the axe magazine online, issue 2 – OCT/Nov 2020


County Health Updates • The Artwork of Laci Jordan •

Upcoming Ballot Measures • COVID-Safe Halloween activities


Feature Story: Small Business Builds Big Community,

by Mira Ciccarello, junior




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:



Still frame of Alexandria Ocasio Cortez playing "Among Us" on Twitch


On Tuesday night, Oct. 20, Democratic representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar live-streamed the popular multiplayer mystery game Among Us on Twitch to encourage supporters to vote. At its peak, the stream had more than 400,000 concurrent viewers, making it the third-most-popular stream ever on Amazon-owned Twitch. Throughout the event, the two representatives urged viewers to go vote, sharing their own voting plans and tips for going to the polls. –By Soju Hokari

An illustration by Laci Jordan in which three people of color look to the sky surrounded by colorful blobs

art amplifies life

The work of Laci Jordan, a Huntsville, Ala., visual artist and creative director, has blown up on multiple social media platforms. It’s sheer beauty, as well as its powerful commentary about the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has resonated with many and led to being featured in The New York Times. Jordan channels emotions into artwork to spread awareness about the BLM movement and other political movements, such as women's rights and voting. Jordan is part of a campaign to improve voter turnout in 2020. As a young black woman, Jordan uses art to show people her experiences, and she believes everyone has a story to tell. –By Mira Ciccarello; Artwork: Laci Jordan

An illustration of Amy Coney Barrett by Rose Gray


Amy Coney Barret, a 1997 graduate from Notre Dame Law School and a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, was confirmed to the Supreme Court this week on Monday after being nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the seat left by the passing of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. There has been significant backlash from Democrats about the timing and rushed nature of Judge Coney Barrett’s nomination and confirmation. Some are concerned that her personal views may impact future court rulings, resulting in serious changes and impacts on the lives of the American people. –By Sophia Telaroli; Illustration by Rose Gray

An illustration of Monica Roberts by Soju Hokari


Renowned Black transgender journalist and activist Monica Roberts passed away earlier this month at 58 at her home in Houston, Tex. Roberts’ death was mourned by many in the Black trans community, including journalist Imara Jones, who called her an “essential North Star,” and by writer Raquel Willis, who wrote that she was, “A powerful force for Black trans journalism.” For the past 15 years, Roberts had run the TransGriot blog, which covered the transgender community in ways that mainstream media did not, looking at the lives and investigating the murders of trans people across the U.S. –Article & Illustration by Soju Hokari

The REV logo: a planned parenthood logo with "REV" written to the right, surrounded by the pink outline of Oregon


REV, as in “revolution,” is an Oregon-based leadership program for teens who are passionate about sexual and reproductive health issues and education. Members, selected from a pool of candidates in the fall, and who include several South students this year, are trained to educate their communities while earning community service hours. REV creates an environment designed for completely unbiased education, where all perspectives are valid. Coordinator Ruby Bebekian hosts Zoom meetings every Thursday. For more information, watch for online event links via REV’s socials: @ppsorevoliton on all platforms. –By Sarah Dione

it's halloween!

By Sarah Dione

Public health update

By Natasha Drocobly


Remember to turn back your clocks on Sunday!

Magic Mushrooms & More: Oregon Ballot Measures

Article & Illustration by Soju Hokari

On Election Day, Nov. 3, Oregonians will vote yes or no on four ballot measures, with topics ranging from drug treatments to campaign finance. Here is an overview:

Measure 107 will allow the Oregon legislature or local governments to limit campaign contributions, require disclosure of campaign contributions and require political ads to disclose who paid for them.

Measure 108 will more than double taxes on cigarettes, establish new taxes for e-cigarettes, and funnel money toward health programs for low-income families and nicotine addiction.

Measure 109 will legalize therapeutic uses of psilocybin, commonly known as “magic mushrooms.” If passed, measure 109 would make Oregon the first state to partially legalize the drug.

