Each month, we showcase kids who are accomplishing amazing things. We hope that by telling their special stories, we will inspire other kids to accomplish their own amazing achievements.
If you, or someone that you know, has a special skill, talent or ability, be sure to let Amazing Kids! know about it! Simply complete our Amazing Kids! of the Month online nomination form!
Amazing Kids! of the Month, July 2009: Our Amazing Kids! Online Magazine Team
by Shamala Pulugurtha
Quotes of the Month:
- “Never give up. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you; don’t start an Online Magazine alone! Pick a niche; keep it kid-friendly; most of all, do what you love and do it with excellence.” – Brittany, age 17; Editor-in-chief, Amazing Kids! Online Magazine
- “After finding something you love to do, success will come with hard work, determination and persistence. The plaque above our kitchen says, “Live well, love much, laugh often!” That is the motto I try to live by.” – Sean Traynor, age 14; Assistant Editor, Amazing Kids! Online Magazine
- “Working for the Online Magazine makes me feel more mature, grown up and intelligent. I feel proud.” – Natalie B., age 12; Junior Assistant Editor, Amazing Kids! Online Magazine
- “I treasure every moment spent being a part of the Amazing Kids! team. It’s an honor for me to be a member of this wonderful family, where harmony, beauty and good things happen. I get encouragement and appreciation here, and I thank everyone for their support.” – Ioana C., age 14; Art Editor, Amazing Kids! Online Magazine
- “I enjoy writing for the Amazing Kids! Online Magazine. It has taught me very much about working as a team member, and I’m very willing to volunteer for such a great organization.” – Angel Chen., age 15; L.O.L. Humor Column Editor, Amazing Kids! Online Magazine
Our July Amazing Kids! Of the Month:
The Amazing Kids! Online Magazine isn’t your average kids’ Online Magazine: it’s written entirely by and for kids from around the world! Previously known as the Amazing Kids! Online Magazine, the newly redesigned Online Magazine for kids began in 2001 and up until now, was published four times a year.
Over the years, the Online Magazine has featured hundreds of poems, stories, articles and reviews, artwork and interviews by amazing young writers and artists. With big changes now in the works, readers who can’t wait 3 months for each new issue can rejoice: Plans for the Online Magazine’s relaunch throughout the coming months will include transitioning the publication into a monthly (12-issue) Online Magazine, due to start this coming December 2009!
Formerly called the “Amazing Kids! eZine,” the completely redesigned Amazing Kids! Online Magazine is a virtual haven for young, budding prodigies to let their talented imaginations run wild, ultimately blossoming into “amazing-ness” in the form of original kid-created writing and art. The best part about it? They get to share their amazing work with other kids on the Web in a unique online literary magazine environment not quite seen anywhere else!
The Amazing Kids! Online Magazine simply couldn’t happen without our team of truly amazing, dedicated, hard-working and seriously talented all-volunteer staff of kids and teens young writers, editors and webmaster. So it is with great delight that we proudly feature our Online Magazine Team” as our July Amazing Kids! of the Month!
Keep in mind, the Online Magazine Team is an all-volunteer group of kids and teens! Their work is overseen by an adult supervisor, Alyse Rome (also a volunteer!), who is the Founder/Publisher of the magazine as well as the Founder and President of Amazing Kids!
The Amazing Kids! Online Magazine Team includes:
- Braxton, age 15, Amazing Kids! Webmaster
- Brittany, age 17, Editor-in-Chief
- Sean Traynor, age 14, Assistant Editor
- Natalie Brady, age 12, Junior Assistant Editor
- Angel Chen, age 12, Humor Column Editor
- Ioana Ciora, age 14, Art Editor
Want to know the best thing, though? You (yes, you! :-)) can be the next Amazing Writer or Artist to submit your work to us (ages 5-17 only please) at: email@example.com. Who knows? Your writing or art may just be the next amazing kid-created content to be featured in an upcoming issue!
Are you an adult wanting to help support this incredible opportunity for fostering creativity in your own or other kids? Please consider making a donation to help us continue this amazing work! Visit our secure online donation page: http://amazingkids.kintera.org/amazing-kids
About the Amazing Kids! Online Magazine
As our regular visitors to the Amazing Kids!’ website will attest, the Amazing Kids! Online Magazine, formerly know as the “Amazing Kids eZine” has been an essential part of the Amazing Kids! online experience since the publication’s founding in 2001.
