Jesuit Chronicle

Opinion: We Should Not Open Up Jesuit

A few months ago, I would have agreed that school should be back in session. This opinion was not backed by any research but simply a selfish musing. School has been closed since March 2020 and we have now endured almost nine months of quarantine and isolation. While I would love to return to school to see my peers and be able to participate in typical senior year activities, I know it is not safe.

With COVID-19 spreading so rapidly, the idea of returning to school is in the far future. While masks, home room lunch periods, and health screenings are necessary precautions, they would only limit the spread.

The requirement for students to wear a mask at all times may be helpful, however, there is no guarantee that masks will in fact stay intact through the school day. Students will need to remove their masks to eat and drink and often masks are removed in restroom settings. Teachers cannot be watching students at all times and we do not have the resources to ensure that masks stay on during school hours.

However, even if students keep their masks on at all times, studies show that masks are not 100% effective. In an article published by Stephanie Pappias titled “Do face masks really reduce coronavirus spread?” the effectiveness of different kinds of mask is explained.

“CDC also does not recommend surgical masks for the general public. These masks don’t seal against the face but do include non-woven polypropylene layers that are moisture resistant. In a surgical mask, about 70% of the outside air moves through the mask and about 30% travels around the sides,” Pappias wrote. “That leaves fabric masks, which currently are recommended for general use by the CDC. Fabric masks also allow air in around the sides, but lack non-woven, moisture-repelling layers. They impede only about 2% of airflow in.”

No matter what mask is worn, there is always some airflow that is let in. As Stephanine Pappias explains, you may be at a lower risk depending on which mask you choose to wear, but the underlying fact is that masks do not work all of the time. The only method that is proven to be 100% effective is to stay at home.

Masks are to be used as an add on for safety. It is a common misconception that masks are the only precaution that people must take. Stephanie Pappias elaborates on this.

“‘Putting a face mask on does not mean that you stop the other practices’” Pappias wrote quoting Assistant Director of Public Health in the Office for Science and Technology Policy May C. Chu.  “‘It does not mean you get closer to people, it does not mean you don’t have to wash your hands as often and you can touch your face. All of that still is in place, this is just an add-on.’”

At school it will be difficult to maintain a reliable distance from every student or faculty member that you will pass through the day. As May C. Chu stated, it is not enough to just wear a mask, you must still maintain social distances.

In an ideal world, masks always work. Even so, students are still at risk once they leave school and are exposed to those who are not following CDC protocol. While you may think that you are interacting only with your “bubble,” your bubble is often larger than you think. If even one person interacts with someone without their mask who is not in your bubble, they could risk contracting and spreading the virus.

There is also a large opinion that even though we are not able to go back to school that we should be able to participate in sports. In my opinion, we should focus on getting back to school first. With constant motion (and in some cases physical contact) it is easy for masks to slip while in close proximity, not to mention athletes need to lower their mask to drink water. In the event that an athletes mask does slip while they are infected with the virus, they could spread it to their whole team, who will then likely spread it even further. This fact is evidenced by the numerous college football games that have been cancelled due to COVID-19.  While I am disappointed to potentially be missing my track season, as I am sure many other students are, it is too risky to even practice.

Of course, I realize that the greater majority of high school students are young, healthy, and will not be deeply impacted by the virus. This is not the reason to take precautions. Many students live with or frequently come in contact with those who are at high risk. I visit my grandparents often and know because they are compromised, I need to be extra careful. Even if you don’t, someone you come in contact with might so it is important to always be cautious.

The only way it is safe to return to school, sports, and all other activities is when there is an effective vaccine that is easily accessible. Without one, an airborne virus is too difficult to contain with a group of people as large as a high school. I know that everyone wants to return to school, but right now, it is not safe.



Live Science

Opinion: Let’s Open Up Jesuit

With Christmas break fast approaching, Jesuit is rounding the corner on it’s ninth month of digital learning. I think it’s time to return to in-person learning.

With COVID-19 raging throughout the United States, it seems impossible for schools to remain open. In addition, Oregon has been having record high case counts recently, the most being on December 4 when over 2000 people tested positive. So why would I think that Jesuit, along with other Portland schools, should open?

I think that kids should be in school not because the danger of the virus is low. The coronavirus is a very dangerous virus, and as a community we need to take it seriously by social distancing and wearing a mask. But, that does not mean we cannot go to school safely if the correct measures are put in place.

