the results are in

the axe magazine online, issue 3

Nov. 18, 2020


South Eugene Theater's Radio Noir • COVID-19 Freeze • Cancel Culture


Feature Story:

election night is just the beginning

By Ivan Freck, senior

The Capitol Building, Washington, D.C. by Zach Josephson for


Nov. 18 - Student Government Elections


The 411

Follow us on Instagram @theaxemag

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:

Around South

South Eugene Radio

South Eugene Theater is known for their beautiful and lively student-run productions that many students and families look forward to seeing every year.

Unfortunately, this year it is not possible to put on a production. Instead, South Eugene Theater has created an awesome alternative: radio shows.

Two radio shows, “Sorry, Wrong Number!” and “39 Steps,” premiered Friday Nov. 13. These two stories are rich with action, mystery, and thrill.

Performances can be downloaded here. Be sure to check them out! –By Elita Kutateli

Elections and Food Drives

Student government is currently working on a food drive. They are collecting non-perishable goods, as well as any other supplies that may be helpful for families to have: Face masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, and more.

November is not only the month of SEHS’s annual food drive, it is also when student government elections occur. This year, advisory teachers will be sharing a Google form where students can vote for their class representatives. Elections are happening this week and winners will be announced shortly after.

For more information about the food drive, elections, and any other student government related news, be sure to check school emails, newsletters, the axe report, and of course, the student government instagram account @sehsstugov. – By Elita Kutateli

Get more details at

Positive COVID-19 tests in Oregon. Source: The New York Times

Statewide Freeze: What You Need to Know

As of today, Nov. 18, the state of Oregon is in a two-week pause of most in-person activities.

In a press conference last Friday, Governor Kate Brown announced a new two-week “Freeze” in response to rapidly rising coronavirus cases and increasingly limited hospital capacity.

Addressing reporters, Brown warned that the “dreaded winter wave” was finally here.

“Today, we top a thousand cases,” Brown said. “The majority of these cases stem from sporadic community spread, which means the virus is out there.”

According to Brown, hospitals across the state are alarmed at the rate of infections. Many have begun reducing the number of elective surgeries in order to preserve space and staff for the anticipated onslaught of coronavirus patients. Brown added that the two-week “freeze” was necessary to keep Oregon’s medical system running at sufficient capacity.

“The next time you need medical care, the last thing you want to hear is that the ambulance has nowhere to go,” Brown said, referring to the possibility that there would be no room at a hospital for someone who might need transport.

Brown urged Oregonians to adhere to the new coronavirus measures.

“If we want to give Oregeonians a fighting chance, we must take further measures to flatten the curve now,” Brown said.

– By Soju Hokari

Election 2020

Biden Wins

A close race between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden, the 2020 Presidential election stretched on for days until the race was called for Biden on Saturday morning, Nov. 7. President Trump has yet to concede, and his administration continues to threaten legal action related to election fraud. Between COVID-19 and the ongoing social issues related to Black Lives Matter protests, many felt that the outcome of the election was more important than ever before – a feeling reflected by the election’s voter turnout, which was the highest in more than a hundred years. –By Natasha Dracobly

Treatment not time

Oregon Measure 110, decriminalizing possession of small amounts of drugs and replacing fines and jail time with increased treatment access, passed in Oregon last week. Currently, possession of the drugs listed in the measure proved a Class A misdemeanor, punishable with up to a year in prison and/or a fine of up to $6,250. The measure also calls for expanded access to addiction treatment, funded by existing marijuana taxes. –By Natasha Dracobly

Long Journey to Statehood

On Nov. 3, about 52 percent of Puerto Rico’s citizens voted in favor of becoming a U.S. state in a non-binding referendum. This was the sixth time the unincorporated U.S. territory has voted on the issue. The last two times the question came up – in 2012 and 2017 – the majority were in favor of statehood. But only the U.S. Congress can vote to grant statehood, and Congress may not be easily swayed. One argument is that it may not be worth it financially to grant statehood and federal funds to Puerto Rico, given the potential taxes that could be collected from Puerto Rican citizens. –By James McKeon

Asian American Youth Vote Biden

According to a new analysis of exit polls done by Tufts CIRCLE, 83 percent of Asians aged 18-29 voted for Biden, while 14 percent voted for Trump. Only 63 percent of the total Asian electorate went for Biden, demonstrating the existence of a gap between older and younger Asian Americans.

“Our [younger] generation is beginning to articulate and pinpoint issues regarding social and environmental justice that previous generations have either felt ‘obligated’ to endure or did not know where to start in terms of inciting change,” SEHS Asian Student Union leader Miwako Fisher said.

