Dear Beloved Reader,
As spring emerges in a burst of color out of the months of wet gray in western Montana, so does the publication deadline for Aerie International. Every year comes with challenges, but this year pushed us to work harder and more efficiently than ever before. With a staff entirely composed of graduating seniors, we knew from experience it would be a daunting task to sort through 700 submissions in order to produce this sleek magazine you’re holding now.
This year’s magazine was born in the face of great loss and uncertainty. The most unexpected and devastating was the passing of our founder and retired advisor, mentor, and Aerie godmother: Lorilee Evans-Lynn. In the wake of her loss, we took time to reflect on why Aerie matters and what Lorilee hoped it would accomplish. We are a program that publishes two literary magazines, but most importantly, Aerie is a community for young artists and writers. We hope our tenth anniversary edition will inspire creative people to support each other, to fight for the arts, and to advocate for international neighbors.
As seniors, we have seen this program grow and change rapidly. A health crisis and family emergency left our current teacher and advisor, Becca, unable to work. Her dedication to this program became abundantly clear when she began preparing us to work without her. After the loss of Lorilee, we were terrified by the possibility of losing Becca. Without our advisor, the existence of the magazine and our Aerie family was put into question. However, as Becca always does, she remained strong. We are thrilled to have Becca back in our classroom and see her health returning to a normal state.
Becca brings fresh approaches to publishing an international literary arts magazine while still honoring the goals of our founder. This year we even pushed to create a new category for our submitters; slam poetry. We were beyond excited to hear our submitters read their work in their own voices. Aerie will continue to develop more opportunities for teachers and students.
We would not be the program we are today without the community in our city of Missoula. Donna Elliott and Mike Piessig of Alphagraphics bring the magazine you are holding in your hands to print. They have been so patient with our phone calls, spur of the moment bookmark requests, and our push to meet the deadline for this magazine.
Thank you Caroline Patterson for being a vital member of our board and for inspiring so many with your passion and hard work in preserving Missoula’s writing community. Thank you for offering us opportunities to experience the writing community outside our classroom by connecting us with valuable guest speakers like Gregory Pardlo. Thank you Robert Lee, for playing an active role in and outside the classroom– for editing our poems, for teaching lessons on short stories, and for providing much needed comfort and guidance through this difficult year.
We would also like to thank local artist and board member, R. David Wilson. He again gave us the gracious gift of a painting to raffle for our biggest fundraiser of the year, The Dana Gallery Reading, and he let us pick from several of his amazing works. We chose “Under the Skylight” because it was dear to Lorilee. She had wanted it to hang in her home, and David gave a wonderful speech at sharing this story at the reading..
As The Dana is our most important reading of the year, it requires a lot of help from many talented people. We would like to extend a huge thank you to Cathy Marshall and Kerry Maier who also had to work harder this year than ever before to make sure the reading ran smoothly.
As a staff we have spent many classes discussing the best ways to share, without shouting over, the voices of our submitters worldwide. This year, our submissions reflect a changing world. Our submitters have important messages, and Aerie International gives us the platform and an obligation to share the feelings of young writers and artists not so unlike ourselves. The strong voices of these writers and artists demand to be heard. We are listening. As long as students continue to write and create, and our subscribers continue to read and share, we will work into the early hours of the morning and late hours of the night to share the voices of those who have something to say. Aerie’s mission is to connect youth from around the world; to find our commonalities when at first we see differences; to build bridges, not walls.
Adie Smith, Emma Scheuch, and Kenny Erickson
Aerie International was born of a desire to offer outstanding young writers and artists an opportunity to share, edit, and publish their work internationally. What makes this journal unique is that it is designed, edited and published entirely by high school students.
Aerie has roots that extend across continents. It’s not uncommon for a student to rush out of the lab saying something like: “You’ve got to check out this submission from South Africa!” When the editors leaf through the finished magazine, they call young artists and writers they’ve never met by their first names. At the final reading in May, they proudly introduce poets from other countries to an eager audience. They read work by their global peers with a sense of pride and ownership.
This magazine continues to evolve and thrive due to submissions from serious young writers and artists and support from the significant adults in their lives. Please consider beginning with a subscription. Encourage your school, library, and students to support this opportunity by subscribing to the only international high school literary arts magazine journal wholly devoted to peers publishing peers.
Rebecca Carson, Advisor
If you are interested in receiving the Aerie International Newsletter, email us the following information: first & last name, school, street, city, state/province, country, zip/postal code, and email address.
Big Sky High School
3100 South Ave. West
Missoula, MT 59804
(406) 728-2401 x 8644