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Apr i l 2 0 1 7 / E d. 0 1 / R e f l e c t i ons , mus i ng s , and t hou g ht s

l i z z y s e n i o r p r o j e c t . w e e b l y. c o m

M U C H M O R E T H A N A S E N I O R P R O J E C T: A C R E AT I V E O U T L E T Lizzy Elkins

While looking for a more personal outlet for my creative thoughts and contemporary layouts than the student newspaper I currently edit for, and while wanting to organize something youth-based with the talented artists and writers with which I’m acquainted, I stumbled across the idea of doing a one-edition, small, student produced newspaper for the last big journalism venture of my four-year newspaper career. So here we are. The Agenda (whose name will be described in some detail below), is a publication that focuses on art, culture, society, gender, race, and sexuality and how my peers and I, as teens, internalize societal pressures, reinforce them, defy them, and break boundaries. Inside, we discuss how we define ourselves, what makes us individuals, what our hopes for the future are, and how we interpret the world around us. We discuss the different lenses through which we each see the world and talk about things like coming-of-age and being ‘different’. This publication’s goal is to be a true reflection of internalized feelings, thoughts, reflections, and impressions that we may not divulge in everyday conversation, or that take longer to explain or mull over than we normally

Our motives are simple and few: To educate, to create, to express and enjoy the creative process, to have fun, and to learn from each other.

have to discuss in class, with friends, or with teachers. The articles following are related to graduation, highschool, and just being young. Before venturing any further, may I note that everything in this publication was done by a student. Whether that be the layout (by yours truly) or the visual essay about heteronormativity and breaking molds (done by an undergrad at LMU LA), every morsel of this masterpiece was conceptualized and carried out by a student (save for the printing, for which we graciously thank our printing press). The name of this small, independent, student-run, written, and laid-out paper is The Agenda. I chose this name both on a whim and for a couple of reasons (note: a contradiction, which life is full of, and of which many undoubtedly exist in the following pages). First, because people often remark to me, “wow, you’ve got a lot on your agenda for the

LET’S

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day”. And the response to that is yes- my peers and I, the contributors to this paper, are driven, ambitious, and erudite, and we’re not here to mess around. We’re here to get stuff done. The second reason - you’ve inevitably heard the phrase, “the (insert demographic here) agenda”. The Feminist Agenda. The Liberal Agenda. The Gay Agenda. We are here to represent these so-called “agendas” and more - and to put our own spin on them. The Agenda is a presumably one-edition publication by students, for students, dedicated to representing and discussing these “agendas” and our thoughts on them, whether that be The Biracial Agenda, The Trans Agenda, The Nerd Agenda or Satirist Agenda - and everything inbetween. Next time you hear someone remark, “Well the (insert demographic here) agenda does (insert thing)...”, simply refer them to The Agenda (this publication in your hands), and it will satisfy their deep desires about The “Agendas”. Or, rather, this paper is here to represent those agendas and our own, deeply individual and complicated agendas, our motivations and dreams, so we can look back and marvel at how they have undoubtedly changed in the years that follow. This paper was started very simply and without the objective of being a publication, but that’s what it turned into. It has been in the works since mid-January and has taken an enormous amount of work, so kudos and many endless thanks to everyone who pitched in an article, took some beautiful photographs, or told me they were excited for the finished product. Endless thank-yous to the people in our lives that made this kind of thing possible- from parents, to Andrew Evans & Jason Sarmiento, to anyone who offered counsel or condolences at rough times and long study-filled nights. I would say this is for you, but in reality, this is for us. You and me, but mostly those who will read it and understand where we’re coming from and what we mean, even in the most abstract thoughts and feelings concealed in the primly written articles and beautifully formatted poems. In the pages that follow, we’ve tried to be as real as possible. Take away the facades, the masks, the perfectly groomed versions of ourselves and just talk about realness. A lot of the time it’s about what our fears are, our insecurities. But it’s also about that other side of us - the side that knows we can and will, and that’s ready to take flight at any second. Lastly, my remarks about the artwork and writing in this paper. While most papers contain the disclaimer that their writers don’t necessarily represent the opinions of the actual publication itself, that certainly

FOR

Lizzy Elkins The necessity of achieving excellence was pushed into my head since the moment I could remember. The necessity of maintaining a high GPA, shooting for a good college, making something of myself. I surround myself with excellent people. Whether that be the twins, Ken and Cole, who are going to rule the world someday, Emily, who consistently gets a 4.0 in her insanely advanced classes (calc?!), or Alona, who is going to spend her next four years in a different country every year. It seems like comparison is the root of unhappiness. I feel like it’s something all high schoolers can relate to - why can’t I be smart like so-and-so? Why can’t I do math as well as so-and-so? I wish I was athletic as her, I strive to be as organized as him, etc. It’s a universal sentiment. Take a second to think - are the expectations placed on you self-made, or enforced by others? A lot of times, the expectations we experience academically or socially are those which we feel like others expect of us. Mom and Dad want me to get a good GPA so I can get into a good college, so I can have a good life. What happens when you don’t get the GPA, or ribbon, or achieve that success? You feel cruddy, you don’t get into your school, you’re stressed, you’re unhappy, etc. There are consequences which you feel impacted by. That’s 100% true, and not achieving stuff that is important to you, or expected of you, feels horrible. This is increasingly relevant as my class, the class of 2017, transitions from Winter into Spring, from high school to college and beyond. I think a lot of us expected more from the college admissions/decisions time than we were able to gain from it. I applied to nine schools and didn’t get into a lot. I know a lot of my peers experienced the same thing. So, to this disappointment, the stress of senior year, and the closing of our chapter at high school I just want to say - let’s hear it for the mediocre. I say that semi-jokingly but I also mean it. We can’t get a 100% every time. We’re not all going to Brown, UChi, or UCLA. Not all of us are varsity, not all of us got huge scholarships. But just because you didn’t

THE

“A final venture in journalism and graphic design before I head off to college to study International Relations/Political Science/ Chemistry.... who knows?” All layout by Lizzy Elkins using Adobe InDesignCC2017

Photo by Emiliana Rawley

isn’t true in this case. This is a close knit, hand picked group of people who are talented, well-spoken, educated, and share similar (for the most part) beliefs. If you read something and don’t agree, whether that be the article on the gender binary (pg6) or Student Leadership (pg10), think about it for a little while and then start a conversation. Our motives are simple and few: To educate, to create, to express and enjoy the creative process, to have fun, and to learn from each other. Hopefully in the pages that follow we will accomplish at least one of these goals, and leave you thinking about how you have been impacted by societal pressures, and how you came to be the person you are today. Thank you for reading, contributing, teaching, and being open to having deep conversations. Thank you!

MEDIOCRE

Photo by Michael G. Ingram

perform well enough, you weren’t recognized or validated enough, it doesn’t mean anything. We need to learn to sit back and be okay with mediocre sometimes. Sit well in discomfort, and know things aren’t going to be 100% perfect, happy, or great sometimes. Sometimes you get a C. And there’s a saying called “C’s get degrees” for a reason. I’m so, so tired of the incessant pushing and necessity of achieving perfection upon myself and my peers. I’m over the expectations of perfect success, and the lack of celebration of the mundane. Sometimes you get a C and it happens. Sometimes you go to OSU and it happens, and you’ve got to learn to be happy with it. Because that’s how it turned out. We need to work on stopping comparisons between each other and just realizing- you accomplished something, it may not have been the best something, but you did it so woohoo! Now let’s go out and appreciate mediocrity. Not everyone is a child prodigy, not everyone is admitted to Harvard, and not everyone is valedictorian. Let’s learn to be content with what we’ve got, achieved, and did, and realize that we’re not going to be perfect every time.

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reading playlist

1. Only One - Kanye West 2. Cherry Wine - Hozier 3. Panama - Felly 4. Bound 2 - Kanye West 5. Never Be Alone - Shawn Mendes 6. Good Wine - Felly 7. All Falls Down - Kanye West 8. American Privilege - Allen Stone 9. Me and Your Mama - Childish Gambino 10. Ville Mentality - J. Cole 11. Nikes - Frank Ocean 12. untitled 02 - Kendrick Lamar 13. Nights - Frank Ocean 14. Stand Tall - Childish Gambino Music is an important part of my creative process- I wouldn’t be able to write, create, or do anything without it. All of the time put into this paper, all of the articles crafted and pages layed out were accompanied by music. The music I listened to while creating this paper was just as important as the articles themselves, and is just as intrinsic to the messages and overall meaning of the paper itself. In order to get a full, “authentic” experience of this publication, the articles, the emotions, feelings, etc., listen on. The majority of this music has a message, and a great deal of it was shown to me by Emiliana Rawley, so shoutout and thank you for that. Excuse the copious amounts of Kanye. by Lizzy Elkins


