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Central senior wins Brodsky Prize for student journalists

June 11. 2018 9:26PM

Monericka Semeran, a senior at Central High School, was the recipient of the first Brodsky Prize given by Jeffrey Brodsky and his family. She is co-editor of the school newspaper. She will attend Vassar College in the fall and will study international relations and history. (Allegra Boverman/Union Leader)

Manchester High School Central senior Monericka Semeran has won the inaugural Brodsky Prize, a $5,000 cash award that recognizes journalistic excellence and “out-of-the-box” thinking by Manchester high school students.

Semeran has been writing for The Little Green school newspaper at Central since her freshman year, serving as co-editor in-chief this year, concentrating on editorials and commentary.

She was born in Haiti and came to the United States with her family when she was eight years old, not knowing a word of English.

“The Little Green has taught me that opinions have teeth, that facts are meant to be unalterable, and that nothing is as important to development of the self as the development of the voice,” Semeran wrote in an essay accompanying her Brodsky Prize entry.

“Through working for the paper, I have developed principles, learned what it truly means to give your all to something, and I have been lucky enough to witness the fruits of my labor every month when we publish an issue.”

She will use her award to support Central’s student newspaper and to help with her college expenses as she attends Vassar College in the fall to study international relations and write for the college newspaper.

Her winning entry consisted of three opinion columns in which she denounced author Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury,” one of the first books about the Trump administration’s White House; took on the controversy over NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem; and decried “normalizing” neo-Nazism.

She is donating $1,000 of her award to The Little Green, enough to finance two issues in the next school year.

Brodsky Prize judges felt Semeran’s work showed she confidently presented strong opinions, backed by research, on a variety of relevant, timely and important issues facing all of us.

The Brodsky Prize was established this year by Jeffrey Brodsky, who was co-editor of The Little Green during the early 1990s. He hopes the scholarship will encourage “out-of-the-box efforts and innovation” by a new generation of student journalists.

Brodsky, now 44, studied oral history and communications at Columbia University, becoming a historian and documentary producer before illness forced his retirement and return to his hometown.

“Through boldness and creativity, student journalists like Monericka will continue to attract readers and viewers to their exceptional work,” Brodsky said. “Regardless of my health situation, I have made plans to fund this project for the next 20 years — it is that important to me.”

The Brodsky Prize is open to all high school students who either live in Manchester or attend school in the Queen City. It was administered through the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications. Judges were Brodsky’s father, Howard Brodsky; Misbah Tahir, who was co-editor of The Little Green with Brodsky; former Little Green adviser Rita Davis; and David Tirrell-Wysocki, executive director of the Loeb School.

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