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Competing petitions: Should South Eugene High School remain 'Axemen'?

(SBG photo)

EUGENE, Ore. -- The debate continues over whether South Eugene High School’s team name should be changed.

Supporters of the petition to change the name say it should be changed to better reflect one of the current 4J district mission goals and the district's non-discrimination policy.

Now, in response, a new petition is circulating on change.org to keep the Axemen name as the symbol of South Eugene High.

"Some people have pointed out that the name ‘Axemen’ is gender-specific, and other people say, because of tradition, they'd like to see it stay the same," says Eugene 4J spokesperson Kerry Delf.

It's a divided conversation that is seeing numbers add up on both petitions.

"I think it'd be a shame to change it,” says Isaac Hudlow of Eugene. “I think that when we hear Axemen, we think of South Eugene, and I think it would take away to change that. It would take away from the community."

It’s also catching the attention of current students and parents.

"It's good to think about the symbols that we use and how we are representing and how our kids are representing in the community, so I kind of have feelings in this particular case on both sides," says SEHS parent Bessie Joyce.

One student says the petition has been a topic of classroom discussion.

"In reality, there are big issues we want to address and a lot of the students really don't think the name should be changed," says SEHS student Connor Jayor.

It’s a dialogue not only happening within the school.

“We're having conversations about this right now, this month, and the principal does plan to make a recommendation to the superintendent by the end of the month as to next steps moving forward," spokesperson Delf says.

It’s a decision that, at this point, could go either way - to stick with an established custom or turn to a new tradition.

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