the axe magazine online issue 16

16 JUNE 2021




by Will Borrevik


by Helen Evans


by Mira Ciccarello & Henry Nieckarz


by Bettina Wu


The Minoru Yasui Contest • Julia Harvey

Quotes From COVID • In-Person Graduation 2021



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: willis_b@4j.lane.edu.

New Axe Report!

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Minoru Yasui Contest

By Mira Ciccarello

Every year the Minoru Yasui Student Writing Contest takes place to honor Minoru Yasui, a Japanese-American civil rights activist who challenged the constitutionality of the military curfew imposed upon Japanese Americans during World War II, and this year one of South IHS’s very own students, junior Alejandro McClain, was selected as a finalist for their essay, “My Grandmother Yoko McClain.” . This year's essay prompt was on “unraveling the experience of immigrants.” Students were asked to describe the push and pull reasons of leaving one’s home country, and how society's perceptions of immigrants affects their experience.

Julia Harvey

By Natasha Dracobly

A GoFundMe has been established to support beloved South science teacher Julia Harvey, who was diagnosed on June 3 with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia after a sudden medical incident during class at South. Harvey will be undergoing chemotherapy for the next three weeks at OHSU.

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia develops in immature lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. Fellow South teacher Danielle Tubman and friend Karen Luks have organized the GoFundMe site to help pay for the cost of treatment and time off from teaching. The site includes information on how students can send notes of encouragement, though flowers and plants are not permitted at this time. Harvey is physically and mentally strong, and her outlook remains steady and hopeful.



The traditional balloting system has stood the test of time, but is there a better option out there?

Story and graphics by Will Borrevik

Whether it’s filling in a singular bubble, punching out a chad (the scraps created when hole-punching a paper), or checking individual boxes, most Americans vote in the same way: When they go to the polls to vote in local, state, and national elections, they are simply prompted to vote for one candidate for each open position. The traditional ballot style has been a mainstay in American elections, from the controversial election of 1876, to the “butterfly ballots” in 2000, to the contentious 2020 election.

However, as the nation has evolved and grown, and more people have become disenchanted with the two-party system, many groups have started to promote an alternative method of casting ballots: ranked choice voting. Ranked choice voting is a relatively new balloting system that is designed to empower voters and give them more choice. Ranked choice voting has already been implemented in a number of states and municipalities. In fact, during the 2020 election, the state of Maine became the first state to utilize this new balloting system for all of their statewide elections. Alaska also plans to implement ranked choice voting statewide in 2022. Notably, ranked choice voting will be used June 22 during the New York City mayoral primaries. This balloting system continues to grow in prominence every year, but the vast majority of voters doesn’t know yet how it actually works.

While voters select just one candidate in the traditional balloting system, ranked choice voting prompts people to rank candidates in order of preference. In the New York City Democratic mayoral primary, which has been a highly contentious race so far, there are 13 candidates vying for the nomination. When the city goes to the polls later this month, each voter is directed to rank their five most preferred candidates.

After all of the ranked votes have been cast, the results are tabulated over a series of rounds that includes the elimination of the lowest-placing candidate in each round. The votes of those who supported the last-place candidate are transferred to the next-highest person ranked on their list for the next round. Normally, these rounds continue indefinitely until a candidate gets more than 50 percent of the votes, but New York City’s rule is set up so that candidates will be eliminated until only two remain. After that, the candidate with the most votes wins the race.

While this system is generally how ranked choice voting works, there are many variations in the different places where the protocol has been adopted. In Oregon, a form of ranked choice voting called “Score then Automatic Runoff” (STAR) voting was devised, where voters rate each candidate on a scale from 0 to 5 to determine the two top competitors. Lane County voters rejected a ballot measure in 2018 that would have adopted the STAR voting system for all races.

The New York Democratic Primary will give ranked choice voting its most prominent exposure yet. The race – featuring national figures like Andrew Yang, Ray McGuire and Shaun Donovan, along with notable New Yorkers such as Eric Adams, Maya Wiley, and Kathryn Garcia – is a muddled one. It remains to be seen whether ranked choice voting can clarify the will of the voters.

As of now, the future of this voting protocol nationwide is uncertain. Proponents of ranked choice voting would like to see it implemented at the national level, rather than in just a few states, counties, and cities. Those supporters argue that ranked choice voting would allow voters to vote based on personal preference rather than voting based solely on a candidate's likelihood of winning, and that it would open the door for additional political parties to become more viable. The nature of ranked choice voting generally allows for a larger and more diverse ballot, which could provide many benefits in the future.

Meanwhile, opponents of ranked choice voting argue that it’s too confusing for the American public and that a transition to this system would be arduous and, ultimately, not worthwhile. They predict that most elections would end the same as they do now, and that there wouldn’t be a significant shift in American voting behaviors. No matter what, the recent emergence of ranked choice voting has caused governments and people nationwide to deeply ponder their voting systems, and it’s clear that this method of voting will remain relevant for the foreseeable future.

To learn more about the ranked choice voting process and to explore a variety of scenarios that use ranked choice voting, check out The Voting Methods Project below.

