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Honor grad goodbye Look at these books

Make the most of the vote Coming out on the field Young artists Gentrification frustration

Amplifier West Linn High School

West Linn, Ore. / Volume 99 / Issue 3 / Spring 2019

BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD The stories we tell have power. The narratives we choose to publish, the ideas we share, and the voices to which we give mainstream recognition matter. Representation matters. And not just for Hollywood and the entertainment industry. Representing every voice must be the primary ambition of the news industry as well. In many ways, the primary measure of power is how much of a voice someone is given in our forums of information. Who makes it on the news is a matter of who is seen and who has power. We at The Amplifier believe it is our obligation as reporters to tell the stories that would otherwise go unheard. We believe that journalism cannot be a passive profession. That it is our obligation to seek out the most pressing stories, whether they involve the highest-profile national figures or the most silenced and marginalized communities. That is why we have decided to focus this issue on telling the untold stories of West Linn students. Within the pages of this edition, you will find stories on gentrification and the racial wealth gap, the rising price of AP testing and the experiences of LGBTQ+ student athletes. With every issue we produce, we hope to directly address the issues that most impact students. As journalists, we need to make sure that everyone's voice has the opportunity to be shared. COVER PHOTO: Karly Durbin wipes away Gigi Schweitzer's tears after a walkout calling for the adoption of new health curriculum on Feb. 4. The school board voted unanimously to adoptv the curriculum on Feb. 25. Photo by Andrea Secchi.


At West Linn over the recent years, there have been plenty of examples of students using their voice. In May of 2018, there was a walkout against gun violence, this last February there was a walkout in support of the new health curriculum implementation in the school district and most recently in March, there was a walkout regarding growing environmental issues. In recent years, many students have expressed their voices through political activism, including Athena Abrahamsen, sophomore, who has been involved in advocating for against global warming for as long as she can remember. “My family’s always been pretty involved in environment causes,” Abrahamsen said. “Campaigning is

something that’s a really big passion for me.” Abrahamsen is an environmental activist, campaigning for a cleaner earth and teaching others about the dangers of global warming. For Abrahamsen, her passion for conservation comes from her desire to leave the earth better than she found it. “I like seeing our planet healthy, and it’s important for the next generation to have that opportunity to see a healthy planet too,” Abrahamsen said. “It hurts me knowing the earth is in trouble, and I just wanted to give back to something that’s supplied me with experiences.” So, how does Abrahamsen make sure her voice is heard in the fight against global warming? To start, Abrahamsen is involved in many programs around the state, working oneon-one with fellow conservationists,

Athena Abrahamsen attends the march for science, as part of an international protest for action on climate change. Photo courtesy of Athena Abrahamsen.

learning firsthand about what she can be doing to make an impact. “I volunteer with the Zoo Teens at the zoo, I’ve done internships at Dana Point at the Ocean Institute, and I’ve been a part of research programs,” Abrahamsen said. “It’s really cool because I’m able to have direct interaction about conservation with the public.” One of the key ways that Abrahamsen campaigns for conservation is through social media. By creating an Instagram account called @love.our. oceans dedicated to promoting healthier oceans, Abrahamsen hopes to use social media to reach people from all around the globe. “It’s pretty awesome that we are in an age where social media is so prevalent because it allows us to share so much information,” Abrahamsen said. “By having an account, it’s allowing people to see that there are worldwide problems that they can have a direct impact on.” As young students, Abrahamsen and her fellow activists can struggle with making sure their voices are heard by those in leadership positions. Having little influence over elected officials is a problem that students activists have, but Abrahamsen knows there are solutions to this problem. “Without the ability to vote, we as students don’t have a direct impact on our government,” Abrahamsen said. “But in the future, we can educate ourselves on what our elected officials are going to do about the problems that matter to us.” While having no voting influence is a clear disadvantage for student activists like Abrahamsen, there are quite a few advantages to student advocates, especially in a school setting, according to Abrahamsen. “There is definitely a benefit to being in such a large environment, be-

In one of the many ways she advocates for conservation, Athena Abrahamsen, sophomore, participated in the student strike for climate with her friend Anna Nielsen, sophomore. Photos courtesy of Athena Abrahamsen.

cause you are around so many people” Abrahamsen said. “If you have a classroom of 25 and you only reach three, that’s still huge.” By taking advantage of things like social media and the school environment she is always in, Abrahamsen makes sure her voice is heard as a student activist. As for the future, Abrahamsen hopes to see other students raising their voice as she continues to use her own.“I’m not going to stop trying to educate others about our earth,” Abrahamsen said. “I want people to have the experience of being able to change their reality.”





CROSSING THE LINE? Red Cross accused of maintaining unfair blood donation requirements BY MATILDA MILNER coverage editor

Donating blood is one of many ways people can give back to society. It’s highly encouraged in school settings, with Red Cross clubs and blood drives. There are, however, some specific rules surrounding who can and can’t give blood: Anyone under 16, below a certain weight relative to their height, or notably, if you are a man who has had sex with a man in the last year. The Red Cross website lists this action as a factor that would put a potential donor at risk for HIV/AIDS. A lifetime ban was put on any man who had had sex with a man from giving blood in 1983. In 2015, it was altered to a 12-month ban. While this was progress, the next year would challenge if this new rule went far enough.

