Seeley-Swan High School Channels Empathy Through Storytelling

If you went to high school in the U.S. in the last few decades, chances are you read Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Maybe you don’t remember much of it. Or maybe it moved you so much that you still keep your copy from sophomore English on your bookshelf. Regardless, it’s a literary classic and reading it has become a rite of passage for most high schoolers in this country.

In April 2019, with the support of the Greater Montana Foundation, the Montana Media Lab helped 30 Seeley-Swan High Schoolers explore the theme of empathy in To Kill a Mockingbird through a totally different lens—their community of Seeley Lake, Mont.

It was part of a larger, ongoing Montana Media Lab initiative to help students in rural Montana schools and on Montana’s Native American reservations learn digital storytelling and news literacy skills.

The stories in this piece were recorded and edited entirely by Seeley-Swan High School students in Lori Messenger’s English class. Instruction and feedback provided by Montana Media Lab instructors Beau Baker, Rosie Costain, Maxine Speier, Eli Imadali and Anne Bailey.

The audio stories the students’ produced first aired on Montana Public Radio on February 23, 2020. Listen to their stories below.

Voices from Seeley Lake

Behind the Scenes at Seeley-Swan High School

Box Elder High School Participates in NPR Student Podcast Challenge

Last spring, students from Box Elder High School on the Rocky Boy’s Reservation, teamed up with the Montana Media Lab on a podcast episode about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) to enter in NPR’s Student Podcast Challenge.

According to the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women, four out of five Native American women are affected by violence in their lifetime. The Box Elder students highlighted the effect MMIW has had on their community and indigenous communities as a whole.

This year, the Montana Media Lab is teaming up again with Box Elder High School to create a podcast episode focusing on meth addiction on the Rocky Boy’s Reservation. 

Listen to the first episode of Box Elder High School’s “Fight Like a Bear” podcast below and check out photos from their recent audio training field trip to the Montana Media Lab.

Box Elder’s “Fight Like a Bear” Podcast, Episode 1

Box Elder Students Visit the Montana Media Lab for Audio Training

The Montana Media Lab is an outstanding learning facility. The professional staff and students at the media lab trained our podcasting team on the finer points of interviewing, production and editing student driven podcasts. This excellent training was well worth the trip to the University of Montana campus.

Jay Eagleman
Cree/Cultural Awareness Teacher | Box Elder Public School