In other places, students have already returned to the classroom for in-person learning. For example, schools in New York City closed just last month after being open for almost eight weeks. Despite cases rising back up to their April highs in the state, elementary schools will return to hybrid learning on December 7. And outside of the states, as the city of Toronto, Ontario entered its second lockdown in November, schools were one of the only places to remain open, while bars and restaurants closed (New York Times).

So what does this mean? Why are all these different places reopening their school doors while Oregon has kept theirs shut? Simple, other places realized that schools are not the cause of spread; the state of Oregon has failed to see that.

I went to Washington Square Mall the other day, and it was a packed house. Although masks were being worn throughout the building (by most), I had to dodge my way through the crowd to keep my distance as much as possible from others. But, as I was doing it, I had a moment where I stopped and looked around at the mayhem and thought, “Why is this allowed to happen? Why is this mall allowed to be open at seemingly maximum capacity while our schools, who would take the necessary steps to reopen safely, are not allowed to open?”

Not only am I calling for a reopen to schools, but so are prominent health experts. The CDC Director, Dr. Robert Redfield, said during a press conference that schools need to be open because they are not what’s causing the spread.

“There is extensive data that we have…[that confirms]…K-12 schools can operate with face-to-face learning and they can do it safely and they can do it responsibly,” Redfield said (C-SPAN). “The infections that we’ve identified in schools when they’ve been evaluated were not acquired in schools. They were actually acquired in the community and in the household.”

Not only is the CDC director on my side, but even Dr. Anthony Fauci said that to slow case rates, bars and restaurants should be closed and schools should be open.

“Close the bars and keep the schools open,” Fauci said. “If you look at the data, the spread among children and from children is not really very big at all, not like one would have suspected” (Business Insider).

But what about those who are immunocompromised or who are seeing immunocompromised people? Or what about those who just don’t feel comfortable returning to school? For those who don’t feel comfortable returning to in-person learning, an option of online learning should still be available for them. This would allow each student to decide when they would like to return to in-person learning, appeasing those who are both for and against it.

Again, I would like to reiterate that I am not downplaying the severity of the virus. My family and I have been following CDC guidelines to the T, and I also have grandparents that I visit with a mask on, so I would not advocate for a return to school if I didn’t believe that we could do it safely.

While I understand concerns expressed by individuals who may not feel comfortable returning to in-person learning, national health experts have recommended that we do so, and I think we should listen to what they say.



New York Times: How Toronto Plans to Keep Schools Open Amid Its Second Lockdown

New York Times: New York City to Close Public Schools Again as Virus Cases Rise



Business Insider

2020 Happened – Let’s Think Positive For 2021


Image courtesy of Avni Sharma.

Packed with an eventful and stress inducing Presidential Election, protests, an ongoing pandemic, and the sight of smoky skies in September, 2020 has been quite the rollercoaster. Though bad times come and go, the long anticipation for widespread use of the vaccine prolongs this nightmare-ish year from ending.

The end of a significant year prompts one to reflect on the high and low points. For Jesuit students, the past nine months are synonymous with isolation, stress from school related activities, and various personal struggles. 

“[2020] had a lot of ups and downs,” sophomore Gabriella Feleciano says. “It has been the shortest and longest year in a sense.”

Pushing students to their academic, mental, and emotional limits, the current arrangement of a hectic school schedule paired with extracurricular and other commitments made the year progress slowly, yet fast. Everyday occurrences—such as meeting friends, or going out to dinner—pass off as a luxury, too dangerous to be afforded. These measures have impeded students’ ability to maintain close friendships, and have deprived one’s ability to appreciate simple joys in life. 

That being said, unhealthily dwelling on the unfortunate events of the past year won’t help us heal from it; Neither will ruminating about pre-COVID life improve the current quality of life. According to an article written by Dr. Summer Allen, looking ahead with a positive outlook holds more significance in the healing process than reminiscing about how things used to be. 

“Besides helping us make decisions and reach our goals, there is evidence that prospection may improve psychological health more generally,” Dr. Allen says, “Taking time to simulate and enjoy a positive experience in advance—whether it be an upcoming meal, visit with friends, or vacation—can allow you to derive lasting benefits for the experience.” 