“Thinking back all the way to the Pulse nightclub shooting, that was a huge tragedy for the LGBT community, and one of the best ways for people to help was to donate blood,” Sydney Steinberg, president of the Gender Sexuality Alliance club, said. “That rule prevented many of the people in the LGBT community from donating blood.” This rule exclusively bars men who have engaged in sex with other men from giving blood. However, according to the Center for Disease Control, HIV is more closely linked to anal sex than gay sex. This rule was instituted to save lives, but the nation is in desperate need of more blood donations, and millions of healthy Americans are barred from giving blood. Some students, like Ethan Arterberry, junior, have concerns about the system. “I

would imagine if you know you have AIDS, or you know you have HIV or some form of an STD that can transfer through blood or some disease that can transfer through blood, you’re probably not going to be giving blood because you know you would hurt somebody.” And yet, the rule has remained in place since the ‘80s, drawing criticism from media sites such as TED and the Huffington Post. “I understand where it’s coming from, in that you don’t want to risk infecting somebody with a disease that can only be managed instead of cured, but that we’re having breakthroughs right now which is really awesome,” Steinberg said. Certainly there was no illintent when the rule was enacted in the ‘80s, and the revision in 2015 was meant to be a step

Photo by wlhsNOW staff.

in the right direction. But the continuation of these regulations perpetuates ideas that were really brought to the forefront during the AIDS epidemic. “I think there’s better ways to go about it, I think they could ask, “Have you been tested for STDs in the past month.” Even if they changed it to, “Have you had sex with men since you’ve been tested for STDs, and has it been a

different man,” and that kind of thing,” Steinberg said. “I think that they would be able to get so many more blood donations, and it wouldn’t send this message that gay men are, like, dirty or infected in this way, and allow us to help our community in times of crisis.”

Why now? Academic seminar used to explore health topics BY ZOE BARNETT mental health correspondent Academic seminar is the informational class students go to on half days in between third and fourth period. In concordance with state health standards, it is required to have a certain amount of instructional time on topics like Erin’s Law and micro-aggressions. There are combinations of people that help create the lessons for academic seminar. Some of the lessons have been created with a combination of administrator’s, counselors and teachers. The Erin’s Law lessons were created by a group of health and PE teachers and school counselors from across the district. “Erin’s Laws are things we absolutely have to talk about, they are mandated,” Michelle Bonham, learning specialist, said. “Those are things we absolutely have to discuss.” “Statistics show that 51% of teens say someone else says they seem stressed

at least once a month. Teens report that during the school year they have an average stress level of 5.8 on a 10 point scale, compared with a level of 4.6 during the summer,” Kathleen Smith, a licensed professional counselor, Ph.D., said.

“I think it’s important for kids to see that there are lots of adults in the building who care and support them.” -Michelle Bonham “We are finding ways to cope with stress, in some of the lessons to help better equip students, because being a teenager’s hard,” Bonham said. “Trying to navigate your way in the world can be difficult.”

During the previous years, instead of academic seminar, there was something called academic time where students could use their free time to study and talk to teachers, if needed. But they also took this time freely for hanging out. “I know at a school like this there’s a lot of pressure to do a whole lot of different things and there’s value in having some down time,” Trevor Menne, assistant principal, said. “So I’m not going to say there was no value in it last year, but we have this time and there are better ways to involve students.” Teachers tend to post on their school website or even Google Classroom for when you might miss a class, because life can get busy outside of the classroom with extra curriculars whether it’s sports or theatre. “I think it’s important for kids to see that there are lots of adults in the building who care and support them,” Bonham said.

“I know that academic time has been a thing for a while, and whenever there is any kind of broad, sweeping change, people have a hard time with it, myself included.” The overall idea of academic seminar is misjudged by the student body. “The idea behind academic seminar is that students will stay with a teacher for four years, and a group of students for four years,” Menne said. “By the time it’s ramped up, people will have a safe place to go.” Although the topics that are discussed in academic seminar and the health curriculum are similar, they are taught separately and in different environments. “Our health and wellness teachers have been working really hard trying to figure out and trying to redesign the whole curriculum to get those standards in there,” Menne said. “But I certainly don’t think where we are now is the end product. I think it’s going to continue to change and evolve, hopefully to be better and better.”

Admin to cut Honor Grad program BY SKYLAR MOORE copy editor In the past, Honor Grad has been something for students to work toward achieving, but for incoming grades, this program will no longer be available. The recent decision to take away Honor Grad status will only affect freshman and future classes, so the sophomore, junior and senior class will still have the opportunity to earn this title when they graduate. There were various reasons for taking away the title of Honor Grad, however the biggest one was related to how the program was built, and the requirements it forced students to fill. In order to earn Honor Grad status, students were required to complete 20 hours of community service, participate in at least one co-curricular activity during their junior or senior year, have met the state test scores in reading, writing

and math and have a total of six AP or honors classes by the time they graduate. The six AP or honors classes had to be composed of two credits from math or science, two credits from humanities and two choice credits, which is where the problems with Honor Grad status surfaced. “What students have done sometimes is taken a class that they’re not interested in, like AP Lang when they’re science kids.” Krystal Toderick, guidance counselor said. “They love science, but they really have to get that AP English credit for the Honor Grad requirement.” With the intention of getting into the Honor Grad program, students forced themselves to take challenging AP or honors classes that they didn’t enjoy, or had no interest in. “It causes them a lot of stress and anxiety and it really impacts them,” Toderick said. One of the main motives behind students overloading

themselves with AP classes they aren’t interested in is connected to college. For students seeking ways to add to their college applications and improve their chances of attending their dream school, Honor Grad status can look like a positive booster. While it is nice for students to have something that can prove their academic excellence throughout high school, colleges don’t look at whether or not they were an Honor Grad member. Being a part of the Honor Grad program can’t help or hurt students when they are applying to college since it is not a nationally recognized program. Honor Grad is unique to West Linn, so the achievement doesn’t mean anything to a university looking at college applications. This doesn’t mean that Honor Grad is useless though. For many students, being a member of Honor Grad was a personal accomplishment

that was invigorating solely for the individual. “I think it’s definitely a pride thing,” Toderick said. “And being able to share with your community, with your friends and your family that you’re an Honor Grad.” With the program being taken away, students will have to look to other ways to achieve this.

