Southwest senior lifts diverse voices in final magazine

Journalism helped Southwest senior Emely find her voice.

“(Brandi) Benson told me, if you don’t trust your voice, then trust your writing. So that’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve been trusting my writing,” Emely said.

Now, she’s using her voice to help others find theirs by highlighting the diversity of Southwest in the school’s final magazine for the year.  

“My two passions are journalism and equity. So, I really want to elevate stories and tell stories that people will often not hear about or might not care about, but they are stories that need to be told,” the senior added. 

“One of the things I enjoy about teaching journalism is watching my students mature and grow as humans,” Brandi Benson said.  “When Emely began, she was incredibly shy. She had opinions, but she was very hesitant to share them. Through her writing, she has learned to advocate, not only for herself, but for others.” Benson is the Talon yearbook and Hawk media adviser.

Emely produced the Hawk’s latest edition from start to finish. The 16-page spread features 23 Silverhawks and their various experiences from being an athlete of color to balancing school and several activities. Another special aspect of the publication is each student’s narrative unedited. 

“I could write these stories for them and use their interviews, but it is much more powerful when it’s their words,” Emely said. 

The magazine’s title is “Our Stories” and its cover art is a hand print to symbolize the uniqueness of Southwest’s student body. The student journalist hopes readers get a new perspective from her peers after picking it up. 

“Each story teaches you something different. I think that’s why I like telling stories because it can really teach you something and make an impact that can create change,” she said. 

The storyteller will graduate from Southwest this spring. Then, she plans to continue her passion and develop her craft by studying journalism at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln this fall.  

“She has the potential to create change. She says all of the time that her ‘purpose is to tell stories for those who may not have a voice,’ and that is what I think she will do as a journalist. The world is hers for the taking,”  Benson said. 

“I’m just going to tell as many stories as I can in my lifetime,” Emely added. 


Published: May 26, 2023, Updated: June 6, 2023

Southwest senior Emely used her last semester in high school to amplify her peers in a special edition of her school's magazine.