aer•ie (âr’ē) noun
1. The nest of a bird, such
as an eagle, built on a cliff
or other high place.
2. A collection of literature
and visual art, published
by student editors
of Big Sky High School.
3. A home for young writers
and artists of Big Sky High School.
Dear Supporters of the Creative Arts,
Aerie Big Sky is a student staffed and edited literary magazine. We accept original poetry, prose, photography and illustrations from Big Sky High School students exclusively.
The program began in 1980, as an after school club. The first editions featured every submitted piece, stapled between two sheets of cardstock. Since then, Aerie Big Sky has transformed from the club that it once was to a class whose students spend several hours looking through submissions, designing the magazine using InDesign, and editing the final product before it is finally shipped off to our friends at Alpha Graphics in Missoula to be published. It has received high honors from the National Council of Teachers of English’s Program to Recognize Excellence in Student Literary Magazines for ten years.
If you are currently a student at Big Sky High School and are interested in being published in our school’s literary magazine please submit your poetry, prose, and photography to our email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any artwork you are interested in submitting to Aerie Big Sky please bring finished pieces down to room 44 where we will photograph or scan them and return them to you!
Something weird happens after dark in Room 44. I haven’t been away from school for more than twelve hours since sometime last week and I’m not entirely sure whether it’s Tuesday or Friday, but a glorious new edition of Aerie Big Sky is emerging from the chaos as I write this letter. Hannah Crouch dances in her chair while she makes magic happen on the opening pages of our magazine, Allison Crepeau stalks Big Sky’s talented artists in the hallways in order to obtain last minute titles, and Adie Smith wears an empty fruit bag on her head like a babushka while she slays comma splice errors in the interview questions. These are the sleep-deprived alter-egos of our poised and articulate staff. As you may have guessed after attending our dynamite poetry slam this year, they are a force to be reckoned with.
Big changes always bring challenges, but they often surprise us with rewards we couldn’t have imagined. When I accepted this position, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. As a brand new teacher, I knew I was taking a risk stepping into the footsteps of someone who had built an entire program from years of dedication to her profession. I didn’t know that I would gain an incredible mentor and a new family. Lorilee Evans-Lynn has spent countless hours event-planning, organizing, proofreading, and advocating for this program and for my success as a new teacher and without her, this year’s magazine would not have happened. I’m forever grateful to her, the administration, and the English teaching staff at Big Sky High School for believing in me from the beginning.
It feels surreal to write this letter from my classroom as spring creeps into the Missoula valley. I thought long and hard about my decision to become a teacher. The world sometimes overwhelms me with its problems and I searched for a career that would bring
me closer to fixing them. I kept thinking, “What are you going to do about it? Where do you even begin?” In a letter I wrote to my favorite professor two years ago, I answered that question:
I’m going to teach them literacy is a weapon.
I’m going to teach them their words can be used to forgive, to condemn, to celebrate, and to remember, but I’m not going to pick for them.
I’m going to teach them about community.
In our schools, we celebrate diversity. But in my classroom, we’re going to stop celebrating it so quietly.
This is the beginning I promised myself.
What I couldn’t see at the time was how much these kids would teach me. They are resilient, passionate, talented young people. They carry so much on their shoulders—they have AP classes to pass, standardized tests to take, lacrosse games to win, siblings to care for, illnesses to conquer. They have taught me to be patient, to trust myself, to try new things. They have taught me that we need this magazine.
There will always be stories to scribble into the stained pages of composition notebooks, poems begging for voices to claim them, photographs waiting to be taken. As long as you keep scratching words onto pages and filling canvases with color, there will always be Aerie Big Sky. We have so much to look forward to.
Rebecca Carson, Advisor