Brooks Secondary School students collaborate on magazine project

Powell River Public Library and school staff combine efforts to help develop digital and print editions

Brooks Secondary School students were taught some artistic tricks of the magazine trade on Monday, November 26, courtesy of local design professionals Meghan Hildebrand and Luke Ramsey.

The students are participating in a magazine project organized by Powell River Public Library teen services coordinator Megan Cole, along with Brooks Secondary School teachers Darren Bennett and Chris Bratseth.

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The project, launched this summer, is centred around the United Nations Global Sustainable Goals initiative, a set of 17 targets aimed at reducing extreme poverty, tackling climate change and fighting injustice.

“Myself, Darren and Chris were trying to come up with a project that we could collaborate on with the teens,” said Cole. “We have the maker’s space and all the Adobe [design software] creative suite facilities here at the library, and we wanted to put these to good use.”

Cole has a background in journalism. Bratseth organizes the Brooks Jade Coast program and Bennett teaches digital photography. The trio quickly realized they had the perfect expertise between them to organize a magazine project for the students.

“We thought a magazine might be a fun project,” said Cole. “The idea was that it would be a teen-led and teen-driven project, but that has come with its challenges.”

Cole also runs a young writers’ group, which she said has fostered the talents of emerging women writers. Among them are Brooks grade 11 students Ayden May, Macy How and Elle Summer, who will all be penning articles for the magazine.

“We hope to open up global issues to our age group in the community, considering we’re going to be the next generation in charge within less than 10 years,” said How. “We’re the ones who will need to focus on these issues.”

Bennett and Bratseth are working with students on the pictorial and digital features of the project.

The project will produce two digital editions at the end of each school semester, in addition to a physical copy, which will be a culmination of the two digital versions.

“We want to have a launch party for the kids so they can celebrate all the work that went into it,” said Cole.

Groups of students attended the design class at the library throughout the day to get a sense of the visual strategies magazine publishers use to engage readers.

Hildebrand and Ramsey brought along an illuminating selection of magazines new and old, including print editions of publications the students had only previously seen online.

While presenting the magazines, both artists emphasized the value of collaborative work, in addition to the importance of sharing constructive criticism among peers.

Student Taylor Leslie said he hopes the project will connect Powell River to the United Nations’ goals both locally and globally.

“We’re trying to help Powell River understand some of the UN goals,” he said, “and trying to build a platform from that to help people globally.”

The class ended with a brief presentation of the mural on the west wall of the library, which was painted by Hildebrand and Ramsey this September.

Copyright © Powell River Peak


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