The Agenda

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he breadth and diversity of our differing human experiences never fails to amaze me. On the surface, on some inexplicable level, I consider myself so, so average. I live in the Pacific Northwest. I’m a middle-class white female, and I go to a school that I hold dearly to my heart. But the odd times I take a few minutes to let nostalgia wash over me, I realize that where I grew up and how I grew up are truly alien when compared to my peers- or at least it seems like that. Though I’ll discuss this particular complex in depth later, sometimes the realization hits me like a slap in the face; my childhood was a peculiar one (but then again, whose isn’t? Children are innately weird), and the places I lived had a direct impact on me. While discussing childhood memories with a close friend recently, and connecting this back to the book my class was assigned to study in AP Literature (Toni Morrison’s spectacular Beloved), it hit me. I am, for all intensive purposes, kind of Southern. The longest residency I’ve ever had in one state is seven years, and that state was Arkansas. After that I moved to Salisbury, Maryland. Salisbury is a small town on the MD peninsula, and whether or not you think Maryland is a southern state, it is south of the Mason-Dixon line, so for this article it will be considered southern. I lived there five years. Twelve of my seventeen years were spent in the South. Not the deep south, nothing like Georgia or Louisiana, but still, the South. We don’t eat Scrapple1 in Oregon and I haven’t seen a confederate flag for a while. In some ways the southern states I lived in and Oregon are the same - all three states have horrific histories when you consider any other timeline than the white one. Meaning that, aside from the beautiful hills and waterfalls of Oregon, rolling plains of Arkansas, breathtaking Chesapeake Bay, and struggles of Lewis and Clark, the deep, very alive, and changing culture of Arkansas, and Maryland’s connection to Washington D.C., when one considers the histories of these states they’re all pretty horrific. And that can go for any state, but I’m making a point here. The first Africans intentionally brought as slaves docked their ship in Maryland. Oregon was the only state in the Union that deliberately prevented and prohibited Blacks from living or working in the state. They couldn’t even live here until 1926. And Arkansas still had sundown towns2 in the 1970s. That was less than 50 years ago. In Oregon, the gentrification and white-washing is noticeable, but after a few years one may grow accustomed to the blatant lack of diversity and strikingly racist history of the state. Oregon is sheltered in ways that Maryland and Arkansas aren’t. For many upper and middle class white people, there aren’t many glaringly obvious markers of historical racism or discrimination. Which makes it so shocking to me that people live in an opposite state of that - meaning that they seriously pass by old relics of our gory history on the daily and think little to nothing of it. Preserved plantations, old graveyards, colleges that used to do scientific “research” on Blacks (cough Dartmouth cough), or huge national monuments dedicated to some of the worst perpetrators of the dehumanization of Blacks in America (Thomas Jefferson)- you name it, it’s out there, and integrated into daily life. People just drive past these on the daily. It’s wild to me that I did live somewhere like that and that it was normal, and I hardly ever thought of it outside of school or informational field trips... That I lived in two states where reminders of slavery weren’t only present, but seeped into every aspect of

C O N T R I B U T O R S

LIZZY ELKINS

Senior at Beaverton High School, Editor/Producer of The Agenda and Senior Editor of The Hummer, Elkins plans to study International Relations and Political Science in the fall.

The author as a child in Washington D.C. life is almost incomprehensible to me. To live somewhere where the land and, one could say (though I try to avoid this word), its aura, or energy, is deeply scarred and presently marked by two hundred years of gruesome dehumanization, deaths, and systematic and legal trade of humans - it’s crazy to me. But I grew up there. Oregon is just as scarred, but it’s buried inside. In Maryland and Arkansas, it’s out there in the open. There was a park down the street from one of my old houses in Maryland that still stands today, called Pemberton Historical Park. It’s a preserved planation that is now utilized by locals for hiking, photography, weddings, school field trips, etc. My brothers, friends, and I would trek across the neighborhood, cross a small playground, and pass a pharmacy on our journey to the Historical Park. We’d cross a huge green field in the sweltering Maryland heat and sticky humidity, then a bank of tall gangly trees, and, finally, cut through a dried up soybean field, with tall cream-colored and dried stalks that rustled when you walked through them. Once out of the field, we crossed into the endless acres of the park. Acres full of streams, woodlands, marshes, and hundreds of mosquitos, with the farthest reaches of the park being small, sandy beaches kissing the Wicomico River.

I awoke from the stupor that is sheltered childhood bliss and ignorance so, so recently.

We used to wear swimsuits under our clothes and walk to the front of the park, toting sunscreen and beach towels, and have a dip in a small stream not too far from the park’s center, the Pemberton House. Those days were fun filled, sunburnt, blissfully ignorant days basking in naivete and childhood… Recently, as I roved the internet in my reminiscing, I stumbled across the Historical Park’s website and read up. At one point in history, the “Historical Park” was a thriving plantation, which I knew, but had never really thought about. Ah, the not-sothin veneer of privlege. The park was accompanied with slaves, tobacco, and all. Now, if you haven’t been in the Maryland heat, I can assure you two things. First off, you’re not missing anything. Secondly, it’s utter hell. Sweat blooms under your arms in seconds. Mosquitos seem to stick to you like you’re a piece of flypaper. It doesn’t cool 1 Scrapple: A mix of pork trimmings off at all- and the heat can get so suffocatand scraps combined with flour and cornmeal to ing somedays it feels like you’re trapped in a make a “semi-congealed” loaf which is then pan snow globe - looking around at the dry grass, fried. marshes, and endless blue sky. I cannot be2 Sundown towns: All white-neighborgin to comprehend the pain, sweat, heat, hoods/municipalities that informally or formally and physical challenges that the people that kept out Blacks, typically by advertising that worked on the land, land which later became they “not let the sun go down on you” - implia fond memory of my childhood, must have cating harm to people of color.

endured. And that is something that is wild to me- that I lived in Maryland for so long, enveloped by the history, yet so ignorant. As we live in Oregon, in this beautiful, blue state, I feel as if we so often forget the realities that other parts of the country face on the daily. The constant reminders of our history, of what the US is built upon. Though I believe racism, discrimination, and that gruesome history will always be something we’re working to erase in the US, and those topics have always been hot topics that people get upset over and fired up about, it seems like these topics have popped up with more frequency in the past few years. Maybe it’s always been this debated, this polarizing, this painful, but for me, I awoke from the stupor that is sheltered childhood bliss and ignorance so, so recently and it seems as if these topics have been on full blast more so than in the past. What I want to say is this - though these hotly contested topics seem to polarize us, even in Oregon, what we don’t realize as often as we should is that we have it good. You don’t walk past a plantation every day to school or work. That part of Oregon’s history is buried under a layer of gentrification and calculated ignorance. We take it for granted that we don’t have these constant reminders, and it isolates us. In all matters, we must consider the life experiences of others, and not be so quick to judge or make generalizations about other states, other groups of people, etc. That is not a political statement. It’s a life statement. Our community seems so homogenous at times, and we so often surround ourselves with people who are similar to us. The breadth and diversity of our differing human experiences is incomprehensible. Never make assumptions about others or take things at face value. Conversation, understanding, and connection are invaluable and priceless, now more than ever, if we want to make progress in any way. Before hating the Other, take time to understand them, learn what makes them tick, how their childhood surroundings, morals, upbringing, and values shaped them into who they are, and what compels them to believe in what they do. In short, we must listen first to others before we attempt to comprehend them, make generalizations, compromise with them, or enact change.

AUTUMN SEVY

A senior at Beaverton High School and involved in Student Leadership and Key Club, Sevy will be pursuing a degree in Journalism in the fall of 2017 in London.

C O L E C AVA N A U G H

Student at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, Cavanaugh graduated from Beaverton High in ‘16 and is now studying women’s and gender studies and sociology.

YA S M E E N AY O U B

Ayoub, a Beaveton High ‘15 alum, currently attends PSU and is deeply rooted in the political activism and poetry spheres of campus life.

TREY LUSK

The author and her younger brother posing with a statue of George Mason in the US Captiol as children.

Lusk is a senior at Beaverton High School. He’s renowned for being witty and clever, and will be attending Brigham Young University Idaho in the fall.


The Agenda

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A R T T H E G U I TA R I saw it there. In the corner. The guitar. The guitar caught my eye. It boasted a fragile warmth the rest of the room lacked and I felt comfortable. It’s a funny thing, the way something can latch onto you and won’t let go. Ideas always do this to me; they switch something on in my mind and don’t turn it off. This particular idea grabbed hold of my mind. And the guitar became an idea that couldn’t let go. I like to think everyone has something that makes them unimaginably happy. For me, it’s music. When I play, it’s like I’m never coming down from this place that’s completely free and without borders. It’s a hard feeling to explain. My friend told me once that for him, it was “like nothing else” and I think that’s the best way to even try to put this feeling into words. Music is a universal language. It’s almost limitless in the way it makes people feel emotions they might not have felt before. And influential in the way that it makes people real-

Music is a universal language. It’s almost limitless in the way it makes people feel emotions

All artwork by Autumn Sevy

CONTRIBUTIONS CONTD.

ize the emotions they are feeling. I can tell music things I can’t tell people. And I can sing words that I wouldn’t have been able to say otherwise. Music lets me be myself. In entirety. Without the borders that I place upon myself. When I sing, everything inside me feels different. I would describe myself as a guarded person. I don’t want to be. I wish I wasn’t, but that’s another thing I’ve learned to accept; part of me will always be inescapably introverted. But when I’m on stage, everyone around me blends into black and something inside me becomes a little brighter. The tight, constricting hold I put on myself melts away and I finally feel without my own restrictions. It’s a funny thing being on stage. It’s addicting. And now that I’ve had a taste of it, it’s something I don’t

BEN BAIN

Senior at Beaverton High, Ben is deeply involved in the performing arts, and both acts and directs.