Many students at Jesuit have already begun to utilize Dr. Allen’s positive-thinking findings to keep their motivation and drive during this time. 

“I’m working through everything with as positive of a mindset as I can muster,” sophomore Caitlin Thomas says. “I recognize that I am given the opportunity to still be here, to enjoy life. I hope 2021 will be a year of peace and productivity for us all.”

About the Writer
Photo of Avni Sharma
Avni Sharma, Staff Writer

Avni Sharma is a current sophomore at Jesuit High School. She enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics, from music reviews to current politics. Though...

F.D.A. Approves Pfizer Vaccine. Will People Take It?

Pictured above is a cartoon version of the COVID-19 vaccine

After nine months of quarantining in the United States due to the coronavirus, the F.D.A. has finally approved Pfizer’s vaccine. But will the efforts of the drug makers pay off with a willingness from people to take it?

With the vaccine being approved Friday December 11, anti-vaxxers have taken to social media to express their grievances. On Governor Kate Brown’s Instagram page, @oregongovbrown, users criticized the vaccine on one of her recent post.

“Our family will not utilize a product where the manufacturer is completely free from all liability, especially one that has not gone through proper safety testing and sent via Warp Speed to the marketplace,” one user commented.

“In 10 years there will be commercials saying, “If you received the COVID Vaccine, you may be eligible for compensation, call Jones Law,” another said.

While some on social media have strongly expressed their stance of being against the vaccine, many Jesuit students said they would be willing to take it.


“I’d be pretty willing at this point. The rates of it being effective are pretty high. I would like to look into it a little more, but I’m pretty willing.” –Astrid Foster: Junior

“I’d definitely take it as long as they prove that it’s effective and safe. I take the flu vaccine every year so I don’t see how this would be any different.” -Stella Anastasakis: Junior

“I would take the vaccine because I have no opposition to not taking it. I think that especially people who are allergic to vaccines it’s important for us to take that responsibility.” -Julie Pham: Junior

“Yeah I’d be willing to take it because although it may not be a hundred percent [accurate]…it works.” -Patrick Rau: Junior

The first shots were given on Monday December 14, just a few days after approval (CNBC). The first to receive it will be frontline healthcare workers and those at long term care facilities. While it may seem like only weeks separate Jesuit students from receiving their vaccines, Dr. Anthony Fauci says that April will be the month when those not in high priority groups will receive their dose.



New York Times



About the Writer
Photo of Anton Baricevic
Anton Baricevic, Managing Editor

Anton Baricevic is a proud editor for the Jesuit Chronicle. As a member of the class of 2022, Anton decided to take Journalism because his sister Mia,...

Pro-Con Opinions: Should we go back to school?


Photo by MChe Lee on Unsplash

Gwynne Olson and Anton Baricevic offer opposing opinions about whether or not Jesuit should return to school?

Long-Form: Traveling Amidst the Pandemic: How to stay safe over the break


Eric Mclean

Pandemic Hotspots

Dear Charlie: An Advice Column with Charlie Crusader



Writing a letter brings joy to those who receive it, and it highlights the joy of giving during the holiday season.

Dear Charlie,


I am a junior, and though I was excited to become an upperclassman this year, I feel lost. My homework keeps stacking up, there is pressure to think about colleges, and I feel like I’m not taking on a big enough leadership role in the community.


Junior year is supposed to be the year I come out of my shell and become more independent. But now, I’m stuck at home stressing about all the work I haven’t done. Help!




So Much To Do, So Little Time


Dear So Much To Do,


In the words of Billy Joel, “Slow down, you crazy child!” As a junior, it may feel like the year to make your mark at Jesuit. If you are feeling motivated, go for it, but during the holidays, Admissions Director Erin DeKlotz recommends a simple six step plan to help you relax and take the pressure of success off your shoulders. 


“Breathe, move, rest, laugh, give, pray, and connect,” DeKlotz said. “I know when I’m stressed, I find myself holding my breath. Focus on breathing deeply. If you’re on your couch all day, stay physically active, even if it’s taking a walk. Get enough sleep. Try not to watch the news too much. Give back to your community.”


Deklotz said that practicing gratitude is also another big part of her life. She advocates for journaling, and making a habit of writing down one item that she is grateful for every day, like a warm blanket or a cup of coffee.