Illustration by Philip Chan.

“I think there are still some questions around it, so nothing’s official,” Toderick said. “Honor Grad can’t be used for college stuff because it’s not systematic across the nation. Something like National Honor Society, the expectations are the same for every student, whereas our Honor Grad program is very unique to West Linn so colleges can’t look at it because it’s a little bit subjective.” “(Honor Grad) is more of a validation of them doing really well in school,” Toderick said. “And so we’re hoping to have other ways to do that through National Honor Society, through CTE programs, through World Language Honor Society, all these different societies that we have. We want to recognize that kids are doing really well and challenging themselves in areas that interest them.”




LEFT: Everybody has a favorite book, and Andy West is lucky enough to get the opportunity to teach his. “‘The Great Gatsby’, despite being almost one hundred years old, still cuts right to the heart of America, it’s society and its values,” Andy West said. Photo by Ethan Gill

BELOW: Sometimes, it’s hard to narrow down a favorite book from a pool of great books, according to Anna Crandall. “I actually really like the whole Sophomore curriculum. I really like all of it, it’s a great year to teach,” Anna Crandall said. Photo by Ethan Gill

Mirror, window and door English teachers discuss the current English curriculum BY ETHAN GILL co-arts and culture editor English classes have developed a more robust look at life for many different types of people. Students read about sexual identity, prejudice, injustice, love, hate, forgiveness and trauma from people who are from many different backgrounds and parts of the world. “In an increasingly global world, our students need to be more aware of other experiences beyond their own.” English teacher Andy West said. “That’s been the driving factor behind getting more protagonists who are different from the the census based average background of students.” The English curriculum is full of options to read, ranging from classical works like “Romeo and Juliet” to modern works, like “A

Thousand Splendid Suns”. Two very different books, with very different themes, which, according to English teacher Ryan Mooney, is to exercise empathy. “It’s an exercise in empathy and understanding. Understanding people’s stories and being able to respond with your own thoughts,” Mooney said. “One of the things you can do as an English teacher is to provide opportunities for students to see things from perspectives that are different from their own. And a lot of the writing that we choose, are things that are outside the of the perspective of a lot of West Linn students,” Mooney said. Most contemporary books that are read in English courses, compared to books written further in the past, feature protagonists with diverse backgrounds and character arcs. Books like

“Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe”, “Speak”, “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet”, and even non-fiction works like “Between the World and Me”. These works, through their diversity of ideas and background provide many great opportunities for students. Opportunities that according to West, and Anna Crandall, English teacher, are helpful for students to grow. “What we try to do in English is to represent a large section of society, as many different viewpoints and voices as we can. So, in that we are going to be representing minorities and I think that’s important to read about experiences, that you have, or have not experienced in life,” Crandall said. “A number of us teachers, a few weeks ago, went to a lecture by Angie Thomas. And she said an interesting quote,

this is not her quote, but she said that a book can be a mirror, a window, or a door,” West said. The quote was attributed by Rudine Simms Bishop, a former professor at the Ohio State University. “It can be a mirror, if the people and events inside reflect your own experiences. It can be a window if it allows the reader to look into a world that’s different from their own. And it can be a door if it allows people to step into, and participate in a world that’s different from their own,” West said. Three different types of stories, all equally important, according to Crandall. “It’s very important to open the doors, to look through the windows, and to see the mirror,” Crandall said. “I think by trying to represent different voices, that’s what we are trying to do.”


Amplifier West Linn High School

West Linn High School 5464 West A. Street West Linn, OR 97068 503-678-7800

PHILIP CHAN co-editor in chief WALLACE MILNER co-editor in chief MATILDA MILNER coverage editor SKYLAR MOORE copy editor RORY CHEEVERS broadcast co-editor in chief ANDREA SECCHI photo editor ZOE BARNETT mental health correspondent IRIS BRUCKER co-opinions editor REMY GOTTSCHLING co-arts and culture editor GILLIAN McMAHON advice columnist DELANEY CALLAGHAN people editor ETHAN GILL co-arts and culture editor KALEIGH HENDERSON current events editor MEGAN RIEHLE assistant photo editor PAIGE RODRIGUEZ blogs manager GAVIN TURNER co-opinions editor CODY WHITE web editor GLENN KRAKE adviser TWITTER: @wlhsamplifier @wlhsNOW FACEBOOK: @westlinn.amplifier INSTAGRAM: @wlhsNOW SNAPCHAT: wlhsNOW YOUTUBE: wlhsNOW The Amplifier is published quarterly by the West Linn High School Journalism Class. Opinions expressed in commentaries and editorials represent only those of the writer, and are not necessarily the opinions of West Linn High School, its administration, faculty, staff or student body.

UNIFIED SPORTS RISES TO NEW HEIGHTS BY GAVIN TURNER co-opinions editor Unified Sports is an option for students with special needs. The club gives students with special needs an athletic outlet and a way to express themselves. West Linn participates in basketball and soccer and the club is also partnered with the Special Olympics. In 2017, West Linn was named a Special Olympics Unified Champion School to honor the efforts of unified club to promote inclusivity. “Special Olympics contacted me about five or six years ago to start up a Unified Team, which pairs typical athletics with kids with special needs to form a Unified Sports team. So I said I’d be happy to do that, and I started the team up five years ago,” Julie Holson, Unified Sports Manager and learning specialist said. While West Linn presents students with special needs with the opportunity to compete against one another, many other schools have not yet adopted the program. However, Unified Sports is gaining traction and popularity, and will likely be implemented in more schools and districts.

