The spring semester rushes by in a torrent, a blur of lesson plans and grading, family and board games—and, always, writing. My favorite moment of each school year is also my most busy: publishing my school’s literary magazine.
My ragtag group of writers, artists, and unsung heroes never fails to amaze me. Their passion and talent spill across the pages as they design and create content for the yearly publication. The magazine is the culminating event of months of reviewing pieces, submitted from students throughout the school, and countless hours of effort. I love to watch as my students’ vision unfolds and everything—typically at the last moment—comes together.
I created this literary magazine class because I wanted a space that celebrated the creative arts. But more than that, I wanted students to embrace their identity as creators at an earlier age. And each year, I have the privilege of witnessing that happen. These teens write as writers; they paint and photograph and sculpt as artists. And yearly our school community is blessed with their works of beauty.
There is so much in the world today that doesn’t encourage hope. From the humanitarian crises to the political landscape, the future often appears heart-rending and dark, fit more for a novel I’d write or read than what I hope for my son as he grows older.
But these teens exude such wonder and curiosity and life. They organize protests and play impromptu D&D; they juggle afterschool jobs and forensics tournaments; they listen and ponder, laugh and cry; they fumble and stumble through all of life, mountains of stress and expectation weighing on them in ways I cannot imagine, and through it all they inspire such hope.
I’m thankful for the privilege of this time they pass through my classroom. I’m grateful for who they are, and the measure of stardust they leave in their wake.