AP Psychology and Macroeconomics teacher Malia Bernards is a big believer in staying active, not only physically, but mentally.


“Challenge yourself to learn something new, something you’re interested in that has nothing to do with school, whether that’s sketching or baking or learning to cook,” Bernards said.


As the year comes to an end, focus on making connections, rest before the new year, and focus on your health. That will help you reach your goals of making your mark when the school year starts back up.






Dear Charlie, 


I am a freshman, and high school is a bit overwhelming. I wanted to do really well in my classes at the beginning of the year, but I’m kind of burnt out after a crazy year of COVID, wildfires, and quarantine. I thought high school was about meeting new people, going to dances, and taking every opportunity, but I am the only person from my school to come to Jesuit, and I feel very isolated because I don’t know anyone.


How can I make connections with new friends?




Down and Out


Dear Down and Out


Making connections can be tricky, but it is a natural, and necessary, part of life, one which is especially important during not only a pandemic, but also the holidays.


“Swallow your pride,” DeKlotz said. “Be brave. Try randomly reaching out to people and see what you get. Don’t worry too much if you get silence. Maybe someone said something in a Zoom class that you appreciated, and you could text them and let them know that you appreciated their comment. I’ve heard people say it meant the world to them when someone reached out and texted them. Don’t underestimate the power of small acts of hope that you bring to other people.”


Theology teacher Sara Salzwedel mentioned some ways to reach out to family members of close friends during the pandemic-themed holiday season.


“Write letters to friends,” Salzwedel said. “Think about people to whom you could tangibly send something in the mail. I think anytime we start to go beyond ourselves, having those brief moments of respite where we put our focus on someone else I think really does help.”


Salzwedel and Bernards agree that the holidays are a time to check in with ourselves. 


“Just remember to take care of yourself first,” Bernards said. “We teachers are more concerned about [students’] health and well-being. Get outside and get some fresh air. Reach out for help. It’s okay to be vulnerable. Everyone is vulnerable right now.”


It may be difficult to begin your high school career like this, but take care of yourself, reach out to people, and surround yourself with people and things you love this holiday season.


Don’t forget to reach out to old acquaintances. Touching base with friends, catching up on Zoom, or even getting together while socially distancing can make your season that much brighter.






Charlie encourages you to talk to a counselor or trusted adult if you have any concerns.

Writing a letter brings joy to those who receive it, and it highlights the joy of giving during the holiday season.
(Steele )
About the Writer
Photo of Steele Clevenger
Steele Clevenger, Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director

Sarcastic. Artistic. Enthusiastic. These are three words Steele Clevenger would use to describe herself. A senior at Jesuit High School and a veteran journalism...

Food Insecurity Amidst a Pandemic: A Crisis Within a Crisis


Mario Tama/Getty Images

Cars stretch for miles outside a California food bank during the coronavirus pandemic.

With the economic turmoil and millions of job losses due to the coronavirus pandemic, a record number of Americans face food insecurity this holiday season. The pandemic has exacerbated issues already present in America’s food insecurity crisis, significantly affecting those already experiencing financial hardship. 

According to a report by the Feeding America Organization, about 37 million (10.1%) Americans faced food insecurity pre-pandemic. However, a recent update to that report found the number jump to a staggering 50 million (15.6%) food-insecure Americans. The South is the hardest hit region, with Mississippi, Arkansas, and Alabama projected to have the country’s highest food insecurity rates. 

Andrea Casey, Director of the Arrupe Center for Justice at Jesuit High School, contends that the pandemic’s sudden grasp and uncertainty are to blame for the spike in food insecurity.

“A lot of new families are experiencing food insecurity because of sudden loss of job, business instability, etc.,” Casey said. “A lot of progress to fight food insecurity has been reverted in the past nine months.”

Furthermore, the pandemic has exacerbated issues for those already vulnerable to food insecurity, Casey said. People working a minimum wage job, facing reduced hours, or struggling to make ends meet are now facing even more obstacles to gain food stability. 

Casey has witnessed the pandemic’s effects on the food crisis as one of the coordinators for Jesuit Portland’s annual Food Drive. Although there are multiple logistic challenges of organizing a food drive amidst a pandemic, Casey has worked tirelessly to make a food drive possible. In total, Casey estimates that Jesuit Portland will support over 300 local families with grocery store gift cards (and 88 of those families will also receive gifts) and hundreds more with non-perishable foods going to local food pantries. 