While the Amazing Kids! educational non-profit organization and website were founded in 1998, the first issue of the Amazing Kids! eZine was published on the Amazing Kids! website in the year 2001, the year of the September 11 tragedy. Alyse Rome, the publication’s Founder and Publisher (as well as Founder and President of the Amazing Kids! organization) wanted to give creative kids hope for their future, while providing them with an opportunity to showcase their amazing creative gifts.
As a former teacher, Alyse had seen firsthand the incredible talents of the kids she had taught. She felt there was a huge need for a special place online where budding young writers and authors could express themselves and receive recognition for their talents. She envisioned a unique online literary magazine especially for kids, created by the kids themselves. And thus, the Amazing Kids! Online Magazine was born.
The publication’s founding student Editor-in-Chief was Alexandra Toumanoff who was 16 at the time. Here is an excerpt from her original ‘Editor’s Notes’ from that premier issue:
“As teens and children who have been through similar experiences, one of our missions here at Amazing Kids! is to provide readers with inspiration to carry on and go that extra mile. The Online Magazine dedicated to entertaining you and helping you realize your fabulous potential.”
Today, twenty-nine issues and hundreds of poems and articles later, the Amazing Kids! Online Magazine still strives to ‘inspire kids to reach their potential and give them opportunities to do so.’ Alyse Rome, Founder and President of Amazing Kids! who is also the publisher of the Online Magazine and supervises the Online Magazine Team, has this to say about the online publication:
“The Amazing Kids! Online Magazine gives kids and teens a unique opportunity to express themselves creatively for a wide-ranging online audience. By reading the creative works of their peers from around the world, kids (as well as adults) become inspired, and soon come to realize just how much we share in common as human beings, no matter where we live.”
Brittany, age 17; Student Editor-in-Chief
Brittany stumbled (quite literally!) onto the Amazing Kids! Online Magazine four years ago by nothing short of a miracle. After reading a call for a new Editor-in-Chief by accident in an older archived issue, she applied for the position, only to find out that, although they no longer needed an Editor-in-Chief (they had already selected one three years previously!), they were about to put out the call for an Assistant Editor…and fortunately (not only just for Brittany, but for Amazing Kids! and our readers!), due to her exceptional writing and editing, as well as her top-notch people management skills, Brittany was offered the position. From there, she became the Student Editor-in-Chief just a brief three months later, and the rest is…well, history!
“I don’t think I had ever really been good at telling colons from semi-colons and spelling,” she says. “But you learn pretty fast once you sign up for something like this! I’ve learned so much about grammar…and I’m having fun at the same time!”
When she’s not editing, writing or reading, you can find Brittany making Betty Crocker cakes (ok, make that making and eating those cakes!) 🙂 or wrangling with Stoichiometry and Algebra II.
Braxton, age 15; Amazing Kids! Webmaster
Braxton, a computer specialist since the age of 12, has always been on the cutting edge of technological advancement. After teaching himself numerous “computer languages” by reading books and experimenting with his family’s home computer, he has advanced far enough to be invited to intern in the IT department at a professional corporation. Braxton enjoys technology so much that he frequently finds himself fixing computers, digital cameras, and just about any other kind of broken electronic device he finds. Braxton is truly grateful for the talent he’s been given.
Now, after three years of learning computer lingo and volunteering for Amazing Kids!, Braxton has brought about the one of the largest technological updates to the Amazing Kids! website in its history, much of which the average user may never get to see…an amazing accomplishment at any age, and Braxton is just 15 years old!
When not taming a techno-gone-wild beast, or reminding family members that the easiest way to fix a computer is by…plugging it in…(true story!), you can find Braxton taste-testing Parmesan Romano and gourmet Mac-and-Cheese.
Sean Traynor, age 13; Assistant Editor
Sean Traynor became interested in Amazing Kids! Online Magazine while researching on the Internet. He came upon the website and found it very interesting and entertaining. So, he decided to submit some stories for publication and they were accepted. When the position of a student Assistant Editor at the Online Magazine became open, Sean applied and soon joined the team.
“I expected to only work a few hours a month on the issues. I have become so immersed in the writing and editing that sometimes I have to rely on my Mom to stop me from ignoring my other hobbies. Now I spend about four hours a week editing, thinking about new ideas, or writing something that I may submit for the magazine.”
Sean loves to act and perform and has participated in numerous plays at school and in his community including Music Man, Oklahoma, South Pacific, Sound of Music, Beauty and the Beast, All That Glitters, Hey Shakespeare Get a Job!, Guys and Dolls, Pirates of Penzance, Macbeth. Not content to rest on his performing laurels, Amazing Sean has also been highly successful in his school career, receiving numerous awards for Academic Excellence, Community Service and most recently the “Shining Star” Award, the highest honor offered by his school!
