Woman's World magazine will pay $500 to Brenda Way, the Montgomery County high school student who discovered that the magazine had published an article last month under the byline of a teacher at her school that contained portions of a fictional essay Way had written last year.

"We weren't aware that the story published was her work, and we feel we owe it to her," said John Cotter, a senior editor at Woman's World, adding that he had asked Way to write for the magazine in the future. "The story was hers."

"It's incredibly nice of them," Way said after hearing that she would be paid. "I never would have asked them for it. It was very big of them, very noble."

Woman's World already had paid $500 to Kathy Megyeri, an English teacher at Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, for the article, which appeared in the March 29 issue. The article contained five paragraphs that were nearly identical to portions of a story Way wrote last April for the Churchill literary magazine, Erehwon. Way, a 17-year-old senior at Churchill, won an honorable mention for her story in the school's fiction writing contest.

Montgomery County school officials have begun an inquiry into Way's complaints against Megyeri, but a school official said yesterday that a final judgment may not be made for several weeks. School officials said that if the student's allegations are true, punishment could range from a letter of reprimand to a suspension.

Megyeri, who has taught in the county schools since 1965 and at Churchill since 1977, sought unsuccessfully to be appointed to a vacant seat on the county Board of Education last summer after board member Elizabeth Spencer resigned.