By Jianni Burnett
The Scholars’ Academy
Jennifer Cirigliano’s interest in journalism grew out of a love for reading and writing that was fostered at an early age by her grandparents.
Jennifer, 17, said her grandfather, James Stasio, wrote an article for Newsday that also was published in The Washington Post about special-education students earning diplomas. Jenn’s grandmother, Josephine Stasio, is a librarian at the North Bellmore Memorial Library.
“Without my infatuation [with reading and writing] as a young child, or even my grandmother and grandfather, I would not be the way I am today,” said the rising senior at Mepham High School in Bellmore Park, Long Island, where she is a writer for the school paper, The Buccaneer.
“I remember Jenn taking off eagerly to the library,” recalled Jenn’s grandmother, Josephine, 76, of Bellmore. “She would read for hours, write about what she read, then would talk about her ideas. I know this has helped her to accomplish much in the last few years.”
Jennifer plans to join a college newspaper, like her grandfather. “I hope to follow in his footsteps and make him proud,” she said.
Jennifer’s vision for the direction she would take wasn’t always so clear. so to help figure out what she wanted to do, she took an array of courses, including creative writing and AP English and Composition, acquiring skills such as how to critique writing, how to properly organize ideas and how to express her interests within her work.
“I take things that I am most interested in and use those interests and incorporate them into the newspaper,” she said.
During this time, Jenn took part in a rock band at The Rock Underground in Bellmore, developing a love for reading and writing music, playing the guitar and singing. Jennifer’s mother, Susan Cirigliano, said Jenn’s love for music relates closely to her love for writing.
“She started to, unknowingly, realize that they went hand-in-hand,” she said. “As she started to read and analyze lyrics, writing her own stories became a way for her to express her ideas and feelings.”
Jenn joined the Newspaper Club and wrote multiple articles for the school paper, The Buccaneer, and the literary magazine, Fragments.
She said she gained real-world experience and was given the opportunity to build confidence for almost any journalistic career.
Jenn said she had the support of her peers who understood the pressure of putting their work out there. “A lot of people in the club who also had problems with expressing themselves had the ability to get good critiques without being judged harshly.”
Jenn said she would like to become a foreign correspondent or social media specialist.
Regarding being accepted into the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute program, Jenn said, “I’m a little nervous, but I can’t wait to meet all these journalists in the making!”