Measure 110 will dedicate money to addiction and recovery programs and downgrade the possession of most drugs from a misdemeanor or felony to a Class E violation, subject to either a $100 fine or a health assessment. Proponents argue that this change will reduce racial profiling in Oregon policing.

An illustration of a mail-in ballot for Lane County, Oregon

school at home: How does it work?

maximum enrollment

The parent perspective on five kids, all learning from home on CDL.

By Sophia Telaroli

A student watches their computer at a desk at home.

South sophomore Calvin Higgins in distance learning.

Photo by Laurie Higgins

As the school year continues on, so does distance leaning. Some families and students might be finding it easier, while others are still finding it frustrating and stressful. We have all been locked in since mid-March due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, and now we find ourselves having to make time and room at home for school.

Laurie Higgins is a mother of five, all doing distance learning. She has two children in high school, one in middle school, and two in elementary school. Everyday life has changed dramatically.

“Since school started, I quit my part-time job to stay home and help the kids stay on task with their online learning,” Higgins said. “With five kids all learning from home, things can get a bit chaotic. Over the summer and past school years, everyone would get up at different times, but now we are mostly on the same schedule, which is not great when there are grumpy morning people in a small house.”

For parents with younger kids in elementary school, they may find themselves helping their kids most of the school day to stay on task and remain focused. At the same time, some of these younger students may not have access to a parent during school hours because of their work schedules. Even though it is overwhelming, Higgins is able to help her younger children with school because she is home and accessible during school hours.

“I am basically going to online school with my third-grader. He absolutely hates Zoom learning and has a really difficult time staying on task,” Higgins commented. “So I have learned it is best if I pull up a seat next to him or at least check in frequently. I spend close to four hours a day online with him alone. The rest of my kids are fairly self-sufficient and have occasional questions, but do not require too much hands-on time from me.”

Parents of students are doing the best they can to help their children navigate what they need to do for school. But there are also stressors built in to simply having all family members in the same physical space at the same time. Families have been stuck together, mostly inside, for about seven months now, and that – in and of itself – can result in tension. .

“The hardest part about having the kids home for school is that they are always home,” Higgins said. “We are all stuck at home; they are trying to do school; and I can not do much around the house because they are spread out everywhere. We are all constantly on edge trying to be quiet and out of the way.”

In the end, no matter how much grownups nudge and nag kids to engage in online learning, it really comes down to the individual student’s motivation, sense of well-being and value they find in the material.

“I think my younger kids [elementary and middle school] are getting the most they can out of the school year under these circumstances,” Higgins said. “My middle schooler is taking advantage of teachers office hours and doing the best she can to learn. My older kids, both in high school, I fear are only doing the bare minimum to get by. It seems like they are not very attentive in their classes and have to be regularly encouraged to pay attention. However, that may not be too much different from if they were in live school, the only difference being now that I am now ‘going’ to school with them.”

This school year may be filled with challenges, but it is still possible to make the best of the situation. Spend extra time with siblings or parents that you would not have if you were rushing from school to extracurriculars to socializing away from home. Eventually everything will go back to normal, but the memories of COVID-19 and the pandemic and quarantine will last a lifetime.

feature story

Small Business builds big community

Eugene's Broadway Metro pivots within quarantine to redefine 'movie night.'

By Mira Ciccarello, junior

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, small businesses all over the country have been struggling to stay afloat. However, for some businesses that has been harder than for others. For a movie theater like The Broadway Metro, the shutdown of all nonessential businesses this spring could have been the beginning of the end.

“The pandemic has essentially shut us down completely,” Edward Schiessl, owner of the Broadway Metro movie theater said. “When Stage One [of lockdown] was at a standstill, it was really hard for little businesses like ours, because we still have a lot of fixed costs like rent, leases and loans.”

Shortly before the discovery of COVID-19, the Broadway Metro underwent the construction of three new auditoriums to expand their business. The construction project finished in July of 2019, giving them less than nine months to use the brand new auditoriums before the shutdown.