“When we first started this program, our competitions were fairly sparse because there was probably only about five teams in the local area that we could play against. Now there are certainly more teams in the Portland Metro Area,” Holson said. “Before it was just us managers trying to figure this out. But now athletic directors have a meeting once a year and then they put schedules on the schedule for the NSAA. We are now NSAA sanctioned.” Unified Sports gives students with special needs options they may not have been able to explore before. It allows them to express themselves and learn the same lessons that are taught while being a part of any sports team. “To be able to have an opportunity to play on the big stage in front of your peers is pretty huge,” Holson said. “And having everybody have an opportunity to do something they wouldn’t typically have an opportunity to do is exciting.” Unified Sports is not only a great way for students to stay active or participate in the spotlight. It is also a perfect opportunity for them to bond and make new friendships with people who share common interests. Katelin Bergerson, sophomore’s favorite part of Unified

basketball and soccer is “Definitely making new friends.” Bergerson has been playing both basketball and soccer since freshman year, and plans to continue doing so. “Sometimes I play goalie and sometimes I play midfield,” Bergerson said. “For basketball we practice every Friday, but for soccer we practice about two days a week.” Everyone is welcome to participate in the Unified Club. In fact, new members would help the club expand into different fields, not sports related. “We want to encourage anybody who might be interested in an expansion, because we had the Unified Sports but now we also have Unified Robotics and we’re looking at starting a thespian group,” Holson said. While not all students are able to participate in sports, Unified is still a place where students are able to feel at home and make new connections. “If anybody can’t get involved in sports and stuff, the first and third Wednesday of every month we have pizza, we play video games and just hang out,” Holson said. “So we love to have people join the club that way.”

Katelin Bergeron, sophomore, has played on the Unified program’s soccer and basketball teams since her freshman year. Photo by wlhsNOW staff.






If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that the voices of students can change what is on the political consciousness of the entire country. Nationwide movements like March for Our Lives and the School strike for climate have brought back memories of the anti-war and civil rights movements of the late ‘60s. While at the same time local movements, like the health curriculum walkout, have proven to older generations that students not only talk the talk but walk the walk. Take the recent unanimous school board vote to introduce an entirely new health curriculum that came after a mini-movement at West Linn High School that lead to things like the walkout and more students themselves

speaking up. This movement, largely being created and marketed over social media, was one of many accounts of how much power students really have. “We really have an opportunity to change the mind of people who can end up making our world so much better,” Audrey Lipsey, junior, said in a recent interview about the school board vote. “You always hear the opinions of the parents who don’t like this or don’t like that, but once students get their voices heard it all changes.” The discussion of the power of teen influence has reached the Oregon Capital, as according to the Statesman Journal, new legislation has been floated by many congresspeople that would bring the voting age down to 16. In a press conference after the announcement, Senator Shemia Fagan said, “16 year-olds are subject to the criminal justice system...they’re begging for us to take action to protect their future.” It’s interesting that this proposed legislation comes at a time when

the Democrats hold a supermajority in both the house and the Senate of the Oregon state congress, as well as having both senators and all but one representative in

Why should the people who continue to deny the fact that the issues we face are valid, are real and important, be the ones who continue to elect politicians, who care more about money in their wallets, than the lives of the future of America? Congress. It’s without a doubt a pro-Democrat bill, as around 35% of Oregonians identify as a Democrat and historically younger generations are more liberal than their parents, so expect to see some heavy resistance from Republicans in places like eastern Oregon. This bill feels out of nowhere, but it’s refreshing to see politicians notice the needs of younger generations, as it feels like

we’ve been dominating the political scene for a while now so actually having the constitutional power to change it ourselves is a ginormous step. Think about it, 16 yearolds are legally allowed to work, meaning that we have to pay taxes, remember taxation without representation? We have to drive and pay for gas, so shouldn’t we have a say in who controls those roads? We have to deal with the effects of climate change and years of failed Reaganomics and increased gun violence and rising debt. So why should baby boomers, for example, have more say in the future, than the people who actually have to deal with the full force and effects of their missteps? Why should the people who continue to deny the fact that the issues we face are valid, are real and important, be the ones who continue to elect politicians who care more about money in their wallets, than the lives of the future of America? We are the future, and we need to take a stand.


How do I forgive someone who objectified me? Sincerely, Not An Item - Dear Not An Item, First, I want to admire you for even wanting to forgive in the first place. Forgiveness is one of the most powerful tools we have, and a lot of times, people have a hard time using it. It’s easy to hate and feel anger; it’s harder to leave it behind. Something to understand about forgiveness is it doesn’t necessarily mean you go back to the way things are. I once lost a friend when I stood up to a bully who happened to be popular, and she didn’t want him to be mad at her. About a year later I got a sweet apology from her saying she didn’t expect me to forgive her, but she still wanted to apologize. I did forgive her because she was sincere, and I missed her, as she had been one of my closest friends. In that situation, I forgave her because she recognized that she had made