Autumn Sevy

want to let go. I remember the first time I abandoned my inhibitions. That first audition is probably something I’m going to remember for a while. It’s not that it was incredibly significant. Or memorable. Most of the time I can’t even remember how well I think I play. It goes by so fast, but I also know that part of doesn’t want to remember. Mostly in fear that what I do recall of my performance is not a melody that flows together, but the fraction of a second where my voice becomes a little too flat or my fingers play the wrong rhythm. Yet I think that audition is something I’ll remember because it was the first time I felt like myself, not some version of me that was faintly blurry around the edges. I was definitely nervous. Very obviously nervous. But it was almost as if my body was scared, not my mind. I felt confident, even though my hands wouldn’t stop shaking. Not my mind, but my body. As if it wasn’t used to being confident. Up until sophomore year, my confidence felt as if it only reached my knees, while everyone else was wading up to their chins in confidence. Maybe everyone feels that way but they’re just better at hiding it. I realize that now. But it was a tough time for me and it was hard to figure out who I was and who I wanted to be when I felt unable to show what I truly felt. Not because of anyone else, but because of myself. I started singing and writing my own music around this time and finding the ability to raise my voice made me feel so much stronger. When I write sometimes the most precious thing is knowing whatever emotions you’re voicing, there is always some resonance. There is always some understanding and you know you’re not alone and that people feel what you’re feeling. Beauty is something so necessary and a constant that keeps us going. Some people find beauty in the sound a ball makes as it falls against a court. Some people find beauty in the ability to take up another skin in front of lights that are blindingly bright and melt into a character other than their own. I find beauty in making music. And music allows me to see the beauty in myself.

SHAREEF ACHEKZAI

Senior at the Arts and Communication Magnet Academy, Shareef will be pursuing a degree in Film Production or a similar field in the fall.


The Agenda

04

S T U D E N T

L I F E

C O L L E G E E S S AY S :

Though, at times, applying for college feels like you’re jumping through a series of increasingly smaller flaming hoops, at other times the satisfaction after having completed a piece of spectacular work makes you realize you’ve made it, that the cumulation of all these years at school allow us to write with such finesse, splendor, & magnifigance. Let’s hear it for the college essay - painful and transformative at the same time.

POWER VS POWERLESSNESS Prompt: “Which corrupts more, power or powerlessness?”

Power corrupts more than powerlessness. Corruption on behalf of the powerless is not their own - it is the corruption of a system which holds the powerless accountable for choices they are forced to make. The corruption of the powerless solely originates in necessity, however corruption of the powerful originates from within. In order to be purely, definitiveDetroit. Photo courtesy of The Huffington Post. ly corrupt, one must have agency and autonomy - the ability to choose between doing something “good” or “bad”. In almost every situation, the powerless don’t have any choice, because their agency is limited or restricted by the powerful. Corruption as a result of power exists more than that of the powerless. Powerlessness originates from the existence of the powerfulwithout the corruption of the powerful, there would be no corruption of the powerless. The corruption of a person’s morals when they have little to no autonomy or means to survive originates in the pursual of something essential to survival, like Chicago slums. Photo courtesy of The Atlantic. food or water. The ‘corruption’ the powerless experience as a result of their powerlessness isn’t true corruption, because it is a result of oppression by the powerful. The basic human instinct is survival, and in many instances the corruption of Prompt: “Building on recent successes in DNA research–including gethe powerless stems from basic hunetically modified crops, the creation of insulin within genetically modman necessities, which we all share ified cells, and the sequencing of the human genome–scientists have For example, one could begun discussions about the fabrication of all DNA present in human say that the formation of gangs in chromosomes. Some foresee dramatic breakthroughs for humankind, impoverished city neighborhoods while others worry that the knowledge would give parents the ability like Compton, Detroit, and Chicato select the traits of their offspring and perhaps allow for the creation go are prime examples of corrupof humans without biological parents. There is widespread agreement that the research touches ethical as well as scientific questions. In your view, do the potential benefits outweigh its risks? If so, how should its risks be addressed?”

HUMAN DNA FA B R I C A T I O N

The ethical question of DNA fabrication is a complex and far-reaching one. When examining benefits in relation to risks, it becomes clear that the potential benefits of human DNA fabrication do not outweigh the many risks. A preliminary assessment of the risks (discussed below), and application of governmental regulation on said DNA fabrication are crucial in addressing these risks and preventing abuse of the power which humans are granted when allowed to fabricate DNA. The risks are many and extensive. The prompt suggests that the Western world is at the forefront of this scientific development, implying that selection of specific traits in humans “without biological parents” would be on the Western rubric - not only for medical research purposes, but also for cosmetic purposes. With the Western world leading this scientific movement, it will create tension between Eastern and Western cultures, especially in our increasingly eurocentric world. Human DNA fabrication will create new and larger scaled social inequalities, different from the ones that exist today. As humans manu-

tion arising from powerlessness. However, that is untrue. In these rough neighborhoods the lack of police activity and law enforcement attention (because they’re so run down, poor, and have such a high percentage of people of color) results in the formation of gangs as a means of self protection. It’s a cruel cycle - people of power neglect people who are powerless, which in turn encourages and ne-

Oppression is the specific tool of the powerful to maintain powerlessness

cessitates powerless people to do what they need to do to live, eat, and be safe. Because the powerless are often neglected in society, and not cared for or accounted for, they are forced to resort to drastic measures to secure the necessities that are food, water, and safety. By doing this, they may do something that is deemed “corrupt”, like breaking the law, but their “corruption” originates from the power other people exert over them, and it isn’t on their own behalf. Corruption of the powerless is frequently the result of a corrupt system, a

system where power is fed by the maintenance of powerlessness through systematic and deliberate subjugation and marginalization of groups of people. Oppression is the specific tool of the powerful to maintain powerlessness. Oppression in turn maintains the “corruption” that stems from powerlessness, and makes it so powerless and disadvantaged people must maintain some level of corruption (as necessitated by oppression) in order to survive in societies in which they are oppressed. When “corruption” of the powerless is discussed, we often reference increased rates of theft or disorderly conduct, but in the majority of cases these exist because the system encourages it and leaves people with no choice. The many examples of this dichotomy between the Powerful and Powerless include the Holocaust (criminalization of Jewish people), Rwandan genocide (Hutus and Tutsis), and Whites and their slaves in early 17th century and beyond. Power corrupts more than powerlessness, because the corruption of the powerless isn’t real corruption - it is necessitated by oppression. The pseudo-corruption experienced by the powerless is solely a product of systematic oppression and a lack of agency. The corruption of the powerless wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the corruption of the powerful, showing decisively that Power corrupts more often, and corrupts more people, than Powerlessness.

ally select traits deemed favorable, selection patterns will inevitably arise from concentrated societies. A Western-based scientific revolution dealing with deliberate DNA trait selection will result in a dominance of Western-

The more homogenous the human race is, the more vulnerable it becomes

preferred trait selections, and will surely result a widening of the rift which already separates developed and undeveloped nations. If the power to select traits in unborn children lies in the hands of the Western world, there will be an increase in children who cosmetically match western beauty trends and ideals. For example, there would be a palpable spike in the number of children with blue eyes and blonde hair. The desire to weed out traits that are objectionable may originate with well-meaning intentions, but it’s comparable to the desires of the Third Reich, when forming

Photo courtesy of Mashable. its eugenically based “Biological State”, in which they proceeded to outcrop genetic aberrations, claiming it was a matter of “genetic hygiene”. The ability to fabricate DNA will not only widen the divide between East and West, but would decrease Human biodiversity (as a result of selection trends), thus resulting in more homogenous societies. The more homogenous the human race is, the more vulnerable it becomes to one individual threat taking it out in one fell swoop, much like humans almost experienced with the Black Death. In addition to a decrease of biodiversity, it would instill harder stereotyping on people with natural disabilities and chronic diseases because of

their natural DNA. A widespread flare up of ableism would be inescapable. A dichotomy forming between people who have been genetically modified and people who are ‘natural’ is very realistic. We do not want to risk the production of a dystopian society modeling what we only see in movies or books today, having similarities to Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, or Suzanne Collins’ trilogy, The Hunger Games. However extreme that may seem, it is a very substantial risk and possibility. These complex DNA fabrication-based medical procedures would be expensive, meaning they would be used primarily by the upper class. This would contribute to the rift between classes and

increase elitism. In addition, if this technology became more accessible but heavily regulated, a situation may arise, similar to the United States issue with back-alley abortions - people attempting to replicate complex medical procedures with little success, simultaneously putting their lives in danger. Though one could argue that the benefits are ‘worth it’, that is untrue. This DNA fabrication could prevent many deaths, yes, but at what cost? The societal inequalities which would arise, resulting in further oppression of already disadvantaged minority groups, along with the possibility of another “Biological State” are not worth it. Both essays written by Lizzy Elkins


05

R E F L E C T I O N

AT TA I N I N G A S E N S E O F B E L O N G I N G : A N U P H I L L B AT T L E

Photo by Shareef Achekzai

M Y

C O L O R :

A

B R E I F

Cara Chenoweth It seems I know everybody’s color but my own. Kassi, who sits across from me, is a muted red. It almost feels like she’s shouting it from the rooftops. “I’m still here.”. Kayla is a forest green. The feeling you get when you’re in a forest and the sunlight filters through the leaves. It’s the kind of color that listens to you with concerned eyes the color of the earth it grew from. Ms. Osman is a navy blue. Sometimes when I get too close I can feel the splotches of silver like she’s carrying the soul of her sister entwined with her own. Blake is yellow. It’s there, hidden under waves of grays and blacks. Sometimes I wonder if he’s trying to smother his color in mourning. A memoir is supposed to be about yourself. What do you do when your identity is made up of others? I tell other people’s stories in hope of finding my own.