Efforts such as the Jesuit Food Drive and other local initiatives are especially needed in Portland, as the city battles an alarmingly high food insecurity rate. A report from the Oregon Food Bank found that over 550,000 (14.6%) Oregonians face food insecurity, with the majority stemming from the greater Portland area. 

With such staggering local and national numbers, Casey stresses the need to support those most vulnerable in our communities. Casey is also a firm believer in community action, reminding us that all support—big or small—has a tangible impact.

“I encourage people to ask ‘what can I do?'” Casey said. “Especially during a pandemic, people can get hung up on what they can’t do. Instead, think about what is a reasonable ask. Is there something you can give up to support others during these difficult times?”

About the Writer
Photo of Reet Chatterjee
Reet Chatterjee, Editor

A senior at Jesuit High School, Reet Chatterjee strives to better humanity with his writing. His writing focuses include social justice, politics, reform,...

Live Theater During the Pandemic: Jesuit Presents Godspell!

Principal members of the Godspell cast pose for a group photo after their closing night.

James Miller

Principal members of the Godspell cast pose for a group photo after their closing night.

It’s not easy producing live theater in the age of social distancing, but drama directors Jeff Hall and Elaine Kloser have been working hard with students to put on a production of “Godspell” in a new digital format. 

The show was made up of a cast of about 34 actors, ten students performed live onstage and the rest performed on the screen through a variety of projections and special effects. In this new format, new opportunities, as well challenges presented themselves.

“It’s been really fun to get creative in a way that we haven’t before when [trying] to figure out how we can create a show and bring a larger group of people together in a time when we can’t all be in person,” said junior Ava Maloco. “I think it’s pretty exciting when everything is a little up in the air and you’re not sure exactly how things are going to turn out.” 

Behind the scenes was a tech crew of 40 students who had been working tirelessly to ensure a smooth run.

“The tech crew has been preparing for Godspell by setting up not only what we normally use for a show, like lights, microphones, but we’ve also been creating a huge amount of video projections featuring the ensembles, in addition to all the equipment needed to stream Godspell to everyone watching from home,” said senior tech crew member Luke Motschenbacher. “During the actual performances, the tech crew will be running lights, projections, microphones and sound effects, the cameras, and much more.”

The show follows a bit of an unconventional plot line, illustrating the story of Jesus’ life through parables, songs, and dancing. The message of the show, however, is really up to your own interpretation.

The show basically follows Jesus’s life, but I’d say that in a more abstract way the show is just about teaching valuable lessons, especially about community, in a more entertaining way,” said Ava Maloco. 

Many of the virtual ensemble and principal cast members agree that Godspell is centered around a common theme of community.

It’s pretty difficult to really understand what Godspell is about. I know many people think it’s a huge Christian and religious show, but I disagree,” said junior James Miller, who played Jesus. “Godspell tells a very simple but important story: a group of strangers being united through song, celebration, and, most importantly love.”

The show premiered on Friday, Dec. 4, with two more performances that followed Saturday and Sunday. Over 900 viewers streamed the show online, as well as a small live audience of family members who were able to watch the show live. 

“I think livestreaming the show really opened more doors than it closed,” said junior Kate Goddard. “My grandparents live in Ireland, so if we were to do the show [in person] they wouldn’t have been able to see it. But even with the eight hour time difference they were able to see me and they said it was the highlight of their long year in isolation.”

Godspell is an incredibly touching story, and although the original show has been performed at Jesuit before in 1970 and 1995, it remains a show that reflects an important message relevant to the modern age.

“I think [Godspell] also relates to the times we are living in right now. There is a song called “Beautiful City” near the end of the show before Jesus is killed, and the lyrics mention how we can slowly start to recover and [that] things may not get better right away, but they will eventually,” said junior Theron Abel. “This is such an important message for us right now, living in these tough times, and we have to realize that things will get better.”

About the Writer
Photo of Chase Kerman
Chase Kerman, Staff Writer

Chase Kerman, a junior at Jesuit High School, is excited to explore Journalism and grow as a writer in her first year taking the class. At Jesuit, Chase...