Round 1: Here is a model of an election run using ranked choice voting. After the first round, Candidate #2 is in the lead with eight votes, but can’t claim a majority of the 20 votes at stake. Candidate #3 is eliminated after receiving just two votes. Those votes will be reassigned in round two to their candidate that their voter ranked second.

Round 2: In the second round, Candidate #1 and Candidate #4 both gain one vote from the initial Candidate #3 voters. No candidate has enough votes to claim a majority, which means that the process continues and that Candidate #1 is eliminated.

Round 3: Once all of the votes for Candidate #1 have been reassigned (to the second and third choices of their voters), the election has reached its final round and a candidate can claim a majority. Candidate #4 wins with 11/20 votes, holding six initially, gaining one vote in the second round, and adding four votes in the third round.

On the hunt

Thrifting: a sustainable and inexpensive way to build your closet

Story by Helen Evans

Within the halls of South Eugene High School, each student has their own personal style. Whenever I am rushing to my next class, I can spot a variety of different outfits ranging from a classic, simple look, complete with a pair of Levi jeans, a comfortable college sweatshirt and a sleek pair of sneakers, to a carefully crafted outfit consisting of fun patterns, flowing fabric and matched with intricate makeup. However, fashion is not cheap; in order to achieve your dream closet you have to be able to sacrifice your bank account by buying the trendiest pieces from fast fashion department stores. Thankfully, Gen-Z has found a cheaper and more environmentally friendly alternative: Thrifting.

“Thrifting is buying secondhand clothes,” South sophomore Aliyah Tenney described. “Besides it being very sustainable for the earth, thrifting is a really fun thing to do, especially with friends. It helps expand my wardrobe without having to spend too much money.”

Thrift stores are the hidden gems for the fashion community. Lululemon, Urban Outfitters, and other designer pieces that usually retail for hundreds of dollars are left by their original owners. It’s up to the shopper to find the hidden goodies within the dozens of racks of secondhand clothes.

“I’ve found a pair of purple Bongo jeans, a pair of dark wash jeans and I’ve also found a ton of Lululemon that I’ve hemmed to fit better,” South sophomore Elizabeth Hamilton said. Hamilton is well known for her thrifted closet, well-stocked because of her magical ability to hem clothes and rework thrifted pieces.

South sophomore Elizabeth Hamilton considering a light purple pullover. There are many good thrift stores around Eugene. Photo by Elizabeth Hamilton.

South sophomore Aliyah Tenney models an oversized puffy jacket. Thrifting is the best way to buy seasonal items that you will only wear for a few months. Photo by Aliyah Tenney.

A successful thrifting trip is not as easy as it sounds. If you have ever been to a thrift store, you know how overwhelming the narrow aisles and over-packed racks of clothes can be. Oftentimes you end up walking out of the store empty-handed or weighed down with pieces that you will never wear.

When asked about any expert tips to help navigate the overwhelming atmosphere, Tenney was quick to respond.

“You’ve got to walk in with a plan,” Tenney said. “Know what you want and try to stay away from things that you already have at home. Do I need three pairs of the same color track pants? Unfortunately, I do not.”

Furthermore, Tenney says that you should keep an open mind and expand your options when looking for clothes.

“Check the younger sections, as well as the men’s section,” she said. “I have found some super cute tops in the girls’ section that were just misplaced.”

Tenney also adds that it is important to scan the racks of clothes left behind by previous shoppers at the fitting rooms, because they are generally more selected and fashionable. She describes it as “hitting the jackpot.”

Although thrifting seems to be the obvious path to follow if you want to find cute clothes on a tight budget, many people hold back due to concerns of sanitation and the overall idea of secondhand clothing. Many consumers assume that thrift stores and thrifting as somehow less dignified than buying “fast fashion” clothes from big corporations that utilize sweatshops.

“A lot of people say thrifting is bad because it takes away from people who need cheap clothes, but we have a surplus of clothing, and so, so, so many clothes get thrown away and put into landfills,” Hamilton said. “Thrifting helps to fix this problem.”

In regards to sanitation concerns, many consumers overlook the chemicals and conditions that fast fashion clothes are put through. Though they may smell clean, the fabric is coated in chemicals that don't wash away in a simple machine cycle. On the other hand, thrifted clothes have no chemicals and are easily cleaned with one wash.

Thrifting is a fun recreational activity to do with friends while still managing to be semi-sustainable and cost effective.

There are also countless opinions in the thrifting community over which thrift stores are the best to shop at. While thrifting is mostly more ethical than shopping fast fashion, there are thrift stores whose workplace practices and employee treatment may not be perfect; though those stores may have more fashionable options, smaller shops may have a better workplace environment but a much smaller selection of clothes.

“I like the Goodwill off of West 11th. The people are really nice and they always compliment me when I come out to show my friends what I'm trying on. I don’t really like St. Vinnie’s, because I think it’s overpriced, and they don't let you try on clothes, [so] I don't know if something fits me or not.” Says Tenney.

Last but not least, Tenney closed out her interview with the biggest thrifting tip she had to offer.