What does it mean when your identity is made up of others?

The obvious answer would be that I take after my parents. My father is a contractor with a mechanic’s heart. Ever since he was young he’s had a knack for taking things apart and putting them back together in a way that never seemed possible. Suddenly he’s above you smiling, the crows feet at the corners of his eyes crinkling. “Fahrvergnügen,” he says to me “is the joy of driving.” He doesn’t know that his pine tree green taught me the joy of life. My mother works for the schools. She spends her days teaching people how to form their R’s correctly. As a speech pathologists daughter I grew up speaking perfectly, but there is no way for someone to teach you how to speak your mind. Her and my father create a harmony together. His green is the earth, grounding her light blue. My sister seems to fit perfectly between them, her wheat yellow bringing harvest to the land. I often wonder what I am. I don’t feel part of their colorful land. Am I the old woman across the street? Her baby pink should inspire hope and youth, but thinking about it makes pain shoot down my spine like the loss of a husband of 50 years. But that pain is not my own. I have never felt loss like that. Maybe I’m like the men and women who filter in and out of the house down the street. Does my white also reek of foggy pipes and pain in numbers? Do I too have sunken eyes and bony fingers? When did my neighborhood get so dark? I remember sunny days playing with the boy next door, our shrieking laughter echoing through the giant pine tree that guarded over us. Then one day he disappeared to the end of the street with his mother and her new boyfriend while his father tried to drink away the infidelity in the old house. Now the tree in the yard is dying. Years passed and the boy lives with his father far away, his mother gone and her boyfriend a drunken corpse in the house at the end of the street. It seems the boy’s mother had a love for men with broken minds. Sometimes I’m afraid I’m like the boy’s mother. She was a steel gray. Unbreakable. It seems like she too was only taught that love was to break or be broken. Did something in her break and the only way she could fix it was to transform her pain into someone else’s?

M E M O I R

The boy was a dark green. He was in love with me. I know this because every time I was with him I could feel his color trying to merge with mine, marking me as his own. His love was given freely without thought of consequences. In that way I admire him. Sometimes I feel sorry that I could never love him. I was not created to love boys like him. I was made to love girls and boys who love me so intensely I can’t do anything but leave. I was made to love people who want to be fixed by me. But I’m not my father. I don’t have his mechanical hands. There was only one girl who didn’t want me to repair her broken soul. She would rather rip me apart so we could match. She made me want to claw and pry my color off my body to become one with hers. It was never enough. I was never enough. I could have become the exact replica of her almost black green, and she would claim she wanted a contrasting color. I loved her anyways. I loved the feeling of having an identity. I was no longer floating, I was hers. I used to think what we had was passion. Our arguments weren’t professions of love, they were just warning signs. Sometimes it was good. I think we were always destined to be friends. She told me she couldn’t live without me. I thought I couldn’t live without her. It took me too long to realize I wasn’t living with her in the first place. Where I lost a lover I gained a lifelong friend. The second girl was purple and gold. I didn’t love her. She tried to craft for me what the first girl failed to do. Her dark purple tried to soothe my wounds even though gold was still bleeding out of hers. I was never taught to love tenderly. She was too good at forgiving and I was too good at violence. In those 5 months, I became the steel gray of the boy’s mother. She became just another version of the boy, trying to mark and claim me as hers. Even now, she still uses me to explain her jagged tongue and sometimes I hate her for it. I never wanted to be the cause of someone’s destruction. The idea of being someone’s lover still makes my hands tremble with the memory of a snarled “You’re mine”. I don’t think I’m ready to be that vulnerable again. I only feel safe when I am with a friend. Platonic love cannot be all-consuming. It’s only the soft blue of a girl’s hand stroking the back of your head in comfort. It’s the bright yellow of laughter and the foggy white of shared sadness. For years my identity and color has been made up of whatever people desired of me. The girls I’ve dated, who wanted me to as a pretty doll for their collection. In a world built of expectations, I find my true color in defying the laws of the world. I don’t have to trick people into thinking they’re chasing the sun when I’m only water reflecting what they want to see. I still don’t know my color. I don’t know if people even have colors. It seems redundant to label someone when they’re ever changing. To Kassi; You are not just red. Sometimes you are a pale yellow. It reminds me of anxious, twisting hands and twitchy limbs. To Kayla; One day the story will be about you. Your green is a supportive, caring color. Soon you’ll be able to be a blazing orange. To Ms Osman; Tears are just love that has nowhere left to go. I’m sorry. Don’t ever let go of the silver. To Blake; Despite being yellow, sometimes it’s okay to be black. Let yourself feel in front of others. It’s human. To myself; It’s time to let go.

M o v i n g a ro u n d s o m u c h d e n i e d m e a sense of community as a child - n o w s u r ro u n d e d b y s o m e t h i n g which claims so much “commun i t y ” t o o f f e r, h a v e I t r u l y a s similated after five years? Or is belonging going to be a life long battle for me? LIZZY ELKINS

As spirit week rolls around for Sadie Hawkins, Homecoming, or Prom every year, there seems to be a day dedicated to “college wear”. As students mull through the hallways, the prevalence of Oregon State and University of Oregon spirit wear is overwhelming. It seems that innately, each student knows which team/side they belong to, they’ve known it since they were little. In others schools and other states, it’s the same. Walking in the halls of a Maryland high school, you’ll see students proudly representing the Ravens, the Steelers, the Yankees, any team with which they align themselves. In Oregon specifically, seeing so much orange and black and yellow and green causes me to self-reflect. A lot of these students have known since

Photo courtesy of Zimbio birth. Their families identify strongly and rep each team with heart and passion. “Are you a Duck?” “Or are you a Beaver?” To this I have no response. I moved here when I was twelve, as I discussed on page two’s editorial. And before that, I moved to Maryland when I was seven. And before that I moved to Arkansas when I was one. I have no sense of intrinsic team spirit. Am I Beaver? Am I Duck? What am I? My brother goes to OSU, but I might be going to UO. OSU has a nuclear reactor, but UO has an international studies program. Am I a Duck or Beaver? Am I neither? What do I identify as, and what communities do I associate myself with? This isn’t about my internal conflict over whether I associate as a Duck or Beaver. It goes deeper than that. It correlates to and is representative of how I feel like I fit into the statewide and global community. It increasingly seems like everyone has that innate, deep-rooted sense of what community they belong to in the world. It seems like each family has a place, that people know where they belong, they know what they equate themselves to, whether that be a sports group, a school, a political party, or a religious group. Each OSU or UO logo I see brandished confidently over someone’s chest reminds me that I have A) yet to decide on a college and that I B) don’t know where I belong in the scheme of things. CONTINUED ON PG09


The Agenda

06

OPINION:

GENDER

&

SEXUALITY

WHY DO WE NEED THE GENDER BINARY? Ben Bain

Surprise! We don’t. It’s actually pretty harmful to, well… everyone.“But what is this ‘gender binary’ pal, whatcha sellin’ here?” So glad you asked! The gender binary is the classification of [people] into two strictly defined genders and their associated gender roles. Ask yourself: “What is a man? What is a woman?” If your answer has something to do with what’s between someone’s legs (or on their chest) along with specific traits, or possible jobs that that kind of person can do, or pretty much any general stereotype of either gender, there’s your reason why the gender binary is harmful. Still don’t understand? Read onwards. First off, sex and gender are not the same thing (an earth shattering concept, I know). Sex deals with what’s between one’s legs, what hormones can be found in abundance in one’s body, bone structure, etc. - biology. In that alone there is an entire spectrum, people have different shapes, hormone balances, size, and some people have more than just one reproductive organ system. (these people are often referred to as Inter-