According to Pew Research, Asian Americans are the fastest-growing electorate in the nation, having nearly doubled as a percentage of the total voting-age population over the past 20 years. – Story and illustration by Soju Hokari

Electoral College explained

The electoral college was invented in 1804 by the framers of the U.S. Constitution as an alternative to electing the president by popular vote or by Congress. Each state gets two votes for their two U.S. Senators and one additional vote for every member it has in the House of Representatives. This means that more populated states – like California, Texas and Florida – get more electoral votes than smaller states like Idaho or New Mexico. Many people believe that the electoral college is undemocratic because some votes count “more” than others. When a candidate is running for president, they spend most of their time in states with higher electoral votes. As each election comes and goes, the debate of disbanding the electoral college comes up. Many people believe that the popular vote, not the electoral college, should decide who wins an election. – By Sophia Telaroli


feature story

five storylines from election night

Election Night stretched from one night into several, but there are still narratives to examine about the future of the country’s political landscape. By Ivan Freck

Photo by element5 for

Another election has come and (mostly) gone and it stayed true to the theme of this year by being unpredictable. The path to the election results took a different route than many expected, but we have enough information now to see how we got here. Such as...

  1. More people voted than ever

Voter turnout was at an all-time high in terms of raw numbers. Over 150 million people voted in the presidential race, eclipsing the previous best of 137 million from 2016. Even more telling was the percentage of eligible voters who cast ballots, which has been estimated to be somewhere in the mid-to-high 60s. This is the highest turnout since 1900, shortly after Black men had been granted the right to vote, but faced rampant vote suppression, and still two decades before women would be able to vote. Although the very polarizing nature of President Trump’s term in office likely drove many people to vote, it will be interesting to see if those numbers turn out to be an anomaly in the future. Now that we can look back at the huge number of votes in the past, we can see that...

  1. Election night totals needed context to be meaningful

In the excitement and tension of the spectacle that Election Night is for many people, it was easy to leap to conclusions about early voting margins. However, the uniqueness of the pandemic led to a big uptick in mail-in ballots, particularly in cities that were likely to lean left. However, the rate that those types of ballots were counted was inconsistent from state to state. In states like Florida, those ballots were processed in advance, so the results that came in that night stuck, meaning that President Trump got a lead and held onto it. However, in the midwestern trifecta of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin that Biden flipped from 2016, mail-in ballots were not allowed to be processed in advance, creating an illusion of a big Trump lead on Election Night that slowly turned into small, and then comfortable, wins for Biden over the course of the week. Another example of vote counts not ending up how they first appeared was in Georgia. With a high percentage of the state’s votes counted, at a glance it seemed like Trump was going to keep control. However, the last batches of votes came from Atlanta and its suburbs, which were so favorable for Biden that he was able to take the state for the Democrats for the first time in nearly 30 years (pending an official recount). The anomalies across the board stretched what is typically an Election Night into an Election Good-Chunk-of-a-Week, with those states like the Midwestern trio and Georgia not finishing counting for several days. Speaking of Georgia...

  1. The Republicans were able to quell any major shifts in the South

The most optimistic of Democrats had been hoping prior to the election that the long-standing wall of red could be felled in the Deep South, setting their eyes on vulnerable swing states like Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and even an outside shot in Texas. Toppling the stronghold that unlocks all the paths to victory for Republicans in the (we’ll be polite and call it “inconsistent”) Electoral College could have damaged the party’s hold going forward. That… didn’t really happen. Although Biden picked up a win in Georgia, that success didn’t carry much further than that. There wasn’t that big of a dent in Trump’s margin of victory in 2016 in either Florida or Texas, and North Carolina ultimately fell back to Trump in a close race. The Republicans have another four years to prepare for the Democrats’ sisyphean efforts in the South, but they face an uphill battle, considering...

  1. The Democrats weren’t so lucky down-ballot

The small bits of momentum the party gained in the midterm elections in 2018 in the House of Representatives did not carry over to 2020, as they took a hit to their majority. There are still a handful of races that have yet to be called, but the Republicans seem poised to have a net gain in seats. Democrats have only been able to flip three seats, two in North Carolina after redistricting efforts in 2019 to balance gerrymandering made it through the courts for the election, and one in Georgia outside of Atlanta. Republicans have flipped at least 10 seats, which does not bode well for the Democrats’ chances in the 2022 midterms, when the party holding the presidency has lost ground in each of the last four midterms. It could get even worse for them, considering new congressional districts will be decided after the 2020 census. Republicans were able to hold onto veto-proof legislative control locally in key states like Georgia, Florida, Texas, and North Carolina. In addition, hopes of capturing crucial control of the Senate were dashed in the failure to turn seats in Maine, Iowa, North Carolina, and even dark horse spots like Montana or Kansas. The Biden administration may struggle to accomplish much without a firm hold over the Legislative Branch. Republicans currently hold 50 seats to 46 for the Democrats (plus 2 Independents who caucus with them), meaning....

