May 20, 2008, 01:31PM

At Least One Young Writer Gets To Start Career Financially Secure

Graduating senior Emma Sovich won $68,000 from her school. The slightly obscure Washington College in Maryland offers the cash every year due to a generous estate donation, making all those Ivy League graduates rethinking their admissions decision.

"Sovich did indeed remember to smile as she accepted the Sophie Kerr Prize, worth $67,481, at Washington College's 225th commencement yesterday in Chestertown, Md.

The Baltimore native, an English major who is the eldest of five children, won for her portfolio of poetry, blog entries and essays that examined family, travel and escape. Her blog is called "The Composing Stick" ( http://thecomposingstick.blogspot.com) and explores "the nuances and gritty realities of old-fashioned printing in a modern world," according to a news release from the college.

"It means I can pay off my student loans," she said. "It's going to help me with my plans, but it's not going to change them."

The prize is named for an early 20th-century journalist and author from Maryland's Eastern Shore. When Kerr died in 1965, she left the bulk of her estate to Washington College, with the stipulation that half of the annual earnings be awarded to a graduating senior "having the best ability and promise for future fulfillment in the field of literary endeavor." The amount varies depending on the stock market, and yesterday's prize was one of the biggest.



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