sex). Someone could have both male and female sex organs or chromosomes, or have male sex organs and be hormonally female. In that sense alone, the gender/sex binary quickly becomes inaccurate. Then you have the issue of gender. Modern Queer theory defines gender as what one feels, and it is completely disassociated from one’s anatomy. Gender is the roles and traits associated with a certain sex, but they aren’t the same. Even in traditional life (that is, not dealing with transgender + nonbinary folks) there are many people who don’t conform to these strict gender roles. For instance, say someone shows all the typical non-physical male traits, like being masculine or invested in sports, but has a vagina - are they a man or woman, or neither? Often one would say that they were a man, because saying that they were a woman would mean the defy the majority of society’s definitions of and preconcieved notions of women and what they represent. But if the person in question did in fact say they were a man, then people would expect them to have a penis, or consider them too effeminate in appearance to match up with societal definitions of being a man. So there you have it- one example of someone who doesn’t conform to the gender binary. There are tons of people who are transgender, transitioning, or, surprise surprise, “nonbinary”; and at the most basic level, the gender binary hurts them. But it also hurts everyone else. It encourages harmful and degrading stereotypes for everyone. Ever watch the Simpsons, Family Guy, or Everybody Loves Raymond? Men are painted as massively disgusting buffoons who are crude, useless, apathetic, and lack regard for others feelings or opinions. This is how men

are often portrayed in media, which further encourages this behavior and perpetuates harmful stereotypes and self-image for men old and young. Women are often painted as fragile and submissive sex objects. Look at any female superhero costume, The typical costume emphasizes the breasts, it’s skin tight, exposes flesh, etc. But if you strapped the majority of those costumes on, and wore them in battle you’d be dead instantly. While the men are also shown overly muscled, they’re completely covered (in actual armor nonetheles). They’re shown as figures of power, a power which, if they are anything like Homer Simpson, is outrageously undeserved. Try imagining Batman in an extremely tight speedo and a stripper bod, not only is it uncomfortable but also ineffective. Another generalization made between an activity and gender is theatre. Theatre is artsy, and art doesn’t currently fall under “male” categorization in the gender binary, it’s stereotypically a female activity. At Beaverton, the theatre department is about 2:3, male to female. In society the males in drama are often expected to be gay, which isn’t bad but is just plain incorrect. When we discuss sexuality, LGBTQ+ people are often seen as less in society and experience discrimination and prejudice on the daily. Like theatre, when we expect all people who participate in an activity to conform to certain expectations (like be LGBTQ+) and stereotypes which are regarded as lesser, the assumption extends to the activity too. In some ways, dissent and nonconformity render a person “lesser” in societys eyes, whether that dissent be in sexuality, political views, gender, etc. And what is sexuality anyway? It’s who you are attracted to in relation to what you identify as. Sexual orientation is another aspect of the gender binary which is limiting. Say you have a crush on some cute girl. You find out the she is transgender, and starts transitioning. If your relationship wasn’t based on looks alone (and even if it was) and you’re still attracted to them, are you gay? Straight? Bi? Pan? See what I mean? Gender, sexuality, and sex are more complicated for many people than the binary can describe. Imagine all animals could only be classified as either a dog or cat, and then all the animals in one of those two categories were expected to act like the animal they are classified as. Imagine having a pet whale and expecting it to act like a cat, and being upset with it when it can’t breathe. How stupid would that be? Well that’s what the gender binary does to people. It holds people back and forces people to either be inflexible or be rejected. One out of every 10 transgender students are kicked out of their homes, why? Because they don’t fit in society’s rigid binary. The gender binary and everything associated with it is a restrictive system constructed by a society which uses currently irrlevant moral concepts, initially used to maintain hierarchical power. In the past people didn’t have any concept of anything better, anything more- your gender was defined by what was between your legs and there was no need for there to be any additional contributing factors. People were divided into small families, from a simple point-of-view, the binary works, but it’s implications and uses in modern society are harmfully holding us back. The gender binary, if you think about it, is really no longer effective. It isolates, marginalizes people, and restricts possibilities in nearly every way. You can make a difference to counteract this by educating yourself and others, trying to be more accepting and by expanding your boundaries. It doesn’t hurt you in any way to let others feel and know that they are inherently loved and accepted- and learning about breaking the gender binary provides necessary validation and comfort to those who don’t recieve it often.

“ ”

learning about breaking the gender binary provides necessary validation and comfort to those who don’t recieve it often

Photos by Shareef Achekzai


GENDER

&

SEXUALITY

The Agenda

07

CISGENDER, STRAIGHT GENDERFUCKER: BOYS WILL BE BOYS

foreword by cole cavanaugh; pictures by cole and ken cavanaugh; genderfucking by brian kosewic

Over the last few decades, the emerging field of Queer Theory has rapidly advanced critical examinations of the unstable relationships between gender, sexuality, embodiment, identity, and power in the lives of queer folks. Perhaps most famously, Judith Butler’s development of a theory of gender performativity offers new conceptual tools for understanding and subverting gender. Along with significant contributions from many other scholars and activists, Butler’s work has lent to the creation of a very detailed picture of queer folks’ placement in the matrix of exclusionary, heternormative social norms and expectations which underlie our society’s most prominent notions of gender and sexuality. In other words, the work of queer theory maps out clearly the particular situation of LGBTQ+ people in contemporary society, giving this community new insights into the conditions of their lives in addition to some new ideas for ways of queering the normative, resisting heterosexist oppression, and imagining more just futures. As a student who works as a research assistant studying LGBTQ+ activism, I spend a lot of time thinking about how exactly theoretical understandings of gender and sexuality play out in my own life as a queer person and an activist. Most often, these thoughts have revolved around what my identity means to me and my political beliefs and actions. Recently, however, I have begun to think more about

what gender and sexuality mean in the lives of my close friends. How are the options for subverting heterosexist gender norms that are available to my relatively privileged group of friends produced by our various social identities and affiliations? How might we develop our own politics within broader political and social movements founded in resistance; collectivity; queerness; failure; consesus; self-criticism; creativity? Perhaps most importantly, how might such queered, subversive politic become more inclusive, intersectional, and fluid? In thinking through these questions, I frequently return to the work of Queer Theory. Recently, I have noticed that this work infrequently attempts to imagine radical embodied resistance to heterosexist oppression in the lives of cisgender straight people. While the necessary tools for thinking about this resistance are certainly available, such a project is rarely, if ever, undertaken. These photos depict a young, thin, white, financially secure, ablebodied, Catholic, cisgender straight man. Now more than ever, it is important that we explore the ways that a person who sits in this position of extreme privilege may disarticulate these affiliations from one another to begin dismantling the boundaries protecting its posession of powers. These photos serve as a brief exploration of one way of attempting this project; genderfucking as a straight, white, masculine-identified, cisgender man.


The Agenda

08

S T U D E N T

L I F E

SHALEV HANAMURA

E M I LY F O R S M A N “I’m going to OSU. Oregon State, not Ohio State. I’m trying to decide between majoring in Biology, or majoring in Pre-Veterinary Medicine and then going off to grad school. And so, OSU is the best choice for both because I’m also interested in Marine Biology and OSU has this option where you can major in Biology with the option of Marine Biology, and so I could be eligible for a job in general bio OR marine bio, without having to double major. Also, with veterinary medicine, OSU has a grad school for it. I could just go there for four years, then go to grad school in the same place, as opposed to going to one school for four years then OSU for grad school when I could just already be there. I made the decision on March 13th. The minimum requirements for the Presidential Scholarship are a 3.85 GPA and a minimum score of a 29 on the ACT. You also like… well I’m not exactly sure how they choose them, but they also look at your insight resume answers. My dad really wanted me to get the scholarship because it’s basically a full ride. I was almost certain that I was not going to get it… but then I was at school on Monday, and I was just recovering from being sick. I was not feeling that great, I did not want to be there, and then I was in anatomy and I was taking a test after taking a calc quiz. I was out of it. So, in the middle of the test, my teacher got a phone call and he was basically like, ‘Forsman, you need to go down to the main office,’ and I was like mmmm… okay, well I need to finish this test. So I went back to working on my test. Five minutes later, the phone rings again, and he’s like, ‘Forsman, how much longer do you think you’ll need?’ And I was like oh, probably just a few minutes. So he told them, and I finished my test. Then I went off. I walked into the main office and there were all these people there. My counselor, my principal, the assistant principal. All these people are there - all the office ladies. I was like, what is going on? They clapped for me when I came in and I hate getting attention. To my left there was this lady. She shook my hand and she was like, ‘Hi, I’m from the admissions office at Oregon State’. I shook her hand and I was like, Hi… And then she said, “You’ve been rewarded with the Presidential Scholarship!’ I was like - what the hell!? She gave me this really fancy box, and on it, is says, ‘You are Beaver Nation’, and I looked in it, and it had this little certificate that says what I get out of having the Presidential Scholarship. I get free ZipCar usage for a year which is pretty sweet! I don’t have to pay the $200 deposit, and I don’t have to pay the contract fee for room and board. There’s all these benefits. There was a backpack, a shirt, a water bottle, a writing pen, and there were all these cool things. The backpack was really cool. I was shocked. This was something I dreamed of. Just knowing all my hard work finally paid off was shocking. I almost cried. She took a picture and everything and I went back to class completely stunned. I was really excited to tell my parents because I knew they’d be so happy I basically got a full ride. I waited to tell them in person, and my mom was so happy. She gave me a big hug and we went out to Red Robin that night to celebrate. My dad was out of town, and when I called him, his reaction was like, ‘WOW’. Just knowing that my parents are proud of me… I told my friends about it. My friends started telling their family. My family was telling coworkers, and my sister was telling her friends at school… Just like, knowing that all these people were proud of me. Just once I was proud of myself. So that night I was like, well, I’m going to OSU!”