“We borrowed close to $1.8 million dollars to do this project, and now we are trying to service all the debt with almost no income. That's part of what's driving us to be so creative with our ideas for offering the movie theater experience without the movie theater.”

Since the beginning of the shutdown the Broadway Metro has created many ways to keep customers returning to the beloved local establishment. They started offering a way to stream movies from the Broadway Metro site and to provide concessions.

“At the beginning of COVID, we got a license so that we could deliver beer and wine to people's homes, as well as popcorn and movie theater concessions, so that people could have the movie theater experience while bingeing Netflix.”

Customers of The Metro were ecstatic about the new option to get concessions and taste that classic movie theater popcorn some have been missing.

“When I heard that they were delivering popcornmovie theater popcorn I was ecstatic,” loyal Metro customer and movie enthusiast Suzi Steffen said.

Shortly after, the Metro also started renting and delivering DVDs to go along with the concessions.

“I was so excited by the Metro's plan,” Steffen said, “that I bought a full-year subscription as soon as it was available and started transferring my Netflix DVD queue over to the Metro.”

'That's...What's driving us to be so creative with our ideas for offering the movie theater experience without the movie theater.'

Broadway Metro owner Edward Schiessl on the pre-COVID theater renovation

that should have meant an increase in options and access for its customers.

Once Eugene reopened, the Broadway Metro started offering unique ways people could see movies, new or old, on the big screen again. Customers can now reserve a theater for a viewing session.

“You can reserve your theater online,” Schiessl explained. “We are offering a dozen or so shows a day and the sessions are staggered to minimize contact with other people. We can track down almost any movie of your choice to play, and newer movies we can even get licenses for. And the price of rental includes concessions.”.

“I rented out a theater with my family to see the new movie, ‘The Way I See it,’ Metro customer Nicole Moss said, “and it was lovely and safe. Other than the staff at the front desk, I didn't see anyone else. It was like being at home.”

It's like being at home, which these days means feeling safe and secure. Yet, it is a precious chance to be out. So many small, local businesses are doing all they can to balance these elements – keeping everyone safe; keeping everyone happy; and keeping themselves afloat in the process. It serves and sustains our community to do all we can to support them

Staff News

new faces, new roles

It's hard to imagine being a new teacher at South, or taking on a new role in the building, during this strange and surreal year. Yet, we are lucky enough to welcome new staff to South for 2021. Here are a few of the new faces you may see in the virtual classroom this year. –By James McKeon


the off season

South athletes reflect on the challenges of a cancelled season, but also find new meaning in their chosen sports.

Story & Illustration By Soju Hokari

An illustration of three people running or jogging with masks on. There are arrows between the people to show that they are six feet apart.

I haven’t played a game of Ultimate frisbee since March. That’s a fact. One time way back in July, three of my friends and I tried to play with masks and a mandatory six-foot buffer, but as you can imagine, it didn’t work out very well.

Over the past few months however, sports have been making a slow comeback. Utilizing COVID-19 protocols and with extensive mask-wearing, South sports are in various stages of recovery.

Some are further along than others. Take cross country (XC), for example, a sport where individual athletes run long distances. South senior and XC captain Paige Hazen has been out running from the very start of the pandemic.

“You can just do it anywhere you are and whenever you want,” Hazen said. “That’s definitely been really helpful, especially in this pandemic, to keep my mental health in check.”

Team practices, however, are still a no-go: 4J district rules state that teams will not be allowed to practice until in-person classes are resumed.

“The district is definitely pretty strict, and won’t let us do any type of group runs for the time being,” Hazen said.

Hazen added that there is some online communication between the athletes and the coaches, including various suggestions for one-person workouts, which can be completed at the athlete’s discretion.

“There’s a lot of freedom within the team with what ways you want to get engaged with training,” Hazen said.

South senior Lea Fremouw runs only in small groups.

“I just run with two other people – I don’t run with anyone else – and we always have our masks,” Fremouw said. “We don’t wear them while we’re running together, but every time we pass someone, we put them up.”

