The Weekly Scroll for Friday, Sept. 8, 2017

News, tips and advice from the Quill and Scroll International Honor Society.
Compiled and written by Marni Wax, Allison Wunder and Emily LaGrange.

The Lede:

In this day and age, nothing is more important than freedom of expression, especially in the opinionated generation many of us belong to. Someone who emcompasses this is Hadar Harris, a human rights attorney and non-profit leader with a passion for working with and on behalf of students. She became the new executive director of the Student Press Law Center, on Sept. 6.

For further exploration…
Here’s a podcast of Hadar speaking with former SPLC Executive Director Frank LoMonte about her future plans for the organization, showing just how she will enrich the learning of the general public.

It’s an honor:

Wildfires, Hurricanes, and Floods…OH MY!
Environmental journalist Michael Kodas sits down with Quill and Scroll to talk about his new book and what student journalists can do to cover the environment in their schools and in their communities. Click here to see how to cover the wildfires that are ravaging the American West, and the hurricanes that are pounding the South.

What’s it like to be a part of something bigger than yourself?
Go to our Facebook page to learn how to share your testimony about what it means to be a member of Quill and Scroll.

What’s Viral:

Journalist gone humanitarian
When Hurricane Harvey started dumping inconceivable amounts of water on his hometown, Shea Serrano, a Houston-based staff writer for Bill Simmons’ sports and pop culture website The Ringer, knew he should do something. And what’s the easiest way to reach a large amount of people? Well…he tapped into his network and turned to Twitter. Look at the remarkable amounts of money he raised overnight.

When something gets tough, work harder
Journalists covering the racial violence in Charlottesville faced challenges as they chose the appropriate words, images and sounds to express the emotions surrounding the attacks. This is not a time to shy away from the dangerous reality of hate, and it is not a time to glorify hate groups either. As the story unfolds about Charlottesville and the hard-working journalists on the ground covering it, the Poynter Institute offers this advice.

Just a Thought:

It’s just “fake news”!
The fake news phenomenon led to obsessive fact-checking in 2016. Now academia, with its slower publication process, is catching up. In the past few weeks, several studies with interesting findings for fact-checkers were published. Here are five of those studies that were deemed to be most important by Poynter.

It’s journalistic “Tool Time”
So, do it yourself references are culturally relevant at this point in time. And when it comes to digital tools…they are right at the front of the line. Let’s just get right to it and see how.

Put me in, Coach
An editor can be seen as a coach for a story. In writing, coaching means engaging the writer in an ongoing conversation about the story. This can be anywhere from the conception of the idea down to the final edit. The longer and more detailed the conversation, the less work you will have once the story is in the final stages. In this, you can learn from Poynter’s Vicki Krueger how to sharpen the idea and create an undoubtedly strong premise for a story.

Global Student Square connects student journalists from around the world

A refugee named Olaf, 26, from Somalia (far left), talks with GSS students (left to right) Louis Serra, Sloane Valen, Allegra Knox and Tailor Liedtke for a story on a refugee camp in central Paris. Photo by Andy Wiener for GSS.

Q&S Q&A with Beatrice Motamedi
Executive Director, Global Student Square

How did
Global Student Square begin?

I started GSS in 2015 during a John S. Knight fellowship in journalism at Stanford. But the seed of GSS was planted a couple years earlier when I was working for a nonprofit that was trying to push journalism in low-income schools. I was meeting with a student in a school in south-central Los Angeles, and we were talking about the then-upcoming summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. He was an immigrant originally from Brazil, and he remarked that the stadiums that were being built for the Olympics were in out-of-the-way, rural places where nobody would ever go. And millions of dollars were going into this instead of things like housing and education, which people in cities like Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo desperately need. I told the student that sounded like a great story and he should write it.

“But who would publish something like that?” he asked.

For me, that was the beginning of GSS. I’m an immigrant myself so I know what it’s like to know about another country or culture or language but not really have that be part of your life. On GSS, if you know something about the world, you can tell that story.

What is the GSS mission?

Our tagline is “connect, collaborate and create” and we really mean that. We’ve just finished our second full school year so it’s still early, but we’re building our team and creating workflows, for example, on how to have global chats that work in various time zones. Our goal is more collaborative projects that bring students from different places to work together on one issue. One good example is “45 for 45,” our series of videos by teens with a message for Donald Trump (America’s 45th president). Those videos have been coming in from around the world as well as the U.S. and really showed that pretty much every problem from climate change to immigration is a global problem. Either we solve them together, or we won’t solve them at all.

Where do your stories come from?

We get stories from schools and students we work with around the world, 20 schools and 200 correspondents so far. That includes breaking news, such as the Paris climate accords, the London terror attacks and vandalism at Jewish cemeteries in the U.S., but it also includes news, features and op-eds from any of our correspondents.