a mistake and apologized. The apology is necessary, however, as it means the person acknowledges what they did and wants to make amends. If she hadn’t asked, I wouldn’t have forgiven her. It’s crappy to experience, and I’m sorry it happened to you. If it was a close friend of yours, that’s even worse. I’d say forgive, but don’t forget. Set some boundaries with this person. Let them know that you forgive them, but if they objectify you again, it’ll have a different outcome. I’d also say ask yourself: why do you want to overlook? What about this situation and this person makes you want to let go of any resentment you have? I forgave my friend who hurt me because I missed her because she was one of my closest friends. Sometimes just asking yourself what is inspiring you to forgive will make it easier. Sincerely, Amber Leigh Is there an afterlife? Sincerely, Questioning - Dear Questioning, Personally, I’m an agnostic. I have no idea about an afterlife, but I would like to hope there is one. It would be calming to know there’s a place where you can be at peace. If there’s an afterlife, who knows if it’s going to be like “The Good Place” or like our picturesque idea of heaven? I can’t say if there is or not. Some

people who have had a neardeath experience will say there is, others say there’s not. I like to believe that whatever your belief is, that’s what death is. If you’re a Christian who believes in Heaven, that’s where you’ll end up. If you’re an atheist, who finds the concept of religion ridiculous, when you die, it all goes dark. If you’re Hindu and believe in reincarnation and the power of karma, you’ll probably live again. I can’t say any of this is true, but I don’t know it’s not either. The reality is, I have no idea. The truth is, we don’t know what happens to us when we die, so focus on the life we have now because it’s one thing we can be sure is real. Sincerely, Amber Leigh

What are some healthy coping mechanisms? Sincerely, Stretched Thin - Dear Stretched Thin Having a healthy way to cope with stress, depression, grief, and more is vitally important. I’m glad you’re curious about what options you have that are beneficial to you. First thing, having a healthy coping mechanism means it doesn’t harm your physical or mental health. For example, smoking is not a healthy coping mechanism. Some of the best ways to deal with stress are unplugging from the world, like walking or getting off your phone.

Advice columnist answers student questions

It’s important to figure out what you like. I find taking a good walk around my neighborhood (when it’s not raining), helps improve my mood significantly; but you might be someone who doesn’t like that. Try a couple of things out. If it’s stress from school that’s getting you down, take a break from studying and take a walk. Clean a part of your house you’ve been putting off (like your room). Turn on some music and listen carefully. Make yourself a snack and look out a window. Try to avoid looking at your phone, and explore parts of your home you weren’t aware of before. If you’re feeling sad, maybe over a breakup or a family emergency, it’s time to treat yourself. Turn on your favorite film, make yourself a tray of your favorite snacks (I like to make popcorn and cut up some green apples), and relax on the couch. Don’t worry about other things; you do you. If you’re feeling depressed and this feeling has persisted for more than two weeks, you should go and talk to a trusted adult about getting some help. When it comes to depression, some simple coping mechanisms aren’t going to help you in the long run. Sincerely, Amber Leigh What do I do to help a friend of mine who always gets in trouble? Sincerely,

Watching from the Sidelines - Dear Watching from the Sidelines, One part of friendship (really any relationship) is open communication. If your friend getting into trouble means YOU get into trouble, it’s time to have a conversation. You need to tell them how it makes you feel, and how it’s a bit destructive to catch yourself in drama regularly. Say: “I love you and want to continue our friendship, but it impacts me when you constantly get into trouble like this.” If your friend is just someone who gets themselves in trouble, but you’re not apart of it, that’s a different story. It’s okay to voice your concerns, telling them that you find it exhausting to see them regularly tied up in drama. It’s also okay to evaluate your friendship. People who have trouble surrounding them will pull you into their hurricane. Sometimes the most beautiful people have the messiest lives, and you might need to evaluate if you want to continue putting up with it or if you want to move on. It’s okay to say, “I need to step away from this friendship for my health.” It’s not saying you’re abandoning this person; you’re just allowing yourself some breathing space. Sincerely, Amber Leigh Headshot illustration commissioned by Kimi @sun.vitamin.






The newest heroine of female representation BY PAIGE RODRIGUEZ blogs manager

seemingly possible. However, this hasn’t stopped internet trolls from trying to tank the success of the female-led movIron Man, Thor, Captain America, Spi- ie. Rotten Tomatoes even had to remove der-Man. The Marvel Cinematic Universe its “want to see” audience option due it’s has had several superhero origin story increasingly negative comments and ratfilms over the years, and their names ings ahead of its release. don’t just stop there. From Halloween Despite these comments pumped with costumes to figurines, these characters hateful comments on infecting Marvel are everywhere. They follow us all the with “SJW nonsense”, the movie has a way from childhood through significance that goes far beadulthood with their wide yond cinematic and financial range of entertainment. So Having a woman success. why isn’t there a wider range While there is promise at the forefront of superheroes? that the movie will do well, of a superhero Two years ago the world the importance of having a movie is the was taken hold by the rewoman at the forefront of a obvious cultural lease of the first female lead superhero movie is the obvisignificance that ous cultural significance that superhero movie since 2005, “Wonder Woman”. Although will make this movie a recwill make this there was an excitement felt movie a recognized ognized milestone for generthroughout the general popations to come. milestone for ulation of superhero fans, With the majority of sugenerations to this excitement was most perhero movies and supercome. felt by women. The same has heroes, in general, being been felt with the release of men, young women haven’t “Captain Marvel.” exactly had a female superhero to look As Marvel Studios’ first female-led up to like young men have. Of course, superhero movie, there is a lot of pres- young girls still look up to the iconic male sure on its success. Brie Larson herself Marvel and DC characters but seeing is a brilliant actress, her gripping perfor- someone who looks like you in a heroic mance in “Room” won her best actress at position makes you feel empowered and the Academy Awards as well as the Gold- represented. Which is something girls en Globes and BAFTA in 2016. And with are desperately in need of, especially in a Marvel movies like “Avengers: Infinity time in their life when they’re growing up War” that went on to gross $2.48 billion and trying to figure out their place in the at the worldwide box office, its triumph is world.

