Neha Madhira is 17 years old and a senior at Prosper High School in Texas. She was accidentally moved into Journalism two years ago and started competing in UIL Academic competitions because of the passion her former adviser, Lori Oglesbee, showed for writing. She won 19 journalism awards over two years, achieving All-State journalism both years and a National Quill and Scroll Gold Key last year.
Currently, she is Editor-in-Chief of her high school’s paper, Eagle Nation Online. After her principal prior reviewed/censored the paper, banned editorials and fired Ms. Oglesbee last year, she spoke out along with Haley Stack. Their story received coverage from over 30 media publications including the New York Times, and the duo was nominated for the National Courage in Journalism award.
Madhira continued on the journey to student press freedom by becoming a student leader of the New Voices movement in Texas and speaks about the importance students’/teachers’ rights across the country. By communicating with legislators and First Amendment advocates such as Mary Beth Tinker, as well as educating others on their student press rights, she is fighting to make Texas the next state with the free press law. Eventually, Madhira hopes to have the other 35 states without New Voices, pass it as well.