But while XC workouts can happen online or in small groups, races are currently impossible because they require large numbers of runners to funnel into small spaces.

“Running races and road races in general end up going into a pretty narrow trail, and so when you’re trying to pass people or if you’re all running in a group it would definitely be pretty unsafe,” Hazen said.

However, Hazen says that there is a silver lining: With races a thing of the past, running has become less stressful and more enjoyable.

“Being able to run with not much pressure and very much more running for myself and my own well-being, I think I definitely found a new meaning in running,” Hazen said.

But not all sports create individual meaning; in fact, the vast majority require more than one person to play. And while 4J has taken a strict stance on school sports, many club sports are still taking place.

For the past few weeks, the players of the South women’s soccer team have been playing on a player-led Kidsports team. With practices on hold, South junior Caroline Foskett says, players still wanted to be able to grow as athletes.

“We’re trying to just do a local season with kidsports to get the training we need but at the same time also limit the risk,” Foskett said.

While it has been a struggle to get newer players up to speed without the help of coaches, Foskett is happy with the way things are going given the circumstances.

“We’re trying to make the best of it and be very welcoming and inclusive with everything and trying to make sure [newer players] feel like a part of the team,” Foskett said.

And while she is hopeful that a soccer season might happen in the spring, Foskett says that it doesn’t look very likely.

“I’m pretty close with a lot of seniors on the team and just seeing that they don’t have the same opportunity that you’re supposed to have as a senior … is really sad to me,” Foskett said.”They’ve worked so hard for this for three or so years.”

And Foskett says this year was going to be a big year. “[If state playoffs happen] I think that we do have a good shot at getting to the finals and winning it maybe if we work really hard,” Foskett said.

Regardless of what happens, Foskett is proud that the sport of soccer has been coming together to get through the pandemic.

“We’re all trying to work really hard together and be there for each other in every way that we can,” Foskett said. “The positivity around soccer this year for club and highschool has been really good.”

But while soccer has been off playing games and XC has been completely separate, my sport of Ultimate frisbee has been trying to strike a happy medium. With no previous club infrastructure in place, creating a safe environment for play has been a bit of a struggle. These days, I coach and play in non-SEHS practices with strict rules around keeping a six-foot distance and wearing masks at all times. For the most part, it has worked out; however, we are not able to scrimmage, which has sometimes made practices feel meaningless.

In fact, that meaninglessness feels even colder when considering that last spring was supposed to be our chance at going to high school Nationals. When the pandemic struck Eugene in March, our team was heartbroken. Now, seven months into the pandemic, we are happy just to have the chance to throw a Frisbee between two people.

With the spring season looming, athletes are understandably anxious to see what happens to their respective sports. There is definitely a tradeoff between preventing disease and keeping in shape or having fun. But while the lack of sports is unfortunate, by limiting contact we could be saving lives, and at this point, that is all that matters.

A photo of two high schoolers running down a dry, dusty path through a lush green forest.

Paige Hazen running with senior Ayva Reed pre-pandemic.

Photo from the collection of Paige Hazen.

Sports Analysis: cRACKS IN THE ARMOR

Pandemic reveals the inner mechanisms of collegiate football, and it ain't pretty.

By Ivan Freck

College football is an institution of culture across much of the country. In places where the local teams are the only show in town, Saturdays are held as sacred days of community gathering. Here in Eugene, everyone seems to be wearing some combo of green and yellow or orange and black every Saturday game day.

However, much like everything else in our world, things are different this year. COVID-19 has altered the schedule of sports since March, and college football is not immune to the changes. In the first months of summer, it seemed as though games would be outright canceled across the board; however, almost every major conference has turned around and put together a plan to play some form of football in the autumn. The Pac-12 and Big 10 both started off the summer by postponing their fall football seasons indefinitely, but they are now scheduled to begin play soon.

