"I have a passion for writing," McKelvey said. "It helps me deal with what's going on in my life."
McKelvey, 17, whose bubbly personality lights up her face, is insanely responsible, genuinely caring and wise beyond her years. When McKelvey and her classmates were given a project by Lori Farias, who teaches the Critics of Society class at Sparks High School, McKelvey was ready for the challenge. Farias told the class that it's project was to go change the world.
McKelvey took the challenge and is only a couple hundred dollars away from successfully completing her goal. McKelvey thought the best way for her to change the world would be through community awareness.
Taking a preexisting idea and modifying it, McKelvey is the editor, organizer, main motivater and fundraising chairperson for the book “Write Out Loud Volume II: Tell All.”
McKelvey explained that the idea for the book came from the senior class of 2007, which started "Write Out Loud" as a compilation of written pieces by students expressing their emotions and opinions on subjects such as love, life and even the government.
Last year’s project was for the students and stayed within the school but McKelvey felt the need to turn it into a community awareness project.
Taking last year’s idea and determined to make it bigger — but not necessarily better, McKelvey said — she has expanded the range of topics as well as the students who can submit their writing, in all forms.
“It's important for teens to let their voice be heard,” McKelvey said.
Regardless of what that voice has to say, McKelvey is interested in hearing it. Topics in "Tell All" include rape and molestation, substance and domestic abuse, politics and society and more. McKelvey also said she wanted to include other schools in the Washoe County School District. She sent out e-mails to other schools and has seen a large response from Wooster and Damonte high schools.
Along with taking writing submissions, McKelvey said she is looking for artists to submit works because she believes that is just as important as written expression.
Since the project came to fruition, McKelvey has always intended to publish “Tell All.” With submissions still coming in, she is still editing and raising money to publish the book.
She clarified that “Tell All” is not a Sparks High School publication but her own. That way, she said, she didn't have to censor any material. A decision that left her on her own for fundraising.
McKelvey, with help from friends, teachers and family, has held fundraisers and is nearing her goal of raising more than $500, possibly more depending on how many books she prints. Over winter break, McKelvey partnered with Borders to hold a fundraiser, letting McKelvey and her friends wrap presents for proceeds.
The countless hours of hard work have helped McKelvey grow as a person.
"It's made me grow up," McKelvey said. "With all the contacts I've had to make, I've become more social."
McKelvey is hoping that in addition to raising community awareness for such important, yet sensitive, topics that proceeds from "Tell All" will go to the Children's Cabinet, Teens Doing Stuff group, a local community service organization.
To donate to McKelveys's fundraising to publish the book, contact her at email@example.com.