by: DAVID F. ASHTON - Cleveland High School National Merit Scholar graduate Mackenzie A. Broderick of Eastmoreland spends a moment in the schools library.Just as her thrill of graduating from Cleveland High School was wearing off this summer, Eastmoreland student Mackenzie A. Broderick got another thrill – she learned an essay of hers had taken first place, from among all high school students in North America. It was a literary essay on Jane Austen’s novel, “Pride and Prejudice”.

The Jane Austen Society of North America, which represents 4,500 scholars and followers of the British writer, awarded Broderick a $1,000 scholarship for her essay – “Time of the Season: Time, as an Expression of the Individual in Pride and Prejudice”. She’ll be honored at its annual conference in Minneapolis this month.

Standing on the steps of her alma mater, Broderick told THE BEE she first read “Pride and Prejudice” when in eighth grade

“Jane Austin was the first serious author that I had read. Her voice just really spoke to me. She was funny, but also literary, and able to talk to tackle many serious subjects.

“As a young woman, it was nice to read something by a young woman, for young women – and it’s smart about all the problems they face,” Broderick remarked.

As she’s gotten older, Broderick said, she has gained a deeper appreciation of Austin’s writing style, as well as her subject matter. “In serious literature, women are still not taken very seriously. There are not a lot of books you read in school about women.”

Even though these books were authored two centuries ago, Broderick said their topics are still relevant today. “She’s relevant because of her humor; she’s able to be witty without being cynical.

“Jane Austen recognized in her books that, even if you don’t agree with those in your family or your community, or get along with them, they still play an important role in your life. And, in reading her works, [one can] recognize oneself in her characters; and say to oneself, ‘I’ve felt that way before’. That makes for great literature.”

Broderick, a National Merit Scholar, is the daughter of Mary Gay and Christopher Broderick of Eastmoreland. She will attend the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University starting this month. You can read her essay online:

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