“ ”

Just knowing all my hard work finally paid off was shocking. I almost cried.

Both interviews conducted by Lizzy Elkins. Photos courtesy of Emily Forsman and Shalev Hanamura. Full audio of both interviews is available online at lizzyseniorproject.weebly.com.

“One day, I was scrolling through Instagram, and I saw a picture of this hoodie that some guy did some stitching on. I showed the picture to my Nana, because I live with my grandparents. And I asked her, ‘Nana, is this something I can do with the stuff that we have at the house?’ and she was like, ‘Yeah’, so she showed me for five minutes how to stitch on clothing. After that is when I started to take off with it - that’s when I started to make a lot of clothing just by myself. I really liked what I was doing, so I shared it on social media. And people would tell me that they thought it was awesome, and that they wanted to buy it. At first I saw it as more of a hobby I could do on the side make a quick dollar, you know? But then eventually more and more people were wanting to buy stuff, so it just showed so much potential for me. That’s when I started to dedicate my life to my brand, Syner. Syner is short for synergy. Synergy is when two powers come together to create a greater output, and so I consider myself and my partner, the creators, as one power. And anything we’re creating, whether that’s clothing, photography, or videography as another power, and the combination of the two create a greater output. Every piece of clothing we make is one-of-a-kind and unique. I personally put a heavy emphasis of individualism and just being yourself, that’s what Syner’s all about. I see so many people who are trying to be someone else, so I feel like Syner is a way for people to be unique to them… My focus on individualism has been right off the bat, when I first started doing this all. It became about individualism. I realized I couldn’t make any two pieces identical by hand, and you know, not having two identical pieces of clothing is okay with me. I chose to stitch by hand because I don’t have the resources to mass-produce or create things perfectly using a machine. Into every piece of clothing I like to incorporate Syner. The clothing is generally eye catching. I’ll often mix up different colors, some analogous colors, but I’ll also mix completely random colors you’d never see together, and I sort of just free flow, if that makes sense, when I’m creating. I like to do floral work because I feel as if flowers represent life and growth. That’s one thing I like to incorporate with a lot of the work, but also, flowers aren’t identical. I mean they can be similar, but the variety in flowers is all so different. I don’t have a specific creative process. If you think about it, there are no guidelines to say ‘this is how you can be creative’. It’s something that just.... Comes. If everything went perfectly, A$AP Rocky would be wearing Syner. Definitely A$AP Rocky. Let’s see… There’s a few other famous people known for clothing and fashion - Ian Connor, ASAP Bari, Playboy Carti, Kid Cuddi, ‘cos I like his music. It’d be cool to see famous people I look up to wearing my stuff. With pretty much everyone I just listed, they’re all their own individual. They all created themselves, you know? They’re the people that other people try to be like and they sort of set a big influence on the population. Their personalities are unique and I like their open-mindedness.”


S T U D E N T

The Agenda

L I F E

09

GROWING UP AS A MORMON IN A COMMUNITY OF WEED C O M I N G T O T E R M S W I T H FA I T H & B E I N G D I F F E R E N T T H R O U G H E L E M E N TA RY S C H O O L , H I G H S C H O O L , A N D B E Y O N D

Tre y L u s k

Photo courtesy of Oregon State Athletics

CONTD.

... Now, I’m not saying we should ban every college spirit gear day. Spirit weeks are fun - and the day dedicated to college wear allows students to declare who their people are, to align themselves with a sense of outward community and people like them and their families. But they bring me to ponder - who do I align myself with? Will I ever find that group of people who I feel like I innately identify with, other than the people at Beaverton High? I doubt it. The difference between me deliberately aligning myself with the people and mission of BHS and people sporting UO gear in the hallways is that I wasn’t born into any innate sense of community. Is my feeling of disassociation between these communities related to my family’s lack of participation in sports or is it representative of my nomadic past? In a way, I feel like Thoreau peering over his crappily whittled wooden porch railing at Walden Pond. An outcast in some sense of the word, struggling to grasp at straws of belonging (and failing), whether because some deep set self confidence issues, fears of moving away from the community which I have found at BHS, or fear of being alone in the lunchroom, relegated again to sit with Wayne, the kid with the peanut butter allergy, at a table alone with just us two, in second grade. Moving around as a kid so much denied me a sense of innate community somehow. Will I ever find that? Or do you think that this developed complex of moving to a new place and struggling desperately to make home and community will be a lifelong struggle? Whether or not you relate, what does community represent to you? Is a sense of community so necessary for success, happiness, or content? Struggling with community, belonging, and conformity are undoubtedly part of the human experience, but to what degree?

It took me a long time to realize that I was growing up in modern day Babylon. My mom had told me that some people drank coffee (what a shame to see them throw away their lives like that), but for the most part I didn’t hang out with a lot of people who did drugs when I was in sunday school as a kid, and those who did must have been fairly discreet because I never noticed. So I was more or less oblivious to the use of narcotics or any drugs in the average American’s life. It wasn’t until I was in highschool that I noticed that not doing drugs is crazy boring! As a theory, abstaining from drug usage seems alright, you have your unaltered motor skills and your parents trust you to stay home alone for a weekend. But in application my motor skills aren’t worth boasting over, and apparently there is no point of being home alone if you can’t do drugs! You know how many school dances I’ve been to where they won’t even play Michael Buble, a Mormon classic, and where afterwards I just went home and watched a movie? I should have been getting lit. Do you understand how disappointing it is to turn 18 and to not be able to smoke cigarettes? I do, tobacco free since ‘33, and boy is it a drag! It’s not even that I have a real desire to change my lifestyle it can just

Apparently there is no point of being home alone if you can’t do drugs!

be trying. It’s hard in the same way being a vegetarian in a family of regular people. You know what you’re doing is right and you don’t want to change, its just they all seem to being having so much fun with the steak. Elementary school was something different. Any mormon you’ll ever meet will tell you about how much they loved elementary school (often unprompted) because it was the one point in our life when we were completely normal. Back when you were afraid to take too many vitamins in lieu of an overdose and you thought kissing would get you pregnant. Most people go and change their views on a lot of these hotly contested topics but i’d be lying if I told you the last time a group of LDS youth were asked to hold hands I didn’t see people pulling their jackets down over there hands to avoid skin contact. When 100 Utah youth were asked to describe their ideal school, they responded in a perfect unison the events of High School Musical 2, but with less basketball and more crochet. If there was one thing that I wish that more

Photo courtesyby Robin Carr people would know about Mormons, and there is, its we love to be asked questions. A lot of people are used to religion being a private thing that people aren’t comfortable divulging. I can’t speak for other faiths but I can 100% tell you that this is untrue for mine. In fact you probably would never ask a question if you realized just how pumped we got about it. We talk about it in church for weeks afterward, even when they’re mean questions! Most of us are so positive that if you came and openly attacked our religion for 45 minutes we would send you a thank you note and a Book of Mormon the next day. We like talking about being Mormon more than we like being Mormon. We almost like questions more than jimmer fredette If that’s at all possible. The only thing we like more is Napoleon Dynamite, so unfortunately any conversation about the church will evolve into uncle rico quotes. But the sentiment is still appreciated A lot of the time people ask me if I’d prefer to have been raised in Utah, to grow up with more people like myself. I tell them absolutely not. While I value the friends I have in the Church, I wouldn’t be who I am without those of you who are not. I’m surrounded by absolutely lovely people who care for me who challenge me who love me for who I am. I love where I am more then anything in the world. Because living here I get the opportunity to be different. And at the end of the day, isn’t that all anybody wants? Without Regret, Trey Lusk

Q U O T E A B L E “I speak of promised lands Soil as soft as momma’s hands Running water, standing still Endless fields of daffodils and chamomile Rice under black beans Walked into Apple with cracked screens And told prophetic stories of freedom Found warmth in a Black queen for when I get cold Like Nat King, I’m doing the dad thing I speak of wondrous unfamiliar lessons from childhood Make you remember how to smile good I’m pre-currency, post-language, anti-label” - Chance the Rapper “When we speak, we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.” - Audre Lorde “Everyone will sit under their own vine and fig tree, and no one will make them afraid.” - Micah 4:4 “If one man can destroy everything, why can’t one girl change it?” - Malala Yousafzai “At some point in life the world’s beauty becomes enough. You don’t need to photograph, paint or even remember it. It is enough.” - Toni Morrison

Faith is something so integral to the identites of many. Whether it allows you to cope with loss, empowers you, helps you wake up in the morning, or enfuriates you, the role religion plays in shaping people is often a big one. How has it changed and influenced your life? Photo courtesy of Robin Carr


The Agenda

10

R E F L E C T I O N

Rubbing my back. Not rubbing Lightly running her nails over my shoulders. Childhood blanket Blankie I n t a t t e r s n o w, s o o l d . Smells like home Inhale. Exhale. Cherry wine Light acoustics Reminds me of chilly mornings Dawn adventures Junior year Before everything got real. If only I could go back. I m i s s t o d a y a l r e a d y. I m i s s t h i s m o m e n t a l r e a d y. I m i s s h e r a l r e a d y, a n d t h e c o n v e r s a t i o n i s n ’t f i n i s h e d . If only I could go back. Black gown Orange tassels Sea of faces I t h a s n ’t h a p p e n e d y e t A n d I m i s s i t a l r e a d y. If only I could go back. Inhale. Exhale.

