By Maggie McManis
Not every day do you hear of a 16-year-old high school student who is a CEO of a nonprofit organization assembled by her peers.
But Da Vinci High student Shelby Ziccardi contradicts that assumption.
The World Spectra magazine was founded in August with the notion of changing the world. No, the students aren’t going to fix every hurdle of life, but they’re taking the baby steps toward a better understanding of the world.
The magazine was an idea generated by editor-in-chief Linda Ge, a student at Davis High. In the beginning, the organization had a mere nine members eager to embark on a new way to get involved not only at their school, but also in the world.
“Our main objective is to create a magazine that will develop an understanding between different cultures and worlds,” Ziccardi said. “Hopefully, (World Spectra) will be able to start conversations and agreements of peace between different countries.”
The students originally planned to work with the nonprofit Global Journal Project, which connects three different schools that then work together to create one literary magazine. When that didn’t work out, “we decided to go it alone,” Ziccardi said.
They followed the basic structure that the Global Journal Project uses, however — inviting people from around the world to contribute stories, personal narratives, essays, articles, poems and photos. In having people share their varied life experiences, the Spectra team hopes to create more tolerance among different cultures.
According to Ziccardi, the group first contacted local people that they knew had amazing stories to share; they received many different stories from all around the world. Spectra editors were particularly thrilled when they obtained contributions from Davis photographer Steve Rosenfield’s renowned “What I Be” project, as well as from other authors, including Wall Street Journal and Time magazine writers.
In January, their first issue, “New Beginnings,” was published in a digital-only format.
“We have gotten a very good response from the community,” said Spectra staff member and Da Vinci student Emily Knighton.
The team had a celebration at The Avid Reader and plan to staff a booth at the Davis Farmers Market to spread the word about the magazine.
They team is collecting estimates for printing, and once they are able to publish hard copies, they hope to sell them to local dentists and doctors for their waiting rooms, as well as to local schools. The Avid Reader also has offered to sell the magazine.
Although most of the staff at Spectra consists of juniors and seniors, they are reaching out to sophomores to sustain the legacy of the club. And looking ahead, many of the juniors and seniors want to contribute chapters to the magazine from the colleges they will attend.
When asked how working at the magazine has affected her schoolwork, Ziccardi joked, “It’s actually kind of detrimental to my school work … (but) it has also helped me with communication and ways to apply what I learn in school into the real world.”
The magazine’s next issue — scheduled to publish on April 27 — is expected to be bigger than the last, and the staff hopes to have more hard copies available to the public.
Anyone interested in participating in Spectra magazine — including by suggesting contributors or writing articles — should contact Spectra through its Facebook page, “The World Spectra Project,” or visit the website, www.spectra.co.nr.
The submission deadline for the next issue is April 1. Current high school students interested in writing for the magazine can learn more at the website.
— Maggie McManis is a student at Da Vinci Charter Academy.