Neshaminy editor Gillian McGoldrick wins Widener award for leadership

LANGHORNE First she unwittingly entered into a contentious national debate. Now, the 16-year-old is being honored for her leadership.

Gillian McGoldrick, editor-in-chief of Neshaminy High School's Playwickian newspaper, will receive the Widener University High School Leadership Award, according to an announcement from Neshaminy on Wednesday.

McGoldrick, a junior, has overseen Neshaminy's monthly student publication this fall as its editorial board voted to ban the word Redskins - which led to widespread media attention, including from ESPN2 anchor Keith Olbermann. The school's athletic teams are called the Redskins. A number of American Indian groups protest the use of the word.

She said winning the award was "awesome."

"I honestly wasn't expecting to win at all," she said.

Playwickian adviser Tara Huber said McGoldrick has "the perfect combination of personality traits to be a great leader."

The paper's ban on the word was overturned in the fall by principal Rob McGee, a decision that drew widespread criticism. But Huber said McGee was one of the people behind McGoldrick's nomination for the award.

McGoldrick and other student award winners will be honored at the National Constitution Center on March 20, according to a news release, and if she chooses to enroll at Widener University, she will receive a $20,000 scholarship over four years. - Chris Palmer