Volume 1, Issue #1
Volume 5, Issue #1/2
Volume 10, Issue #1
Volume 20, Issue #1
Vol. 30, Issue 115/116
Vol. 40, Issue #155/156
The Foxfire Magazine
The fall of 1966 found a young teacher arriving at Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School and entering his first classroom, only to find himself not really prepared for the challenge in front of him – getting the students interested in learning English. Eliot Wigginton tried several approaches, but just could not get the students’ attention. With inspiration from the writings of John Dewey, Wigginton asked the students what would interest them – what could they do as a class to make the English curriculum interesting. Several ideas were discussed, and the students ultimately chose to produce a magazine. The students would develop basic writing skills while creating content for their magazine. Some of the students decided to write articles based on information and stories gathered from their families or neighbors – stories about the pioneer era of Southern Appalachia. “Foxfire,” the name of a glowing fungus sometimes found on rotting wood in the deep woods around their homes, was the name the students chose for their endeavor.
The Foxfire Magazine has been in continuous production since it was founded in 1966. After its early years at Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School, the Magazine moved to Rabun County High School in 1977. It remained an English-credit class for many years, until changing staff and changing state curriculum guidelines forced the magazine to shift to a vocational elective program. However, the goals of the magazine remain unchanged: student leadership directs the day-to-day operation of the class with help from faculty facilitators, the students use Rabun County and neighboring communities as resources for the information they gather, and each finished Magazine issue is distributed to an audience well outside the classroom—across the entire United States, actually. The students achieve their goal of preserving the vanishing culture of Southern Appalachia—their culture—while meeting state curriculum mandates and publishing deadlines. The Foxfire Magazine is no small achievement at all.
Student editors are responsible for training new students on each phase of the production of the magazine. A student begins by choosing a topic to research or a family member, neighbor, or other local elder to interview. He or she arranges to meet their “contact,” talk with them, and record the interview. Back in the classroom, the interview is carefully transcribed word-by-word into word processing software. Pulling information from the completed transcript, the student writes an article based on the contents of their interview or pulls together information from several interviews. Articles can focus on a specific person’s life or stories, the lore of a specific town or community, details or how-to information on traditional crafts and skills, or any number of other things. The student editors assist the other students on each step of the process, then proofread and offer advice on content, and ultimately choose which articles will be included in the next magazine issue. If an article is not chosen for immediate publication, it is archived and can be pulled out later when circumstances call for that particular topic or to complement more recent information.
Currently producing two double-issues of The Foxfire Magazine each school year, all of the students in the program work to develop their skills in writing, communication, collaboration, time management, decision-making, and problem-solving. Leadership, teamwork, self-discipline, and responsibility are also fundamentals of the program. Through their hard work and the acceptance of the audience beyond the classroom (subscribers and readers), students gain confidence in their own abilities, competence, and self-worth.
A Student's Perspective
"For two years I was a part of the magazine class; as a result, I have experienced all the emotions that go along with it - the tears of angst that come with lost or crashed disks, the frustrations of a computer that just won't cooperate, the nerves before the first interview, the thrill of a good interview, and the incredible pride after seeing your name in print for the first time. Working on the magazine has also given me many opportunities to give presentations about the class at several colleges, universities, and conferences. With each interview and speech, I have gained something that no other class could have given me - the confidence and assurance I needed to go from being the most timid, shy person in my class to being a leader among my peers. The skills and opportunities I have obtained through working for The Foxfire Magazine are assets that will help me throughout my life." —Lacy Hunter Nix
The Foxfire Magazine is offered to United States subscribers for an annual price of $12.95 (two double-issues), and subscriptions can be purchased through the Shop on this site, or by calling 706-746-5828. The publication dates are planned within the students' school calendar, with Spring/Summer issues targeted for publication in May, and Fall/Winter issues targeted for December. Publication dates are not guaranteed - in spite of the students' best efforts, there are occasional delays in the process. When these situations occur, the Magazine issue will be published as soon as is possible after the problems are resolved.
We welcome international subscribers as well, but please contact us directly to order and make payment arrangements. The international subscription rate is $24.95 per year. You can request more information by Contacting Us or calling 706-746-5828.
an interview with
Paul Power by
My earliest memory was, I reckon, when I was about three years old. My father bought me a goat, a wagon, and a little goat harness to pull the wagon. My older brother, he got it to the top of the hill, and he went down the hill just as fast as he could. When we got to the end, we had to stop really quick, and when he turned the goat, I fell out. So Dad took the goat back that night to where he had got it. Let's see what else I got into...
Click below to download the entire article about Mr. Power in PDF format.
Or read this recent, touching article about Mr. Sammy Green.
"Praise the Lord,
Sammy's Quit Smoking"
by Casi Best,