Sean thinks of his parents as his biggest source of inspiration. “My sources of inspiration are my parents. They encourage me to find my interests and enjoy them. After finding something you love to do, success will come with hard work, determination and persistence. The plaque above our kitchen says, “Live well, love much, laugh often!” That is the motto we try to live by,” he says.
Sean has worked with the Amazing Kids! Online Magazine team for six months now. “I already respect the talent and inspiration offered by the other members of the team. Everyone is so ‘team-oriented’ and we encourage and work well with one another. I am very lucky to be a part of it,” he adds.
Natalie B., age 13; Junior Assistant Editor
Twelve year old Natalie is a peppy, fun-loving girl who is always up for an adventure. She lives in Ohio and absolutely ADORES pandas and wants to work with them when she grows up. Natalie loves to cook and try different things. She also loves spending time with her family and friends. Her hobbies include reading, writing, inventing, playing volleyball, gymnastics, cheerleading, and playing the trumpet and piano.
Natalie considers her mother and father as her greatest sources of inspiration. “My mom taught me the piano and my father taught me the trumpet. They are always so caring and understanding. I don’t know what I would do without them.” she says.
And finally, what does Natalie think of her experience with Amazing Kids!
“I am very happy to be working on the Amazing Kids! Online Magazine. It is a great honor, and I am extremely proud to be the Jr. Assistant Editor. I spend a lot of time working on my articles for the Online Magazine. The thing I really like about the Online Magazine – is that when I write, I can be myself. Add my own sort of flavor.
My experience as an Online Magazine member… well, I’d say it has brought out a part of me I’ve never known. I don’t really know how many kids can say: “I have a job (technically)!” It makes me feel more mature and grown up and intelligent. I feel proud.”
Ioana Ciora, age 14; Art Editor
Fourteen-year-old Ioana was born and lives in Constanta, Romania. She has been interested in drawing and art from a very young age.
“I have been drawing ever since I remember, it has been a part of me. Ever since I was little my parents used to buy me painting materials because I was drawing on the walls. I was watching cartoons and drawing the characters from there on the walls,” she says.
Ioana’s kindergarten teacher soon discovered her talent and requested her parents to send her to a students’ club in town where she could have access to some good teachers. “I had the most wonderful teacher who taught me to discover the beauty of color. He put me in the performance group and I was going 5 days a week. I painted icons on glass, won the first national prize with it, then won the bronze in Finland and so many national prizes,” Ioana explains.
Last year, Ioana started taking online classes at the Art Academy in the U.S.A. Ioana loves reading (she reads a lot and never gets bored!), and she also loves animals (sometimes more than humans). 😉
As for working with Amazing Kids!, Ioana thinks of it as a “wonderful experience.” She explains: “I love Britt and Ms Rome; I treasure every moment spent being a part of the Amazing Kids! team. It’s an honor for me to be a member of this wonderful family, where harmony, beauty and good things happen. I get encouragement and appreciation here, and I thank everyone for their support.”
Angel Chen, age 15; L.O.L. Humor Column Editor
Angel is a high school freshman who lives in Canada. She loves reading, writing, and sketching. Some of her favorite books include Mansfield Park, Vanity Fair, Inferno (by Dante) and Paradise Lost. Two of her favorite playwrights are Shakespeare and Bernard Shaw.
“I like Shakespeare for his beautiful use of language and I like Shaw because of his caustic humor and his opinions about society.” She also enjoys reading poetry, especially that of poets like Keats, James Joyce, and Lord Byron.
Angel’s parents have encouraged her to read lots of books and write a lot. “I enjoy writing for the Amazing Kids! Online Magazine. It has taught me very much about working as a team member and I’m very willing to volunteer for such a great organization,” Angel says.
Some Big Changes
There are many amazing moments in life; most of them signal change: an ending of the old and a beginning of the new. For the Amazing Kids! volunteer team, an amazing moment was in the air early Spring, 2009. The momentum picked up, and we began on a wild, crazy-adventure rollercoaster we call the “re-de,” a 5-month project, more specifically, an under-cover, co-op re-design of the Amazing Kids! website and Online Magazine. Here, the journey is chronicled in simplicity; we hope you enjoy the journal of the massive undertaking and experience the amazing moment we were blessed to be a part of.
March, 2009- Ideas are stirring in the minds of the Amazing Kids! team. “I was thinking: What can we do to make this better? How can we change things up?” Brittany, Student Editor-in-Chief, recalls. Braxton, Amazing Kids! Webmaster, pitches in to create a concept that is not only pretty, but functional, as well.
