Three THS Juniors Receive the Second Annual Sharon Begley Awards


Jacqueline Kim

Marni Schwarz, Alex Chizzik, and Joie Evar.

Heeseo Yoon, Staff Writer

Three Tenafly High School juniors, Alex Chizzik, Marni Schwarz, and Joie Evar, were honored for their work in the field of women’s journalism by receiving the Sharon Begley Awards. Created in honor of the THS Alumna and the celebrated science journalist Sharon Begley, the Begley Awards is an award for female journalists in THS who have shown exceptional skill and interest in journalism. This year’s accolades mark the second year that the award has been given.

Sharon Begley once roamed the halls of THS where she left her mark not only as the 1974 valedictorian but also as one of the most prominent science journalists of the last four decades. After studying combined sciences at Yale University (1977), she became the senior science writer of STAT and covered the fields of genetics, cancer, neuroscience, and more. Begley was also the science columnist of The Wall Street Journal and the science editor at Newsweek. Howard Fineman, the former political correspondent of that magazine, fondly described Begley as “one of those rare heroic minds that, luckily for all, go into journalism.”

The three winners of the Begley Awards expressed their great joy upon receiving the award. “I am so excited and grateful to have received the Sharon Begley Award,” said Alex Chizzik. She discovered her interest in journalism during the COVID-19 pandemic, which allowed her to appreciate conduct research of world events and in a way take her out of the confines of her home during lockdown. Journalism, she said, has been “a great outlet for me not only to research current events and enhance my knowledge, but to express my opinions and share stories with the Tenafly community.” On a personal level, she said, “being a part of The Echo has allowed me a way to discover more about my interests and passions, as well as develop as a writer.”

Marni Schwarz also stated that she was “incredibly grateful” to receive an award celebrating such an “inspirational woman.” Schwartz commented that “journalism has always been intriguing to [her]” because of its ability to “[give] people a voice and an opportunity to broaden their knowledge to formulate an opinion.” As a journalist who focuses on “human-interest stories,” Schwarz, said, she hopes to make “an impact on others in the same way they have impacted me.”

Joie Evar conveyed her gratitude and shared that she was “happy [she could] contribute to the honor of this amazing award.” According to Evar, journalism was originally in her field of interest: “Going into freshman year, journalism did not even cross my mind as an elective and certainly not something I would ever think I would continue to do throughout my high school career… I can easily say now it has become one of my greatest passions.” She described journalism as “a field where you constantly learn about what is going on,” including “anything that interests you.” Evar currently writes a column in The Echo called “Joie’s Jams of the Month,” in which she shares her favorite songs of the month and communicates her passion for music. “I hope to continue my career in journalism beyond THS and make my mark on the world through what I love,” she said.