issue 3 Open Mind, Open Heart

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:


pride & prejudice

The classic Jane Austen novel is once again being adapted into play form – this time, by South’s very own theater department. The play will premiere on Nov. 12, and will show on the 13, 14, 19, 20, and 21. Tickets are available on the SET website. The theater department is excited for it’s debut play of the 2021-22 school year, and hopes to see many students come to watch. – By May Lafer-Kirtner

vandalism or social activism?

Recently, the four gender neutral bathrooms at South have been a topic of contention. While the Gender and Sexuality Alliance is campaigning for more gender neutral bathrooms, South’s administration has been occupied trying to stop the vandalism found in each bathroom. Many students who use the gender neutral bathrooms, however, argue that the vandalism was simply students leaving kind notes for each other, and advocating for transgender rights. – By May Lafer-Kirtner

Photo courtesy of Naomi Sanger

Keystone visit sparks change

On Oct. 15, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown visited “Keystone,” a new, permanent and affordable housing unit run by homes for good to discuss efforts made against chronic homelessness in Eugene. Homes for Good and Brown share the same passion for getting people off the streets and into homes that they can continually afford. Brown proposed that those who have suffered from chronic homelessness not only need affordable homes, but will also need other services to assure that they won’t end up on the streets again. While the Keystone is on top of these services and programs, it’s still just the first step on a long and perilous flight of stairs. Brown says the task of ending chronic homelessness in Eugene will be hard, and will require a lot of teamwork and resources. Many hope that Brown's visit to the Keystone will result in a bigger push towards change. – By Maia Kinch


On June 3 last school year, South science teacher Julia Harvey was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, also known as ALL. Harvey is a longtime teacher at South and a South alumna herself. She has come to be loved by many – even during comprehensive distance learning last year, where heart-to-heart interaction could be difficult.

According to Mayo Clinic, ALL is a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow, in which the white blood cells are affected. Harvey’s fellow South science teacher, Dani Tubman, has maintained a GoFundMe site dedicated to Harvey’s treatment and updates. On June 12, an encouraging report that there was no leukemia in Harvey’s spinal fluid meant that she could begin chemotherapy, as well as preparations for a bone marrow transplant.

Most recently, Harvey was put on a ventilator due to the risk of her having Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, or ARDS. However, Tubman posted that after she is extubated, she will slowly be able to regain consciousness. Currently, Harvey cannot receive flowers or see many visitors due to risk of infection, but students can send their support through other means, such as sending letters to the hospital. Please email The Axe Newsmagazine adviser Bobbie Willis at for more information. By Lina Nakagome


Photo courtesy of Bobbie Willis

winter sports

Students at South can sign up for winter sports, which present students with great opportunities to meet new people and to have fun as a community. Winter team sports include: basketball, swimming and wrestling. Students can sign up for winter sports by visiting the FamilyID website, creating an account, and then searching up South Eugene High School to reach the registration form. Teams may hold tryouts or team formation sessions before practices start, so be sure to look out for that. The first day of practice is November 15th so make sure to register if you’re interested! – By Sophia Selivanova

Photo courtesy of Parang Mehta on

covid booster

COVID-19 booster shots were approved by the FDA on Sept. 22 for people vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago. Studies show that after initial vaccination, protection against the virus may decrease over time, providing less protection against the Delta variant. Booster shots are currently available for people 65 and older, and for people who are 18 and older and in high-risk situations. People can access booster shots at local pharmacies and other medical locations. – By Zachary Paskalev

Photo courtesy of Lina Nakagome

south electives

Not many students know about the variety of the cool, leadership classes offered at South, to balance out the heavy workload of academic classes. In total, students need twenty-four credits to graduate, and six of those credits must come from ‘other subjects’, which is where these electives fit in! These classes include Courageous Conversations, Yearbook, Newspaper, Social Justice Leadership, Special Needs Aide, Peer Tutoring, AVID, and more, which are available to all grade levels, with the exception of Peer Tutoring, available to grades (10-12). Two of the awesome teachers that run these courses are Bobbie Willis and Christy Gonenne. These classes are available to students the whole 2021-22 school year, so contact your counselors to get more information, and to potentially join one of these courses! – By Brynne Coleman


Photo courtesy of Mira Ciccarello

An emotional show

By Mira Ciccarello

In 2020, the band Phish planned to kick off their summer tour with two nights at the Matthew Knight Arena, but due to COVID, the shows were pushed out until Oct. 19 and 20 of this year.

