The Write Stuff

June 18, 2014

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By Andy Seeley

Jenna Marina

ORLANDO, Fla. ( – UCF Associate Director of Athletic Communications Jenna Marina has been honored with National Story of the Year accolades from CoSIDA.

Marina’s Everyday Champions story about Megan Fish and the way she honors and remembers her late father was chosen as the top story in CoSIDA’s annual Fred Stabley Sr. Writing Contest.

“Ms. Marina’s depiction of the close bond and uplifting relationship between Ms. Fish and her father was uplifting and beautifully written,” said one national judge. “The way the story flowed and how it was artfully constructed left the reader with a pleasurable experience.”

Marina was grateful for the honor, but said the credit really belongs to Fish opening up about her relationship with her father.

“I am sincerely thankful and honored to be selected as the recipient of such a special award,” Marina said. “I have been blessed to be part of some incredible professional experiences and I can honestly say that Fish’s story is my favorite. The overwhelming response we received when it was published – and continue to receive – is unlike anything else I have experienced. I think this honor belongs more so to Fish for her willingness to share her story and her spirit. I am very lucky to have the opportunity work with her and other Everyday Champions like her on a daily basis.

“I would also like to thank the support system I have at UCF,” Marina added. “Thanks to Doug Richards for editing the story and to my parents for their unyielding encouragement.”

Click here to read the winning National Story of the Year entry.

Chip Fontanazza

Marina teamed up with UCF Multimedia Reporter Chip Fontanazza to bring home a second award from the CoSIDA writing contest. The duo’s entry was selected as tops in the “Story With Video” category. They combined to profile the Labbadia family in the lead-up to UCF’s Coach To Cure MD game this past fall.

Click here to see the national winner in the "Story With Video" category.

“The Labbadias are the most gracious and wonderful people,” Marina said. “It is bittersweet that such a story had to bring us together, but I’m glad it did. They remind us all how sports can have an impact off the field. Hopefully, as awareness for Duchenne muscular dystrophy grows with those like Brendan and his family championing the cause, one day we will be able to find a cure.

“Thanks to Chip for doing his usual great job with the video content on this story,” Marina added. “So many of the stories we tell are greatly enhanced by Chip’s contribution. He deserves a great deal of credit for this honor, as well.”

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