Currently we have a Muslim teen columnist and a Jewish teen columnist; we have a school in Bali where students report regularly on things like marine pollution and endangered orangutans; our Korean correspondents have gone to the DMZ and covered Korean pop; and our China correspondents are doing a video a story on students stressed out by the SAT. If a story could interest a student in San Francisco and Shanghai, it’s probably a GSS story.

GSS correspondent Kiran Dwivedi takes a photo of North Korea from the South Korean side of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) for a story on a new train station on a line built with hopes of reunification for the two countries. Photo by Beatrice Motamedi for GSS.

What do students do?

We’re student-run, so they do a lot! Our correspondents and columnists write regularly and are on call for breaking news. Editors assign, edit, fact-check, hyperlink and publish stories and visuals. Our webmasters design things, fix things and watch analytics. Social media editors share what we do and help host global videochats (typically one per month).

We have some amazing editors, including Meghan Bobrowsky, the 2017 JEA/NSPA national high school journalist of the year; and Xavi Boluna, our webmaster, who is heading to UC Santa Cruz next fall. Our assistant webmaster, J.J. Hennessy, gave a presentation on GSS to the National Association of Media Literacy Association conference in Chicago this summer. He blew some minds — nobody could believe that a 10th grader could webmaster. But of course 10th graders can.

How do I get started?

First, look through our site. Read and watch what we’ve done so far. See how we roll — our focus is on global issues, common problems, stories that happened where you live but could be much more. Unless your story has that dimension, it won’t be for us. This year we’ll have a special emphasis on cities — the shift from rural to urban life, the push for environmental sustainability, the need for community and equity, the way immigration, law enforcement and education shape where and how we live. If you have that kind of story, we’d love to hear from you.

Second: Subscribe to our mailing list (bottom of homepage) or email your story pitch to An editor will respond.

Third: If you’re a student editor with at least one year of online experience, consider joining our team — apply for one of our 2017-18 internships (follow us @GSSVoices and like us on FB so you catch it). Currently we’re looking for story editors, webmasters/web designers, social media editors and a graphics editor/illustrator. We’d love to find a cartoonist! Successful applicants will have at least one-two years of experience on an online school publication, be familiar with digital media story conventions (e.g., hyperlinking, embedding video) and also use social media frequently and responsibly.

For more, email Beatrice at

@GSSVoices on Twitter
Global Student Square on Facebook
globalstudentsquare on Instagram

Skills are best applied to solve real-world problems

By Erinn Aulfinger
Lakota East (Ohio) HS, Class of 2017

(Editor’s Note: Erinn Aulfinger is one of two 2017 winners of the George and Ophelia Gallup Scholarship awarded by Quill and Scroll. She is a freshman at Ohio State University in Columbus.)

I’ve had great leadership opportunities in organized activities and clubs in high school, including as Chief Editor of Lakota East’s award-winning newsmagazine, The Spark, this past year.  But I believe the true proof of the skills we learn is how we apply them.  

The true proof of our personal values is whether we put them to the test. For me, leadership goes beyond serving in a structured capacity. Service goes beyond school-mandated volunteer hours. Both come down to a choice: Step out of the safety of organized activities and make your own mark on the world, or let others be the pioneers to set the vision and brave the unchartered path as you follow safely behind.  

That philosophy was put to the test these past two years when I uncovered an issue in my southwestern Ohio community.

There’s a sickness running rampant through the hallways of our schools, infiltrating households, and raging, unchecked, throughout public places across America.  It’s plaguing our children, yet there’s no outcry of outrage or fear.  No hot debates on national TV citing numbers of people won or lost.  No white-coated CDC experts highlighting the problem.   

Industry reports say girls see a significant drop in self-esteem around age 9 that’s both deeper and longer-lasting than that of boys. This drop is driven in part by body image issues, bullying, and societal gender bias. Girls with low self-esteem are more likely to suffer from depression, self-harm, and premature sexual activity, yet only a few organizations are offering solutions. Words have unmistakable power, and the halls of middle or high school have the uncanny ability to bring out the worst of them.

Walking the school halls since I turned 9 years old, I’ve seen friends succumb to the pitfalls of low self-esteem, including cutting, eating disorders, and drug usage. I’ve watched the rise of “mean girls” bullying others, and of adults treating girls differently than boys, both worsening the problem. I wondered how I could harness the power of words in a more positive light, curing the disease of poor self-esteem by stopping the spread before girls were infected. Perhaps by giving younger girls a “vaccine” to prevent the development of negative thoughts, I could prevent the spread of a weakening sense of “girl power.”

My solution was to create, fund, and publish a book designed for sixth-grade girls about to face new pressures from peers, teachers, parents, and puberty. My book, “Rewriting Your Story,” includes inspirational stories from older girls and women who’ve overcome self-esteem issues, along with exercises and tips to give girls tools to help avoid that self-esteem drop.  