Image courtesy of Marvel Studios.

The impact of youth art from the creators themselves BY IRIS BRUCKER co-opinions editor

Art is an incredibly important part of society and culture. It’s always been a nuanced and expressive thing, that contrasts everyday life, and our sometimes very structured modern era. It brings people together, and spreads important messages. It is an interpretation of ideas and experi-

ences, from people, to events, even dreams. Art is often associated with old classics, like antique paintings, Greek statues, and vintage photographs. It’s an interesting thing to reflect on those pieces from past decades, and the experiences and ideas that shaped those certain interpretations. It’s a snapshot of time, that shares how people thought. Things like beauty standards, political ideas, and existential statements. However it’s not just the past that we should observe, but our modern day too. Especially art created by our youth, who are the voices and bodies of our next generation. See-

The cover for Ethan Arterberry’s latest album “never do those games” represents what Arterberry says is a particularly personal project. “I think people are most creative and vulnerable in the shower,” Arterberry said. “This album has a lot of songs where I try to figure stuff out, so it’s my shower album.” Art courtesy Ethan Arterberry. Photo by Thomas Mor.

ing their interpretation of life is an important tool to better our world, and understand other points of interest. The artwork of students should not be ignored, but rather encouraged and acclaimed. Children are also already experiencing new hardships while growing up, which can be a cause of confusion and overwhelming feelings and emotions. And for many, creativity is a way to cope with that, as well as be an expressive outlet. One teen is using her creativity and experiences to create intriguing music and positive messages. Adeline Averill, sophomore is an aspiring artist who covers many areas of the field. She sings, plays the viola, violin, flute, and takes particular interest in the acoustic guitar. Growing up with two music teachers as parents, she has always had a creative environment. Inspired by her mother, and older classic artists like Elton John, she tries to appreciate more nuanced lyrics. “It really helps me if I’m in like a really stressful situation. It just gives me like a plug to let go, or go write songs or something. It just helps me cope,” Averill said. She also uses her talent to help other peers, and create relatable content. “I think a lot of music in our modern era, helps a lot of kids get through things.” Averill said. “That’s the kind of thing I like to do with my music, and write about, like important situations, life lessons. I’m trying

to help other people through my music,” When it comes to sharing her music, Averill uses platforms such as Youtube, Instagram, Spotify and Soundcloud. Another teen is spreading her passion through art, and the medium of photography. Faith Varga, senior is a photographer who takes senior portraits, as well as sports photography which have been published in places like the

“All the artists I know... use their art to express themselves. It’s just a beautiful thing, someone can just pick up an instrument, paintbrush, or pen and just start creating.” -Ethan Arterberry West Linn Tidings. She finds interest in all aspects of the medium. “Just that action of being able to freeze the motion within, like the players movement, is just really intriguing to me.” Varga said “I’m always in my happy place when I’m taking pictures.” “People, especially seniors have the moments to look back on. Like when I get the perfect candid shot, or great sports action. It’s really nice to be able to capture those moments for

them,” Varga said. Another young creator is using music to interpret thought and feeling, and producing something beautiful as well. Ethan Arterberry, junior, is a student musician who uses multiple instruments like keyboards, basses, and of course his own vocals to produce his songs. He shares his music with others on multiple platforms like Soundcloud, Spotify, and Apple Music. “Things like places and experiences inspire me alot, but also other music too,” Arterberry said. It seems his ideas reflect mine, with many people inspired by other people sometimes, art is communicative, and so incredibly important when it comes to sharing a common idea. “All the artists I know, they all, like, use their art to express themselves, it’s just a beautiful thing, someone can just pick up an instrument, paintbrush, or pen and just start creating, and thats so cool, I love it,” Arterberry said. These examples of young musicians, and their own explanation of art is truly eye-opening. Art not only is a way to express themselves, but also a way to bring people together by appreciating something beautiful together, especially useful with young people. In such a monumental period in someone’s life, teens could definitely use something that bonds and loves, which is exactly what art possesses.





An inside look into student elections BY GILLIAN McMAHON advice columnist Election season is coming up, and with the conversation about Democratic candidates to oppose President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential race, people are wondering more about our local elections. Every year, the student body votes for its ASB officers as well as its May Court later in the spring. You have the opportunity to vote for multiple candidates, and it’s a way for more students to get involved. When running ASB, students must apply and have an interview with a panel. “Submitting an application and interviewing with a panel are only half of your points,” Annie Kaiser, student leadership teacher, said. “The other half of their weighted total points is the student body vote.” “We use an online voting site called Election Runner,” Kaiser said. “Then I weigh and tally up the votes before bringing it to the principal, confirming the final tabulations. The process for running for ASB isn’t that cut and dry. It involves campaigning on the candidates part, and careful planning.” “The tricky part is you can only spend $50,” Carey Stell, junior ASB officer, said. “Once everything is approved by Ms. Kaiser though, you’re good to go.” “You want to get to school right as it opens to get the best spot for your posters,” said Stell. “If you don’t, no one will ever see your campaign.” In any election, some attributes make you a better

candidate that’s more likely to win. In a national election, that’s charisma and appeal to the people, and it’s not much different in student elections.