Vacationing plans change due to Covid-19


As Covid-19 cases increase, students are altering their traditional vacation plans during the holiday season.

    As the holidays swiftly approach, the season for students to visit their family and spend time with those they love is very near. However, travel proves especially difficult and risky due to the increasing number Covid-19 cases. Cases are skyrocketing, with an average of 952 cases per day in Oregon alone, an increase of 83% from the past two weeks (The New York Times). 

    Students have been forced to reschedule their vacations, but some are willing to take the risk to spend time with family. While some students may be pushing their vacations back, others are taking advantage of the extra week off of school.

    “The plans changed because I was supposed to go to Palm Desert last spring, but it changed to this Thanksgiving,” senior Annie Landgraf said. “My mom really values family time, and this may be the only opportunity we can all get together.”
    In addition to the change in travel schedules, activities and destinations within vacations may be limited due to Covid-19 restrictions in other countries and territories. Senior Emma Cordova plans to travel to Quito, Ecuador and spend a month with her family.

    “ Whenever we talked about going on a trip to Ecuador we talked about touring around,” Cordova said. “So I’m going to Quito, which is the capital, but in normal circumstances I would’ve gone to Riobamba to see where [my dad] grew up…rather than just knowing that one area. But because of Covid I’m not going to do that…But I’m pretty much staying in that suburb and staying in that general vicinity rather than taking a train around on the weekends.”

    Furthermore, students are taking extra precautionary measures if they do decide to travel to decrease chances of contracting the virus. This includes quarantining before or after they travel, taking tests to ensure  safety, and more.

    “We’re getting tested before we leave and upon arrival which follows the guidelines of the state of Hawaii,” senior Damon Grim said. “We are also quarantining for 72 hours before departure, and we will be getting tested upon return to Oregon.”

    Although quarantining is the responsible option, students may simply be limiting their time with others and increasing social distancing practices before departing for vacation. Cordova chose to take this route, as well as multiple tests before and after her vacation. 

    “I’ve been still hanging out with my friends, but in reality that’s been like two or three people throughout the past few weeks…So I’m not quarantining like I was during lockdown, but I’m also trying not to hang out with people I haven’t really hung out with a ton.”

    While vacation will serve as a time of rest for students, those traveling during school days will need to find a balance between school, fun , rest, family time, and other obligations. This can prove especially difficult, as those traveling farther will be faced with a time-zone barrier, depending on the destination.

    “Hawaii’s only two hours behind so I’ll probably do [school] unless I don’t feel like it – I haven’t totally decided yet,” Grim said. “I might go most days but probably not all. Honestly I need to enjoy vacation too, so I probably will take some time off, but that long Thanksgiving break is definitely helpful. It’s pretty easy to do school though because it’s online, and you can do it from anywhere.”

About the Writer
Photo of Scout Jacobs
Scout Jacobs, Staff Writer

Scout Jacobs is a managing editor for the Jesuit Chronicles at Jesuit High School. As a senior in high school, this is her third year doing...

Celebrating Ms. Roxann Asp


Dorian Studios

Ms. Roxann Asp


Ms. Roxann Asp (Dorian Studios)

We celebrate the life of sophomore health teacher Roxann Asp (1971-2020), who passed away after a battle with cancer on November 30, 2020. The day after her passing, Jesuit administrators sent an email to the Jesuit community expressing their profound sadness.

“She was a natural teacher—organized, passionate, practical, and incredibly devoted to her students and athletes,” the email said.

A teacher, as well as a coach, Ms. Asp affected the lives of many young students. Ms. Asp came to Jesuit in 1996 to coach basketball, cross-country, and softball. She then joined the faculty as a biology and health teacher. Ms. Asp then left Jesuit in 2007 to teach at NAYA Many Nations Academy for Native American Youth, and returned to Jesuit in 2014.

To pay tribute to Ms. Asp, please attend Jesuit’s prayer service tonight at 6 p.m., where students and staff will take time to pray for Ms. Asp and her family.

Ms. Asp smiles while holding a puppy.
About the Writer
Photo of Steele Clevenger
Steele Clevenger, Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director

Sarcastic. Artistic. Enthusiastic. These are three words Steele Clevenger would use to describe herself. A senior at Jesuit High School and a veteran journalism...

JCTV: News Story #3


Writing. Photography. Video. The home of Jesuit High School student journalism.