It’s curious that the major conferences switched gears and pushed forward with playing, considering how many unknowable variables remain murky. For example, limiting exposure to COVID-19 has been predictably unsuccessful. Keeping a three-digit number of players, coaches, trainers, and other staff out of harm’s way is a big ask, and many teams have not been squeaky clean. There have been 34 games canceled or postponed due to outbreaks among one of the participating teams; this has impacted about four games a week since the season began. That’s a lot of people who have been put in potential danger by a virus that hasn’t even had time to fully show what potential long term effects could look like. The CDC has already speculated that survivors of COVID-19 may face complications with damage to organs like the heart. If we zoom out past the scope of a football team, that’s also going to impact the spread of the virus to people who may not have the same access to medical care that a team has, as many members of communities in these places do not have. That’s an awful lot of downside to pushing through this season.

So why are they playing? Some of it is that the players want to play in spite of the obvious risks involved. It’s very understandable that people are hesitant to give up doing something they love. But past this more innocent reason is one that is emblematic of the conflict that the collegiate athletics business exists in: If there is no football season, college athletic departments stand to see a majority of their revenue vanish. The teams in the biggest five conferences known as the Power Five would lose out on an average of $78 million from lost TV deals, ticket sales, and donations from boosters.

Everything in college athletics is predicated

on the big money football brings...

Everything in college athletics is predicated on the big money football brings, especially the other sports that don’t create revenue to sustain themselves. However, that doesn’t mean the athletic departments are turning huge profits every year. Most big universities are barely in the black, despite the wads of cash that the football business would seemingly pay for. In truth, the money goes back into football. The money goes to the lavish facilities that might attract high school recruits to bring more success and attention to create more money. When something like a pandemic disrupts the cycle of spending, other sports feel the brunt of the loss. Fifty-one Division I athletic programs were cut this year, taking away the opportunities and experiences that come from being on sports teams from hundreds of student-athletes.

Everyone loses in this current setup. Football players and their communities alike are being exposed to a destructive virus, and other sports are potentially being killed off or drastically reduced in expenses to save money. When I look at a situation that is going to end badly no matter what happens, I begin to question the system that contributed to the mess in the first place. I love college football. It’s incredibly inspiring that entire regions can unify around a shared love of a team of young adults playing a game with an oblong ball that never bounces in the same way twice. It can bring the very best out of a community.

But this season shows why it has been bringing out the very worst, as well. The whole system is built on maximizing the potential cash flow out of kids, many of whom come from backgrounds that lack opportunities to get out of, and give them none of it. It’s a system built on the exploitation of labor that holds everyone hostage to keep running. Something drastic needs to change because the system works too well.

stats: mlb

Baseball Droughts Drying Up

With the MLB expanding its postseason to 16 teams from the usual 10 because of a COVID-shortened regular season, several teams snapped lengthy postseason droughts. The Marlins, Padres, and White Sox all appeared in the postseason for the first time in more than a decade, with cores of young players finally paying off for the perennial cellar dwellers. In addition, the L.A. Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays are looking to reverse multiple decades of championship futility as they play in this year’s World Series. –By Ivan Freck

visually speaking

it's all about the zzzzzz's

By James McKeon



Parents and students host Resilience BBQ for South staff after midterm grading day.

Four high school students help distribute food as people grill in the background.

South parent and barbecue pit-master Jerry Rosiek and crew coordinated with Assistant Principal Joel Lavin to serve up a South staff appreciation Resilience BBQ last Friday night after midterm grading. The delicious takeout plates included barbecue sliders, cole slaw, and brownies for dessert. Thank you Jerry, parents, students and Joel!


behind the masks, we're still us

A student dressed up for halloween
A teacher wearing a mask
An image of two teachers dressed as Spider-people

Clockwise from left: 1. Mme. Rush's trés chic Paris-themed mask proves they're not just for Halloween anymore. 2. Halloween 2018, then-sophomore Miranda Newman captivates as pilot Amelia Earhart. 3. Halloween 2018, the Tubmans go arachnid as judges for South's annual Halloween costume contest.

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