April, 2009- “Please see the attached files in the zip file. If it’s ok with you, Braxton and I would like to use this template demo to format issue #30,” reads an email sent to Alyse Rome, the Online Magazine Publisher and Amazing Kids! Founder and President, on April 10th. The original idea was to re-design the Online Magazine, exclusively. Below, the attached concept sent with the email.
May, 2009- The idea for the “re-de” gets a resounding “Yes!” We start designing other pages of the website. What if we merged the Amazing Kids! main site with the Online Magazine? The ball starts rolling. More tweaking and editing is done. Merging the two sites gets a thumbs-up, and creative design goes into hyper-drive.
June, 2009- The team is now going full-throttle. Amidst finishing up school and early summer vacays, the re-de is being solidified, finally! The pages are being edited and re-edited, then edited some more. Braxton is working hardest of all, using nearly full-time hours to bring the re-de online before the looming, secretive July 1stdeadline.
July, 2009- The first-ever re-design of Amazing Kids! hits the web…and the weary team, trudging to the bunkers for a night or two of rest, deserts the field off duty, only momentarily. With countless secret, super-cool features temporarily cut because of the deadline, there is still much more to come, and in another day or two, the team will march back onto the battlefield of amazing victory, facing a new sunrise on the horizon, a new dawn for Amazing Kids!, and a yet-to-be discovered era of our amazing website.
In Her Own Words: An Interview with Brittany (Editor-in-Chief)
1. What inspired you to want to do a redesign of the Amazing Kids! Online Magazine?
Perhaps the same thing that tells you when you’ve outgrown a shirt, or something. You notice the shirt is getting too small for you, or that you are getting too big for it; then you go and buy a new one. It took a lot of work, but it was sooo worth it.
2. Where did you get your ideas and inspiration for the re-design?
I sat down at the computer one day and made this layout within 48 hours, much of which is still (after lots of editing and changes) a part of the re-design you see today. It was nothing short of a miracle, and that’s all I can tell you. I don’t design websites; I don’t plan on designing them much more in the future. This was just a moment where something happens like I never expected, and for which I am still very grateful for.
3. What has your experience been like on the Online Magazine?
It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s so much fun! It’s an amazing adventure; I’ve become a better speller and a lot more honed in on grammar. It offers exclusive experiences, like having to plan, plan, and then do some more planning, and working with amazing people from all around the world that bring their own piece of “amazing-ness” to this puzzle.
4. How much time do you spend each week on the Online Magazine?
I’ll let you in on a secret…nobody’s been counting for the last four years…or ever. 🙂 We don’t really mind that.
5. Who are your mentors or people who have inspired you or guided you in your life?
I can’t list them all here; there are so many people that I love and am blessed to know. God is my ultimate lifeline; I couldn’t imagine life without Him. From there, I’ll go to my family; my parents and brothers, especially. They’ve lived with me for years, and we’ve traveled the world together. We’ve watched the stars come out on a cold winter night together, and jumped on hotel beds (and we’ve eaten fish eyes in another country, all together…well, ok , except for my mom, and I can’t really blame her) :-), and we stick together like an impossible glue that is obviously something we could’ve never created, ourselves. They inspire me every day.
6. What are your future goals, including college and career goals?
Pediatrics! I want to be a Pediatrician (a children’s doctor). It’s my passion; it’s my love; it’s what I was born to do, and I’m so thankful for it. I spend countless hours reading 9 pound books on things like subdural hemorrhages and tonic clonic seizures and childhood asthma. Of course, I don’t understand half the words in the books, but I’m learning the lingo…page, by page, by page (which is going to keep me reading for a few eons, because there are over 3,000 pages).
7. What words of advice do you have for other kids who may wish to start their own Online Magazines?
Never give up. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you; don’t start an Online Magazine alone! Pick a niche; keep it kid-friendly; most of all, do what you love and do it with excellence. Without the help we’ve been given, the Amazing Kids! Online Magazine wouldn’t be as amazing as it is today.
- To check out the latest issue of our Online Magazine, visit www.amazing-kids.org.
- To contribute to the Amazing Kids! Online Magazine, submit your work to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Help keep the Amazing Kids! Online Magazine going strong! Donate today by
visiting our secure online donation page: http://amazingkids.kintera.org/amazing-kids
- Each month, we showcase kids who are accomplishing amazing things. We hope that by telling their special stories, we will inspire other kids to accomplish their own amazing achievements.