  1. The Senate is in the hands of Georgia

Both of Georgia’s Senate seats are headed to runoffs this January, after both a special election and the regular election failed to have one of the candidates in the race reach 50% of the vote. There are too many variables about turnout, party loyalty, and the quality of the candidates to make any definitive statements about the state of either race, but one thing is clear: the Democrats need to win both to get to essentially a 50-50 tie in the Senate that would be able to be broken in votes by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Otherwise, the Republicans will retain control and likely be very resistant to the legislation being pushed by the Biden White House. Georgia is going to be at the center of the political world in the United States for the next month and a half.

Fewer things are less certain than what the state of politics will be in the future. What happens during the election is not going to carry over two months, two years, and four years from now when all of this rolls around again. However, seeing these narratives develop can help inform what that future will look like.

Arts & Features

Recipe: Shortbread

Shortbread cookies are a fun and easy recipe that can go along with any meal.

  • 1 ½ Cup sifted flour

  • ¾ Cup powdered sugar

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • ½ Lb Room temperature butter

Cream ingredients together by hand then place in a glass pie dish. Bake at 325 degrees for about 40 minutes. Cut while warm.

Optional: Let cookies cool and decorate with any design you want using a frosting of powdered sugar butter and milk or drizzle with melted chocolate. –By Mira Ciccarello


‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’

When We Used to Go Places

Neal Page, an ‘80s marketing man played by Steve Martin, has a cab stolen from him two days before Thanksgiving, in a last-minute attempt to get to the airport in New York City and home to his family in Chicago. He runs into the cab thief at the airport, and is assigned an unwanted coach seat right next to him. The thief turns out to be a very empathetic man named Del Grifith, played by the late John Candy, who sells shower curtain rings for a living. The plane has to emergency land in Wichita, and the two end up scrambling home to Chicago together. However, it’s a grueling process for the clashing personalities. Neal is a punctual man with a wife and kids who enjoys keeping to himself, and Del is a lonely widower who is an extreme blabbermouth possessing zero boundaries. Del’s neediness and Neal’s sliver of a soft side lock the two in a whatever-it-takes “buddy” road trip. This throwback 80’s film leaves barely a moment to catch your breath in between laughter. Planes, Trains and Automobiles is rated R, and can be streamed through Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Google Play and iTunes. – By Sarah Dione

What is

'Cancel Culture'?

“Cancel Culture” is a newly evolved term used when fan or public support, mainly via social media, is withdrawn from a public figure due to their actions. Oftentimes “cancellation” is the consequence for being insensitive or acting in a way that the public-at-large finds morally unjust. Cancellations are fueled by social media users, especially evident in the Twitter community. Cancellations are seen in petty, but very public social media drama; they are also commonly used as a political weapon. President Donald Trump has threatened to shut down social media sites for silencing conservative voices. However the line between a valid cancellation and a personal feud is thin. Trump, being very active on Twitter, has also attempted to cancel whole companies such as Macy’s, Harley Davidson and Apple, for doing him small disservices. Author JK Rowling also suffered the burn of cancellation flames in December, 2019, for publicly defending researcher Maya Forstater, who unsuccessfully defended her gender critical views in a trial before the U.K. Employment Tribunal. Rowling’s social media followers took this defense as anti-transgender and cancellation ensued. Currently the action known as cancel culture is being used to police the morals of people with extensive platforms and public exposure. – By Sarah Dione

school at home: whose house?

teacher's house

Teaching while parenting is no easy feat; but as a few South teachers are learning, it is worth it.

By Sophia Telaroli

Your colleagues when you work and teach from home. Photo by Standsome Worklifestyle for

District 4J teachers were introduced to the Canvas platform in late August, just a few weeks before classes began this fall. They found themselves learning a whole new way to teach students in a format they knew little about. Additionally, many teachers also have children of their own who may be in childcare or who are also doing CDL. South social studies teacher Zach Lazar is one teacher in this situation; Lazar has two small children at home.

“In addition to teaching from home, I also juggle childcare duties for my two daughters [ages 5 and 2],” Lazar said. “My daily routine has become simple: Survive the day.”

Lazar’s wife also works from home, and defining separate workspaces can be tricky.

“We bought a shed [that we] use as our 'office,'” Lazar explained. “This morning, it was 31 degrees in the office.”

South Journalism teacher and The Axe Magazine Online adviser Bobbie Willis can relate.

“I have a seventh-grader and a ninth-grader at home,” Willis said. “The main thing that has helped us is having three separate, though small and unconventional, work spaces where we can each be in communal areas yet still have a little bit of separation.”

Most of us remember showing up to class in a school building and doing our work in “school mode.” But now in distance learning, we are all sitting in front of computers for long stretches of the day at home. There may be siblings in the background fighting, parents home doing laundry or working from home themselves, and everything can seem chaotic.