“A successful candidate has spent time in service to our school and community. They have made an effort to create authentic relationships with students across all grades.” -Annie Kaiser

“A successful candidate has spent time in service to our school and community,” Kaiser said. “They have made an effort to create authentic relationships with students across all grades.” “Our applicants need to do well on the interview and application to succeed,” Kaiser said. “They can’t just depend on the vote.” That holds for national elections as well. Throughout past presidential elections, despite who might hold the popular vote, it doesn’t say who will become president. In the 2016 presidential election, despite Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton holding the

popular majority of more than 2.9 million people, Republican Donald Trump won instead. A movement has grown to get rid of the Electoral College that ultimately decides in favor of the National Popular Vote. This bill has 172 of the 270 electoral votes required to be enacted. If that movement works and manages to pass, the string of successful candidates we’ll see will be different from those elected in the past. Even in our own student body, questions arise about the nature of student elections. People are curious if they favor certain people over others, and whether there is truly a fair system. Most questions arise around the election of our May Court, a long-standing tradition reaching its 99th year. “Some differences with May Court and ASB: there’s little to no campaigning for May Court,” Kaiser said. “Yet, it’s a primary focus for ASB candidates.” “The application is different for each,” Kaiser said. “The May Court applicants prepare a one to three minute presentation to share with a small panel of community members and officers, ASB officer candidates have a 10-minute interview with staff and senior ASB officers.” While the student elections might be more simplistic than someone running for mayor or a United States presidential election, all elections have their inner workings that all should learn.

Infographic by Kaleigh Henderson.

COMING OUT A difficult personal choice for LGBT+ athletes BY MEGAN RIEHLE assistant photo editor In the study “Out On The Fields” nearly 9,500 athletes spoke about their experiences with homophobia in the sports community. This study showed that 72% of lesbians under the age of 22, do not come out to their teammates. Whether it be football, dance, lacrosse or rowing, no matter where the game plays, people from all walks of life come to encourage their favorite players and teams. Riley Kawanesikayuga, junior, has been involved in roller derby for two years now. Kawanesikayuga came out as a lesbian freshman year, “That process didn’t go great, but my teammates and the people that I bonded with in derby helped me through that.” Kawanesikayuga has tried many sports, but roller derby in particular had a very inclusive culture to it. “Roller derby is a very LGBT-inclusive sport. I don’t know where but I re-

member seeing a study somewhere that said 65 to 70% of people who play the sport are a part of the LGBT community in some way. It was fascinating for me to hear that I’m with people like me.” The coxswain of the men’s varsity rowing team is a young woman named Jordan Bancroft, junior. The coxswain is the person who is in charge, and steers the boat. Bancroft identifies as bisexual and says she never really came out to her teammates in the traditional sense, but she is very open about her sexuality. Some of her teammates know that she had a girlfriend when she joined the team. “The ones that are my friends, were supportive and everything. Everyone else didn’t care.” Bancroft said. While her coming out experience with her team was blissfully uneventful for the most part, she endured some discomfort. “It’s just the culture of making gay jokes and otherwise offensive jokes. I tried to stop it when I

heard it, but there is only so much you can do without them hating you for sucking the ‘fun’ out of life.” When Morgan Anderson, junior, joined the Debutantes, her sexuality never caused any problems. “The girls on the Debs are amazing people, we are a team of 20 girls, and we don’t agree on everything, but that comes with the territory.”

Morgan is comfortable with her teammates, enough to open up to them about her experience with coming out. “I am open about my sexuality, and the girls pass zero judgements. They show love for everyone on our team no matter what. It was a bit awkward at first, but with time everyone just knew and no one really cared. My coming out didn’t change my relationship with my teammates.” Photo illustration by Philip Chan.






IS GENTRIFICATION FAILING STUDENTS OF COLOR? BY RORY CHEEVERS broadcast co-editor-in-chief Over the course of the past century, the city of Portland has changed quite a bit. From a haven for human traffickers and Klan members to a “Liberal” bastion for the wealthy. Yet behind the smoke cloud of progressivism, as Walidah Imarisha, a racial historian put it, in an article by The Atlantic “I think that Portland has, in many ways, perfected neoliberal racism”. Portland has become less black over the past couple of decades, and the problem is getting worse. Redlining and gentrification are responsible for disproportionate education statistics for people of color. In the early 1900s, banks and loan companies were required by law to only sell homes and properties to people of color in a specific area of North Portland. The color red meant “Hazardous” and yellow meant “Definitely declining”. As these policies were introduced, the neighborhoods in red became where the majority of black families moved and started their own community. From the 1970 census, the black population was concentrated into areas which were marked up to “80.4% black” in neighborhoods like Boise and Alberta. According to the 2010 census, that same tract is now “65% white and 15% black”. This sudden change came from a time of the “Urban renewal” in Portland, which aimed to “Compel economic growth” by pouring money into neighborhoods and service projects that created new businesses. The problem was that the only areas that were qualified as “Needing renewal” were the forgotten black enclaves of North Portland. Because housing prices were so low due to redlining, buying up houses and building private apartments just minutes from downtown became a selling point to investors and potential residents. The cost of rent in those neighborhoods have steadily grown, by about 4% per year in Portland. There’s also not a guarantee that a resident is safe from rent increases if they own a house. In Oregon, property taxes are accounted for during tax season, so as the property value goes up, houses that once were for lower-income families are now worth a small fortune if they’re in an expensive area. For example, a home built in 1944 located in Boise was worth about $81,000 according to in 1997. In 2019, that home is worth $450,000. Property taxes have increased from about $1,040 a year in 2000 to $2,138 now. This puts a strain on residents who earn minimum wage, and haven’t seen significant growth in comparison to the cost of living. Urban renewal has been responsible for the high rate of black (Red) residents leaving the city for more affordable housing, like east of I-205. Ironically though, Port-

