Tsukomoto said, “the act of participation and being around a week centered around such allows the idea to at least be present. Especially with prizes and activities that allow students to get involved (volunteering or getting lemonade) it definitely makes an impact. More people will talk about it, more people will listen, more people will think about it, and more people will act!”

Indeed, the fun activities incorporated in this effort has motivated more and more students.

“I will most certainly be participating in the waste Wednesday clean up, and definitely getting lemonade on Friday as well as my chance to get a stuffed animal!” Tsukamoto said.

These fun aspects helped to build awareness in students.

“I think it’s important to at least be conscious about it [sustainability] so doing it at school is a great thing,” South sophomore Iris Lin said. “Having everyone be aware of Green Week can possibly interest more people to join in or at least spread the word.”

Green Week is a great way to spread and build awareness around climate change, and how we can lead more sustainable lifestyles. Climate change is not an opinion - it is real and it affects every single one of our lives. If we have any hopes of a better future, our collective effort is needed now more than ever.