“Trying to maintain a professional appearance on Zoom is very difficult,” Lazar said, “knowing a tornado of toddler tantrums can erupt at any moment.”

And, as many of us know, it isn’t just children who can be disruptive.

“Our German Shepherd, Thor, barks at the mail carrier every day,” Willis said. “And when he drinks from his water bowl (in the same room where I am working), the lapping and splashing and gulping is often a complete racket when I’m trying to do discussion about the day’s warm-up.”

There are also technological challenges teachers face when teaching from home.

“I had a morning a couple weeks back,” Willis recalls,”when our wifi was out because the router was disconnected, and I didn’t notice until a little after 7:30 a.m. I tried rebooting – nothing. It was getting closer to 8 a.m., and I was trying not to panic. I set up a hotspot with my phone, posted an announcement to my first class for the day, and got to troubleshooting at our internet provider’s website. It all worked out by 8:20 a.m., but it was stressful. And any time you get the ‘Your internet connection is unstable message,’ that’s also a stressor we didn’t know about back in the classroom.”

What it all comes down to is: Can teachers working remotely still establish and maintain the engagement and connection in their classes?

“By far the biggest challenge of teaching through Canvas,” Lazar said, “is getting students to have meaningful peer-to-peer interactions. It is possible to teach content online, but it is very challenging to create meaningful activities for students to have positive interactions with each other. A very important part of the high school experience is the daily interaction students would have with each other.”

Despite the challenges of distance teaching, both Lazar and Willis agree that this is an opportunity for their own families they might never have had otherwise.

“I have thought off and on over the years about whether I should have stayed home when my sons were babies,” Willis explained. “Being able to be home with them now, even though we are all immersed and angsty in our respective classes, we still connect throughout the day, laugh (and maybe sometimes cry a little), talk story, ask each other questions; I mean, I will never forget this.”

Lazar echoes the sentiment.

“I consider myself lucky to have more time to spend with my kids,” he said. “Before the pandemic, I would drop my kids off at daycare, teach all day, pick up the kids, prepare and eat dinner, then whisk them off to bed.”

It was hectic.

“I would get one hour of interaction with kids in the morning and two to three hours of interaction before they went to bed. I am very happy to have the rare chance to have non-stop interaction with my kids for the past eight months,” Lazar said. “It is not always easy, but I will look back on this time as a true blessing.”

Adapting to Digital

Local sex ed organization works to move materials and curriculum online

By Elita Kutateli

Before COVID-19, local student-run nonprofit organization Respect(Ed) provided in-person presentations and sex ed to 4J classes through their peer education program. Students were able to learn and have discussions with their peers in 4J schools’ health classes.

With school online, the Respect(Ed) board of directors knew it would be as important as ever to provide sex education. In response to restrictions caused by the pandemic, Respect(Ed) created a Sex(Ed), a free 12-week program for Oregon students that covers topics related to sex education.

“We are currently running weekly discussion groups for free for Oregon teens, known as Sex(Ed), led by peer educators,” board member and South Eugene graduate Jade Pfaefflin said. “Every week has a new topic around consent, sexual violence, sexuality, gender, sexual health, etc.”

And Sex(Ed) is not the only project for Respect(Ed).

“We are also hosting community events and working with high school students to implement peer-led presentations within zoom classes,” Pfaefflin said.

Continued below...

According to board members, a lot of hard work went into creating the new online curriculum.

“COVID-19 [and] the use of online platforms and technologies have required us to think strategically about how we’re presenting information,” Respect(Ed) co-founder Maya Corral said. “We’ve utilized social media a lot more than we would have if we were still providing in-person presentations, and we’ve also provided extracurricular opportunities and events to engage students in different ways.”

Despite all the challenges, the board of directors are all very passionate about their work and are happy with the program.

“We’re excited to expand the reach and purview of our program,” board member Jesse Pearce said. “As a nonprofit, we have the opportunity to provide our curriculum and resources to students and schools beyond South and 4J. Our core mission will always be to help empower youth to take charge of their own learning through peer education, but we can also see other ways that we could be helpful to students, such as by providing resources for survivors or training for adult educators. We have a lot of plans and dreams for the future.”

Respect(Ed) has a website at with more information about their current programs.

visually speaking

Measuring up

All state ballot measures passed in the recent Nov. 3 election. Oregon made national headlines for decriminalizing certain cases of drug possession, and for allowing the use of psilocybin mushrooms as a medical treatment.

get a move on

Live your best CDL life by making sure you break up all the screen time with some movin' and shakin'.


stomping grounds

View of Spencer Butte from 19th Avenue at the bike path.

Photo Illustration courtesy of the Eugenean Yearbook archives.




The results are in:

we are #southstrong

thank you for reading the axe magazine online!