- Lizzy Elkins

S E N I O R Y E A R , S T U D E N T L E A D E R S H I P, C H A N G E , A N D F I N D I N G M Y S E L F LIZZY ELKINS

If I were to go back in time and tell my freshman self what I’ve accomplished today, I wouldn’t believe myself. It’s insane who I’ve become over the course of the past four years. I have become who I want to be, and I’m proud of myself for that. I understand that I’m lucky to that extent and that high school may not be as meaningful to others as it has been to me, but nonetheless, it’s been a crazy four years and I am not the same person who walked in those gym doors under the tunnel of hands freshman year. Freshman me was still struggling with acceptance. All kinds of acceptance. Acceptance of my faith (or lack of one), acceptance of my height and gangly self, acceptance of my social status (lack of)- just general acceptance of who I am. I was still in the process, and still am kind of in the process, of learning to accept me for who I am. Learning to be okay with my height, learning to be okay with what types of relationships I tend to build with others, learning to not care what the majority of people say or think about me. There are so many things that have happened to me each successive year of high

outreach activities. As an underclassman, I regarded student leadership with an air of envy and dislike. I was jealous. I wrote an article about leadership my junior year for The Hummer and phrased it well, saying, “I thought it was basically pointless. I was most definitely scapegoating my anger, and jealousy at all the cool kids that effortlessly fit into the class of 2017 onto Leadership, and my misconceptions of it thereof. My dislike for the class

the experience I’ve had. I was urged to run for a class position second semester of my junior year by my two best friends at the time who were both on our ASB (all student body/associated student body) board. I reluctantly ran, and won, and I happily proclaim that it is one of the best things that’s ever happened to me in my whole life, aside from moving to Oregon and meeting Emmy, Emily, and Greer. I found myself through leadership.

“ ”

There are so many things that have happened to me each successive year of high school that just make me say, ‘wait, what?’

school that just make me say, “wait, what?”. I would never have guessed in a million years that any of this would happen to me. How did I end up with such a sense of happiness? Is it because I feel the need to be self sufficient because the only social constant in my life has been myself? (see page 4 for comprehensive detailing of my struggles with social acceptance and community!). Though that’s a possible answer, what I attribute my happiness to throughout high school, and what has caused me to grow the most, is, undoubtedly, student leadership. For those who don’t know what student leadership is at Beaverton, the student organization is in charge of everything from prom assembly/theme/venue/music to fundraising, to club acceptances, to student body

Photos on this page were all taken on disposable cameras at the 2017 second semester leadership retreat.

grew as freshman year went on.” I’m saying this because I want to be realistic - as I lovingly reflect on Leadership in the paragraphs that follow and how it shaped me, there will undoubtedly be people who read this that scoff and feel like leadership is elitist, exclusive, and only for popular kids. And I’m conceding now, and letting you know that, inadvertently and to an extent, that is true in some small way. But that isn’t

I don’t know what it is/was about that environment or the people in the class and organization, but something about it just allowed me to flourish. The people I met and grew close to pushed me to be a better me, and have allowed me to develop as such. Junior year was the best one out of my four years, and Leadership is one of the main reasons. It allowed me to transform. I feel like every year, I become a dif-

ferent person in a sense. Yes, I’m the ‘same’. I still inhabit the same body, and my name is still Lizzy Elkins. But I’m just different. I’m such a different person than I was my freshman year or my sophomore year. It amazes me that in the span of four years, I seem to have developed into who I am. And it amazes me more that it was only four years, and I’m going to live so much longer and become such a different person than who I am now. Change has happened to me fastly and radically. I was a different person first semester of Freshman year than I felt like second semester of Freshman year. Same with Sophomore year. But I’m not sure if I’ve changed that much senior year in the personality area- I’ve just realized more things about myself, like how I’m bad at accepting affection or increasingly struggle with anxiety. But this is beside the point. The most transformative moments of my life, and some of the happiest, too, all have to do with Leadership. And specifically the retreat. Where we all cram into a bus for a weekend each semester and trek to the coast for a few days of interpersonal relationship development, intense discussion about school culture, and bonding. This semester’s retreat was hard. It was amazing, but it was hard because so much of it caused me to reflect and realize that the world as I know it now isn’t going to be the same in a year. Maybe it’s not that significant, and maybe I’ll look back reading this and laugh at my naivety, but that’s how it feels. The thing about senior year that I love so much, aside from retreat, is that there’s been a focus around noticing and congratulating the accomplishments of my peers and that there has been so much reflection. Reflection which prompts deep talkTalk about what makes us who we are, talk about the struggles which we go through, talk about our hopes for the future, our fears, our dreams, and our aspirations. So much of this was prevalent on retreat. It was saddening, inspiring, and made me realize that I only have two months left of high school and still so much left to accomplish… at least sometimes I feel like that. But then other times when I reflect, I come out of that reflection with a sense of happiness and accomplishment. I’ve been shaped into who I am by choices, my mentors, my best friends, and my teachers. And I enjoy who I am and am thankful for how leadership has changed me.


The Agenda

11

P O E T R Y why i don’t go to starbucks and why i love mountains there are two reasons i don’t go to starbucks. one: fuck corporations. two: when you have an eating disorder, your mind is consumed by numbers. for example you will always know that on average a banana has 60 calories you will always remember the days where you managed to survive off 693 calories and you will always see nothing but 340 430 and 530 when you’re looking at the menu while your friend is asking themselves whether or not they want whipped cream your eyes will fix on the amount of calories in a white mocha and think to yourself their relation to every single bite of food you’ve had that day “tall iced americano please. no cream no sugar just black and... extra water.” you see, when you have an eating disorder some things stop making sense. you don’t know why you look in the mirror 29 times a day because really, nothing will have changed. but every time you will swear that you saw your stomach go in a little bit. maybe you can see a little bit more of a rib? you don’t know when sandwiches started to scare you so much. why anything even somewhat soluble will feel like a reward to yourself for not eating anything else that day you don’t know why a part of who you are that you didn’t even chose for yourself has left you stigmatized in the eyes of everyone around you who would dare ask enough questions to find out. the worth you will give yourself will be the number of calories you had that day on a scale of comparison to a world market where everyone else was priceless when you stop eating it will feel like you have gained control over something in a life that was accelerating so fast that you had lost my grip on the wheel you weren’t in charge of what you had to do tomorrow but fuck, you would be in charge of your price and the currency was weight

there are two reasons why i love mountains. one: sacred, sacred, sacred is Gaia. two: i have an eating disorder. when i stop eating it feels like i have gained control over something in a life-in a world- that is accelerating so fast, that i’ve lost grip on the wheel. but when i try to put my hand back it is the same hand that has been down my throat i have convinced myself that i have gained control over the illness that controls me. two: when i climb a mountain when i get to the top of an entity so pure, so natural, so bold and so fearless i am reminded that there is a better “small” to be than one that relies on starving myself. i have surmounted a force in this world that has no control. a mountain’s place in this world is permanent. they do not decide what we put around it, what we find within it, what we make of the beauty it offers. they exist in a world thriving off of the fact that they have no control and instead their focus lies on the beauty, perfection, and progression of everything in front of them i was on top of a mountain when i decided that the “small” i was as a child of this universe is enough. as a mountain makes home of the earth around it i vowed to make home of the body that is my own earth. i have an eating disorder and some days all i will see on a menu are 340 430 and 530. but my humanity and soul is not dependent on the numbers in my head it is not dependent coping mechanism that i use when i am so anxious i don’t know what to do. i am not this. some days i am sick but most days i am a person who sings in the car with people i love and that includes myself, a person who reads poetry and soaks in the fact that people have always felt the same, laughs until the ribs i once counted no longer feel like they’re existent most days i am a person who, despite the numbers, will drink a white mocha because i know that i am worth it. it’s all of this that makes me so pure, so natural, so bold and so fearless. i am a mountain i have become a force in this world that cannot be controlled. B y YA S M E E N A Y O U B

A RT I S T: A U T U M N S E V Y A B O U T T H E P O E T: YA S M E E N A Y O U B

I’m a Palestinian-American woman in Portland making good coffee, mediocre life decisions, and wild social change. I go to PSU and am heavily footed in my community by means of political organization and social activism. Written and spoken poetry have been ways for me to express feelings through the medium I know best - words. Most of my content is reflective of my personal life and how I have come to see the world through the identity that I hold in this system. I believe that both art and the youth have always had a place in revolution, and hope to contribute to the social, political, and cultural rebellion that I see both necessary and already occurring. My philosophy for this lifetime has been and always will be to do good, love all, stay human and stay woke. I am hopeful that my words and actions will always live up to that.


