Houghtaling Elementary School students look toward the airport on Friday, expecting the plane with Crystal Worl’s designs. (Photo courtesy of Starla Agoney).

Ketchikan students tracked the inaugural flight of an Alaska Airlines plane designed by Crystal Worl on Friday.

The former salmon-thirty-salmon is wrapped in Worl’s colorful formline salmon design.

Houghtaling Elementary School teacher Starla Agoney said her fourth graders wouldn’t mind a formline design on every plane.

“Some of the conversations were students think that all of our Alaska Airlines planes should have those designs, formline design, and to be traveling throughout the United States,” she said.

Agoney said that one of her students came to school on Friday morning with the news that the plane would be touching down later that day. 

She took it as a chance to show them pictures of the plane, and track the flight through Alaska Airlines. When it got close, they all flocked outside to look. And a conversation about culture took off. 

“We talked about how the salmon is the clan of the artist and how the artist always wanted to see a salmon design on one of the planes,” she said. “So it was really deep conversations about what it means to our area.”

It was especially engaging for the students since they’ve been learning formline designs through the school’s artist-in-residence program. 

“And so my students were able to talk about the ovoids and the U-shapes and what they thought the design meant,” Agoney added.

Watching the plane come and go was a way for the students to connect what they’ve been learning with real life.

“We’ve been learning about each other’s cultures and the cultures of the Southeast Alaska people,” she said. “And so it was they were able to connect that with what they’ve been learning in class. And so that was really special and unique.”

Agoney said other classes at Houghtaling also watched. Revilla Junior Senior High School students did the same.

Raegan Miller is a Report for America corps member for KRBD. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep her writing stories like this one. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution at KRBD.org/donate.