May 08. 2013 11:35PM

Central's top student named Parker Scholar of the Year

New Hampshire Union Leader

Elizabeth Conway, a senior at Manchester Central High School, won the scholar of the year, during the Francis Parker Wayland scholarship dinner held at the Puritan Backroom, in Manchester on Wednesday. Thomas Roy/Union Leader 

MANCHESTER - Elizabeth Conway, valedictorian of her senior class at Manchester Central High School and aspiring journalist, was selected Wednesday night as the Francis Wayland Parker Scholar of the Year.

"I'm just truly honored," Conway said.

In addition to being at the top of her class, Conway is a champion cross-country runner and is the editor of The Little Green, Central's student newspaper.

Conway said she intends to pursue a career in journalism, despite the field's increasing challenges.

"I really like to write," she said. "I've accepted the fact that it's a really tough position, a tough field to enter in. It's a field that requires pure grit and determination. If you're willing to accept that, then you can get where you need to get."

Conway's selection provided a bright spot to end what had been a tough week after spending several days in the hospital after suffering complications from a spinal tap, she said.

"This is my first time out in six days," she said.

Conway's mother, Dina, said her daughter's selection as scholar of the year, and the $2,000 scholarship that comes with it, came after a lot of hard work.

"She doesn't stop," she said. "She's very focused. But more importantly, I think she actually loves learning."

"I'm very proud of her," said her father, Michael. "She's a perfectionist at everything she does."

The Francis Wayland Parker Scholar program is sponsored by the New Hampshire Association of School Principals, in cooperation with the New Hampshire Union Leader, Lifetouch Studios and the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Northern New England.

Nan Parsons, president of the principals association, said she is inspired by contemporary students.

"People ask me what is wrong with today's youth. Well, I say that there is a lot right about today's youth," Parsons said.