land has become more “Blue” over the past couple decades, yet there’s actually been a decline in populations of people of color who generally represent the strongest and most reliable voters for the Democratic Party. See Alabama Senate Election 2017. In the 1980 presidential election in Portland with Jimmy Carter vs. Ronald Reagan, Carter received 46% of the vote, with 120,000 ballots in his name. While Reagan got 101,000 votes with a 40% share of the vote. In 2016, Hillary Clinton garnered 200,000 votes with a win of 73% among the ballots, while Donald Trump earned 68,000 votes and a 17% share of the vote. The interesting point behind tying back to the beginning is that Portland has become the “Neoliberal racism”. Progressive-thinking people move into Portland wanting to be closer to similar-minded people, but at the same time, they actually contribute to de facto segregation, undermining the groundwork of a progressive society. There currently are policies in place that try to repatriate residents who were displaced during the private rent bubble in the early 2000s. $20 million is currently being spent on creating public housing for those displaced, and the applications are put in order on a point-based system. The longer the resident lived in North Portland and the farther they’ve moved, they’ll be to number one on the list. Yet

ABOVE: This 1938 map depicts the residential security of different parts of Portland, a practice known as redlining, used to segregate and discriminate against minority communities. Image courtesy of Mapping Inequality/Univesity of Richmond Digital Scholarship Lab.

LEFT: Voicing their support of a community benefits agreement with the incoming Obama Presidential Library, residents of south-side Chicago spoke out at a city hall meeting in April last year. Such an agreement would combat gentrification by creating jobs and maintaining affordable housing. Photo courtesty of Charles Edward Miller via Flickr.

this change has to wait for the new building to be constructed, and more are moving out than are coming back. The biggest downfall is that the children of the families that are forced to move out attend lower-performing schools in underfunded areas. Education statistics show that the lowest-performing schools in the Portland metro are located in the neighborhoods that have seen a rise in black residents leaving the city. For example, some of the bottom 10%, or below average high schools in Oregon are North Clackamas, Madison, David Douglas, and Parkrose according to While the higher performing schools that are on-track to reach Oregon’s performance and attendance mandate are located in wealthy areas like

Cedar Mills, Bethany, Lake Oswego and Lincoln. Lower performing schools now have to work with putting students on the right track with less of an opportunity/ money as other schools. Adding on to low performance, many of the schools have to deal with chronic absenteeism. According to a study by The University of Utah, chronic absenteeism is a better indicator of dropout rates and can predict a lower rate of a secondary education pursuit. Gentrification cannot be said to provide a full explanation for disparity in racial wealth accumulation--studies have shown that African-American families are on average paid less than white families with an identical education level, implying that racism stretches far beyond

immediately available statistical measures like location. But it does go some way towards explaining the steep demographic differences between certain communities. The solution to this epidemic is complicated, whether it’s no-APR financing to encourage families of color to move to specific areas, or implementing rent-control for private homes/apartments. With addressing chronic absenteeism, underperformance, and declining diversity, the city of Portland needs to take responsibility and acknowledge that they’ve not taken action soon enough to combat a decaying community and quality of life. Opinion and analysis articles represent the beliefs of the author, and not the staff of, or West Linn High School.




The last months of the school year mean senior brunches, spring sports, and enjoying the warmer weather. But for many WLHS students enrolled in AP classes, the last few months mean the arrival of the AP test in May. Multiple students at West Linn are currently taking more than one AP class. One of these students is Kelly Deng, sophomore. For Deng, the advanced classes aren’t just about looking good for colleges and getting the college credit. “We get a lot more done than the other classes, and I feel like we learn more,” Deng said. “I think we have more work in these classes because they’re harder, but also because of the test at the end of the year.” Deng, who is involved in AP Chemistry and AP US History, will take two AP tests in May. At WLHS, taking the AP test is required in order to get transcript credit for the class. This is the policy for AP testing in schools nationwide. In 2018, 5,090,324 students took the AP test in the United States, and at West Linn, 74% of students had tak-

en at least one AP exam in 2017. It’s no question that students are taking this test. But for the millions of students nationwide and the majority of students at West Linn, taking the required test is not cheap. At West Linn, the fee for taking one AP test is $72. For Deng, she’ll be paying double this to cover the two tests she is required to take in May. “I don’t really want to pay all that money; I just don’t feel like it’s worth it,” Deng said. “I know it’s not really an issue here, but I’m certain there are students elsewhere who can’t pay it.” Looking at statistics, Deng isn’t wrong in saying that some students are unable to pay high AP test fees. AP test fees vary throughout high schools, but the standard fee that College Board, the company that distributes the tests, sets is $94. Though only 11% of students qualify as economically disadvantaged at West Linn, the school offers a program of financial help if a student were to be unable to pay for the test. So what do students like Deng think of the high prices? “I definitely think the test is a bit overpriced;

I don’t think the College Board needs to make it that expensive,” Deng said. “At least schools do offer financial aid for people who need it.” While paying for AP tests may not be a huge issue at WLHS, Deng says that there are deeper issues and costs of the test that go beyond money. “You know, you’re paying so much money for the test that just puts a higher pressure on you,” Deng said. “There’s just higher stakes.” With 74% of AP students at WLHS participating in the AP test, it seems as though students are accepting the high costs and high stress for the exchange of a better college portfolio. As for Deng, she takes these advanced class because she appreciates the challenge of AP classes and tests, among other reasons. “I guess I felt like it was expected of me by peers, parents and teachers at West Linn,” Deng said. “But I also like to be challenged and AP classes are how I can get that challenge, even if it means I have to take a test every May.”

Profile for wlhsNOW

Amplifier 2018-2019 Spring Edition (Volume 99-Issue 3)  

Amplifier 2018-2019 Spring Edition (Volume 99-Issue 3)  

Profile for wlhsnow