Given Eugene's prominent percentage of Grateful Dead fans, it’s no surprise that many of those same fans now follow Phish: They are also a jam band and share a similar hippie culture surrounding them. For this reason, many people were looking forward to the Eugene shows. Unfortunately, the concert brought on a more serious tone, as the band was carrying around the weight of a tragic event that had happened just two days before: At their last show in San Francisco, a 44-year-old man jumped from the second balcony of the Chase Center, killing himself. In addition, two other people who fell from the balconies suffered non-life threatening injuries. The band was not informed of the events until the following day, so the show had continued that night despite the tragic loss.

Lead singer and guitarist, Trey Anastasio, addressed the incident at Matthew Knight in Eugene on Oct.19.

“I’d like to talk about the events that took place in San Francisco,” he said to the crowd. “First of all, I’d just like to name some names; one of the gentlemen who went through this event is named Keith Thompson. His wife, Carrie, is the vet manager for our Sacramento Phish shows, just to show how tightly knit our community is. Keith is in the hospital from his accidental fall, so we want to send all of our love to him and Carrie, as well.”

“I would also like to send our thoughts to Evan Reeves,” Anastasio continued, “who was involved in the accident and was able to come back last night and sit right there [pointing to the right hand, lower deck].”

Anastasio is referring to the second gentleman who suffered an accidental fall from the balcony. He was rushed to the hospital and returned to the concert in a wheelchair in time for the second set.

“And finally,I would also like to say some words for Ryan Prosser,” who died from his fall at the San Francisco concert, “and the entire Prosser family and friends – as well as all the people who were affected by this event. I know it affected everyone. So, on behalf of the band I would like to send our love to all of y'all,” Anastasio concluded. “I don't know if I can express how much I feel part of this community, this group of people who are here every night or can't make it and are watching on TV. We very much know and feel that we are just four more people in this group. When something like this happens it hurts us very deeply and we want to send our love. Please be safe.”

Band members Anastasio, drummer Jon Fishman, bassist Mike Gordon, and keyboardist Page McConnell were visibly shaken up after this address, even shedding a tear. Although many fans were pleased and comforted to hear the band's acknowledgments, others were outraged, calling the Chase Center a “death trap.”

“It's tragic what happened,” Phish fan Haze Moss said. “I just still can't believe I didn't know.”

Moss was sitting in a lower section to the left of the incident. Despite the medics and commotion, many of the fans were not aware of what had happened until the following day.

“I think the band handled it very well; it's obvious they were heavily impacted by it,” Moss said. “They did a good job of recognizing the events that took place while keeping professionalism and keeping the show going.”


gun violence in portland

By Mira Ciccarello

This year Portland, Ore., has become the second most lethal city in America, seeing a significant increase in homicides. In 2019 there was a 30 percent jump in homicides nationally. However, in Portland, that jump was markedly larger, with an 86 percent increase in homicides and gun violence. In August 2020, there were 383 shootings reported in Portland; this year, the Portland Police Bureau reported 837 shootings citywide by Aug. 31, breaking the record for the largest year-to-year increase in the North Precinct.

Currently, police are investigating seven shootings that took place over the course of 15 hours on Sunday, Oct. 17. Similarly, earlier in October, police reported nine shootings in 16 hours. Not only do these reports require an immense amount of police response – conducting interviews, collecting casings and searching for possible victims – they also create a state of fear within the community.

“I am so much jumpier than I used to be,” Portland resident Tracey Kravetz said. “I never walk around at night like I used to, even with mace. There is just so much more anxiety living day-to-day life.”

Kravetz lives in the Woodlawn neighborhood in Portland, an area that has experienced frequent shootings.

“One of the scariest times was two blocks away from my home: A house was shot almost 80 times,” Kravetz said. “When I walked by, you could see all the bullet holes and damage. The worst part is, nobody was apprehended, and the investigation did not raise many answers because there's not much you can really investigate.”

Shootings are a new reality for Portland residents; a reality that many – unfortunately – have grown accustomed to.

The city’s most recent homicide victim was 44-year-old Sean Garner. Garner’s death marked the 65th homicide in Portland this year. As gun violence rates increase and spread throughout the community, it is critical for city leaders and officials to address the problem and its root causes.