The Agenda

F I N A L E

T H E M O S T I M P O R TA N T T H I N G S I LEARNED IN HIGH SCHOOL

Lizzy Elkins List style is simple and straightforward. So, here are some of the most imporant things I learned in high school and other nuggets of pseudo-wisdom I feel like sharig about my daily modus operandi. 1. If you don’t feel like going to a class once in awhile, then don’t. Successfully skipping class is probably one of the best feelings on Earth, but you need to learn to balance that with your actual workload. Know when you need a day, or week, off. But then be ready to go back to the grind and put 110% of your effort in. Also make sure your parents are cool with it. 2. Teachers like you if you treat them like people. Because they are people! Also being a kiss-ass doesn’t hurt. Some of my favorite people I’ve met at BHS are the teachers. Asking questions, learning about their past, and having real conversations

Instead of working at something for reward or recognition, work at it because it feels good, and at the end you’ll feel good and proud of what you’ve accomplished.

before/after class with the people that teach you will improve the quality of your education tenfold. Teachers don’t like me because I’m “smart”. They like me because I like talking to them, I tell them what’s going on in my life, and I work as hard as I can. A lot of the time, if you’re buddies (not sure if this is the appropriate term) with a teacher, and you don’t get your work done or if you slack because you’ve had a rough week, they’ll be understanding. 3. A lot of hard work goes unnoticed. Instead of working at something for reward or recognition, work at it because it feels good and at the end, you’ll feel good and proud of what you’ve accomplished. 4. People will get mad if you have an opinion on anything. If you don’t like something and you’re verbal about it, people will get pissed off. Just ignore them because they are often irrelevant. If someone doesn’t like you, there are a few ways to go about

dealing with this, but the best way is to just not care and then to think it’s funny that they put so much effort into disliking you. Sometimes people are prompted, or feel compelled, to act petty, fake, or put out a front, depending on who they’re with. Just shrug it off. 5. Having a few best friends is always better than having a huge friend group. 6. Learn when to stop trying and learn when to keep trucking. If a teacher is telling you how to do something, and you’re not following their exact directions, don’t be surprised if you don’t do well. I was doing my own thing with FRQs my first semester of AP Lit and I was upset that I wasn’t doing better. Then I just did, literally, exactly what Munly said. Don’t spend too much time on the intro, write a solid thesis, use transitions like ‘furthermore’ and ‘thus’, and write as much as you can. Once I started doing exactly what she said, I started getting As. 7. CHILL OUT. Literally everyone needs to chill out. Go with the flow. 8. Accept your awesomeness. If you know you’re the shit then accept it! Some people haven’t come to terms with their awesomeness yet and it makes them uncomfortable. 9. You will only feel a sense of community somewhere if you actively attempt to find that community and contribute to it. I feel a community at Beaverton. I love my Beaverton family. I didn’t feel this sense of commradery until I tried to find it. 10. Nonfiction isn’t boring or lame. Seriously, I should have gotten into it way earlier in high school. It’s all I read now. I spend all my money on nonfiction books. It’s a problem. But also, fiction is pretty great too! If you’re stressed out, the best way to escape from the world is either a) going to the movie theatre, b) reading some horribly written romantic novel (Rainbow Rowell, anyone?) or c) eating three times your suggested daily caloric intake in one sitting (my suggestion, Taco Bell). 11. Dumbing yourself down won’t get you anywhere in life. Let your talents, passions, and brain-power shine. 12. My friend Noori said it best when discussing Beaverton and being genuine at the second semester leadership retreat. He said, “I’m me, and I’m awesome.” And I think that’s a good mantra. Embodying that type of positivity will help you not only in your own self happiness, but also just feeling fufilled and making friends. People like people who are happy and self-assured. You may not be like that all the time, but just feeling like that once in a while is a great way to boost your mental health and validate yourself.

S O L O N G , FA R E W E L L , A U F WIEDERSEHEN, GOODBYE! Parting thoughts and parting shots Lizzy Elkins So this is it. The last page. I used to have a kid’s book when I was little called The Monster at The End of This Book, and the star of the whole book was Grover, from Sesame Street. My mom would read it to me before I went to sleep and I thought it was so funny. Every time you turn a page, Grover gets more and more pissed off/confused/flabbergasted that you kept reading. He’s illustrated so he is holding the pages apart, really breaking a sweat, trying his hardest to keep you from advancing. My mom would read it in this weird Grover voice. It was awesome. I can’t remember what exactly happens at the end of the book, I’m assuming that Grover is the monster and I’m pretty sure he says something sweet, but I’m not certain. That brings me to this paper. The Monster at the End of This Paper. Much like The Monster at The End of This Book, I’m not really sure how this paper ends, how it is supposed to end, or how the future ends for me. But let’s hope it’s sweet. That’s redundant - of course I don’t know how the future ends. But, it’s fun to speculate… My future? Right now, I want to be involved in

MORE THANK YOUS & SHOUTOUTS

Thank you to #ASBlessed for being amazing. Thanks to the Class of 2017 for being the best class ever, on the face of the Earth, and throughout the span of time. I’m so excited to walk down the center aisle at the Chiles Center with you on Graduation day, and I could not have asked for better people to spend the past four years with. Thank you to Andrew Evans for teaching me everything I know about journalism and journalistic style. I wrote this whole thing in Lizzy style, but just know, I didn’t forget! Thank you to Claire Arnold for being my rock throughout the year. Thanks for doing everything for the Shadow Program when I gave up on life for two weeks. Thank you to Trey Lusk, Willow Rakoncay, Noori

Cherry, and Colin Crandal for being once-in-a-lifetime people. Thank you to Logan McRae for being a little sunbeam. I’m so excited to see you as a senior in a few years. You are going to go so far! Thanks to Jason Sarmiento for being you. I look forward to watching you give a Ted Talk someday. Thanks to Autumn Sevy for helping with this whole project so much! Thanks to Lauren Peterson for talking with me about this project and getting excited. Thank you to Holly Munly for introducing me to Toni Morrison. Thank you for taking the time to read this! I’m a little apprehensive showing this to some people, especially because concealed inside are some deep thoughts and radical beliefs. But I figured you only live once, so it’s whatever.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

some humanitarian aid work. Of course, my mind could (and probably will) change, but right at this moment, I dream of working with disadvantaged and illiterate women in poor countries and helping them get an education. I’ve written and studied a lot about how women’s education, specifically, helps countries and societies progress and it is something I’m extremely passionate about. Catch me in the hallway and I’ll go off about it. I’d either like to work in that field, or work with women after their liberation/escape from prostitution. Human trafficking is a huge problem (I-5 corridor, hello!?), and

we don’t address it nearly enough in the US or worldwide. Someday I hope to work and associate with women like Michelle Obama, Malala Yousafzai, and Rachel Maddow. Of course, I love physics and chemistry too. Especially quantum mechanics and nuclear chemistry. They’re beautiful, inspiring, earth-shattering, amazing... I could go on. In conclusion, I have some ideas about what I’d like to do, but who really knows. This time in our lives, in my life, is one of the best, I think. I know the next few months I’m going to look back on eventually and wish that I could relive them. It’s not the moment specifically, but the cumulation of moments. Looking back at September, I wish I knew how much fun I was going to have in October, December, and so on. And I know it’s the same right now and it’s the same for you, too. There are so many amazing things to come in life, and I have NO idea what they’re going to be. When I’m having a rough time, thinking about that doesn’t help, necessarily, but it makes me nostalgic. Maybe my anxiety magnifies this feeling, but do you ever just wish you could go back and be a kid again? With the blind devotion to your parents, one-dimensional views on things, simple pleasures, no stress, and you could crawl into your parents bed after you had nightmares. When I was in kindergarten, when we had snack time, we were given hand sanitizer and then we had animal crackers and milk. Now, everytime I smell hand sanitizer I get the taste of animal crackers and milk in my mouth and I get a flashback to watching Stellaluna in some cramped Arkansas classroom with a big window on one side. At times, when I think of all the Christmases and Fourth of Julys, Birthdays, Spring Breaks, etc. that I have yet to live through, I get exhausted thinking about how much stuff I have left to do in life. That’s pretty contradictory to my desire to go back and relive some parts of my life, but I bet you can relate. I was watching some Travel Channel show recently that was talking about ancient conservative Buddhist beliefs, and one of them was that, “life is just cycles of suffering”. I thought that was accurate, but bleak and disheartening. But also… it’s true. On the contrary, life is beautiful. The beauty makes up for a lot of the suffering. That and the food. The simplest beauty that I enjoy on a daily is just driving with my sunroof open and listening to music by myself, especially when it’s sunny. Toni Morrison once said, “at some point in life, the world’s beauty becomes enough. You don’t need to photograph, paint, or even remember it. It is enough”. I’ve been working recently so I can get to the point where it is enough. Maybe I’ll get there soon. So here it is. The Monster at The End of The Agenda - uncertainty. Thanks for reading.

The Agenda: Pilot Edition  

The pilot and 'first' edition of The Agenda focuses on growing up, fitting in, and leaving the nest.

The Agenda: Pilot Edition  

The pilot and 'first' edition of The Agenda focuses on growing up, fitting in, and leaving the nest.

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