“Go with a friend who is either a different size or has a different style than you,” Tenney adds. “This way, instead of competing over every piece of clothing, you can find each other's things. It keeps it light hearted.”

Appreciation: Gratitude and Father's Day

How to show love this upcoming Father's day

Story and Illustration by Bettina Wu

Every year, people all around the world celebrate various official and unofficial holidays to express gratitude and appreciation for friends and family. Although such holidays may be met with eye-rolling or cynicism, these kinds of holidays serve a very important purpose. They create opportunities for people to express their inner feelings of goodwill toward others in a more acceptable setting. Even so, it can be hard to figure out how to communicate these feelings without upsetting the tender balance between too much and too little, causing many to feel a sharp sense of dread as holidays start to approach. Since Father’s Day is approaching on June 20, this would be a great time to start figuring out how to convey feelings of appreciation for father figures!

Write letters

One of the most common ways to express gratitude is through writing. Writing is a comfortable method of manifesting feelings of appreciation into tangible artifacts. Letters and cards also serve as great keepsakes for the receiver, who will be able to look back at them fondly for years to come.

Simply Saying, “Thanks!”

The most upfront way to show gratitude would be to say it outright! Stop your important person on their way out the door to tell them that they’re wonderful or thank them in the halls for being so supportive. Simple, positive, sincere words can really go a long way.

Send gifts

Gifts are an effective, traditional way to acknowledge important people. Gifts can come in various forms, such as handmade crafts, baked goods, potted plants, and other fun things that are chosen earnestly.

Spend time with them

Actions often speak louder than words, and doing an activity together can be one of the most powerful forms of expressing appreciation. This can also foster a sense of mutual appreciation, which can lead to stronger relationships.

Practicing gratitude is a vital part of living a fulfilling life. Although it shouldn’t be saved only for holidays, it is great to use holidays as an opportunity to express that gratitude.


hayward and the Olympics

Trials competitors are itching to compete at the brand new Hayward field

Story and Photos by Henry Nieckarz & Mira Ciccarello

Hayward field in all of it's glory.

The atmosphere in Eugene is buzzing with activity and excitement as preparations are finalized for the 2021 Track and Field Olympic Trials. Over the course of 60 years, the Trials have been held in Eugene six times, and locals view the event with great anticipation.

This year’s Trials will be especially exciting, as they will be located at the renovated Hayward Field. The new stadium’s massive overhaul includes a new wraparound design, a large conference building designed to resemble the olympic torch, and various training areas underneath the stadium’s seating for every track and field discipline. Additionally, this vast new stadium has several thousand more seats than the previous one, allowing for much higher spectator capacity. However, with COVID-19 still a concern, the exact arrangement of spectators is still undecided.

Athletes competing in the Trials have had to train in varying degrees of lockdown this past year. Many have had to adapt their schedules and workouts, often on the fly, resulting in sometimes inconsistent training plans and extra stress.

“We usually train at the University of Oregon,” Trials competitor UO track athlete Sabrina Southerland said. “But obviously since COVID, the university isn’t allowing outsiders, so we had to kind of work out of our garage for training.”

Competitors like Southerland have had to jump through many COVID-related hoops just to maintain their desired level of intensity in the past year.

“It has been hard because you have to wear your mask on the trails and all, but it’s kind of hard for us to do our workouts with our masks on,” Southerland explained.

Despite the chaos that COVID has forced upon Southerland and her fellow track athletes, it seems there is hope for these athletes to be able to breathe freely. With the number of vaccinated individuals growing steadily in Eugene, the demand to wear a mask while working out is slowly decreasing. Many athletes hope to be able to return to their normal workout routines – and in Southerland’s case, finally get to train on Hayward Field’s new track.

“We have yet to see the new track, which is crazy because we live literally up the block from it,” Southerland said. “It’ll be a new experience.”

The Trials are scheduled to begin on June 18, and will continue until June 27. The first event, the men’s shot put, is scheduled to begin at noon on opening day.

QUotes from COVID

What do students want to maintain from this pandemic?

Quotes and Illustration courtesy of Natasha Dracobly

Although this school year was challenging and unique, there were many positive attributes: flexibility with school work, less rigid deadlines, and an overall sense of understanding and empathy. With this in mind, the Axe Magazine asked students what they would like to see remain as we head back to school in the fall.

“I think something that has worked this year is the amount of flexibility around school, and I think this flexibility would be nice for future school years.”

– Shane Liddy, freshman

“I was a big fan of the leniency around late work and the added extra credit opportunities this year.”

– Brooklyn Wehr, junior

“The online assignments were better. Of course, paper assignments sometimes are needed, but it made it a lot easier to track what I had to do when it was online. And I like computers.”

– Leo Chan, sophomore

“I liked the flexibility of being able to work and learn independently.”

– Juliette Aragon, sophomore

“I liked how teachers were more upfront about what you needed to do to succeed in their class.”

– Margaret Grace, sophomore


Students and staff prepare for the graduation ceremony. Photos by Natasha Dracobly.

Photo by Oliver Elliott, South '21 and Justice Gaines, Churchill '21


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