Rivers student, Bethany Pasko ’19, received the Will McDonough Writing Contest award through the Boston Globe in March. Bethany’s essay, entitled “Abdication of Accountability—The NCAA’s Sportsmanship Transgressions,” won first place in the 11th-12th grade category, andwas inspired by her research into current events related to NCAA oversight of collegiate athletics. The writing contest was open to students from grades 4 through 12 and garnered over 900 submissions.
Bethany chose to focus on the NCAA organization after seriously thinking about the deeper meaning of the prompts for the contest. Of the four options, Bethany specifically chose one about sportsmanship.
“I looked at the prompt and I thought on the surface level I could talk about a relationship with a teammate or a coach,” Bethany stated. “But then I thought about who has the most sportsmanship transgressions across all sports, male athletes and female athletes, everyone. And that was the NCAA and how they’re taking advantage of their athletes. Once I had that idea I went through and researched a lot of different stories related to academics, the treatment of athletes, and NCAA economics.”
This was not the first time Bethany has been recognized in the Will McDonough Writing Contest. When Bethany was in 6th grade, she came in 2nd place for her essay about the NFL and how to improve the NFL schedule.
“I read about it in the newspaper when I was actually in 6th grade, so a long time ago,” Bethany said. “I entered that year and I came in 2nd place. Since then, I’ve entered 2 or 3 more times and I wasn’t recognized. This year, however, I entered again and I came in 1st place. It’s pretty difficult to get any recognition and I was really excited to receive the award.”
As part of the recognition ceremony, Bethany received a tour of the Sports Museum at TD Garden, and had her essay on display in an exhibit at the press level.
When asked about how she developed the skills to write an award-winning essay, Bethany attributed her education at Rivers as a main factor. Bethany recognized her English teachers who have encouraged her to explore current events and apply a journalistic approach to her writing. She is also an editor for The Current, an art and literary journal at Rivers. Bethany has considered majoring in English or journalism when she attends college in 2019.