I developed a detailed year-long action plan, contacted more than 1,000 organizations for research, raised $5,000 in printing costs, persuaded women to share their stories, and taught myself design software to do my own layout. With permission from 10 elementary school principals, I distributed a free book to the 700 sixth-grade girls in my school district this past fall, and posted a free online copy for girls globally.

The book is achieving my goal of changing lives and helping girls learn to treat themselves and each other better.  

“I realized I was treating another girl … in a way I wouldn’t want to be treated, so I changed,” one girl said.

“I decided that if all those women could see themselves as pretty, so could I,” said another.  

A parent told me “I have an older daughter who’s struggled with much of the subject matter… so thanks for changing the world one page at a time!”

This project taught me new skills like project management and fundraising, introduced me to strong female leaders globally, and raised my own confidence as I tackled a project others initially told me “couldn’t be done”.  

Words can cause a sickness in heart and spirit. I hope my book can be one small part of the cure.

Quill and Scroll announces 2017 scholarship winners

IOWA CITY, Iowa (August 21, 2017) – Quill and Scroll is proud to announce its scholarship winners for 2017: Erinn Aulfinger of Lakota East High School in Liberty Township, Ohio; Samantha Nork of Fraser HS in Fraser, Michigan; Cierra Wall of Nation Ford HS in Fort Mill, South Carolina; Caroline Cooney of The John Carroll School in Bel Air, Maryland; and Katelyn Pinkley of Richland R-1 HS in Essex, Missouri.

Each year students all over the world are recognized for their outstanding accomplishments by being awarded various scholarships. The scholarships each have guidelines about how they are awarded and why the students are deserving. Former Quill and Scroll Executive Director Vanessa Shelton worked diligently to award the students the honors they have earned.

Quill and Scroll national contest winners in the International Writing, Photography and Multimedia Contest, Blogging Competition or the Yearbook Excellence Contest are eligible as seniors to apply for scholarships – the Edward J. Nell Memorial, or the George and Ophelia Gallup awards. The Richard P. Johns award is available to all Quill and Scroll seniors, including those who did not enter contests.

In order to apply for scholarships, the following documents and recommendations need to be provided:

  • Completed Application Form
  • Two letters of recommendation: one from your principal or counselor; one from a media adviser/teacher (see guidelines on Request for Letter of Recommendation form)
  • A small, colorphoto of yourself with name on the back
  • A statement of not more than 500 words
  • Three examples of your journalistic work.

Scholarships can be used for tuition, room and board at any college or university that offers a major in journalism or related areas of communications.

Listed below are the winners for 2017, as well as their future plans.

George and Ophelia Gallup Scholarship ($1000 each x 2 recipients)

Erinn Aulfinger, Liberty Township, Ohio (Read Erinn’s post about using skills to solve problems.)
High School: Lakota East HS, Liberty Township, Ohio
Attending: Ohio State University

Erinn Aulfinger







Samantha Nork, Mount Clemens, Michigan
High School: Fraser HS, Fraser, Michigan
Attending: Macomb Community College

Samantha Nork







Richard P. Johns Scholarship ($500)

Cierra Wall, Fort Mill, South Carolina
High School: Nation Ford HS, Fort Mill, South Carolina
Attending: Hawaii Pacific University

Cierra Wall







Edward J. Nell Scholarship ($500 x 2 recipients)

Caroline Cooney, Bel Air, Maryland 21014
High School: The John Carroll School, Bel Air, Maryland
Attending: Harford Community College, Bel Air, Maryland

Caroline Cooney







Katelyn Pinkley, Essex, Missouri
High School: Richland R-1 HS, Essex, Missouri
Attending: Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana

Katelyn Pinkley

Twitter Q&A with new Executive Director Jeff Browne

Looking for seniors planning media majors

Are you a graduating high school senior planning to major in journalism or a mass communications area?

Quill and Scroll International Honorary Society for High School Journalists wants you to apply for one of its scholarships. Postmark deadline is May 10.

Eight freshmen attended colleges and universities across the country this year after receiving Quill and Scroll scholarships that ranged from $500 to $1,500. We anticipate awarding a similar number of scholarships in that monetary range for the 2014-15 school year.

Sweepstakes and National winners of the Quill and Scroll Yearbook Excellence and the International Writing and Photo contests, winners of the Blogging Competition as well as Quill and Scroll Honor Society members are eligible to apply in their senior year.

Recipients will be notified in July, and scholarships are deposited in college accounts at the start of the school year after the awardees submit required information, a photo for promotional materials and an essay on the select topic.

More information and the application are available on the Quill and Scroll website.


Congratulations to 2012 Yearbook Excellence Contest Winners

Winners of the 2012 Yearbook Excellence Contest, sponsored by Walsworth Yearbooks and Quill and Scroll International Honorary Society for High School Journalists, have been announced.

Judges commended the heightened creativity of the winners. The judges also commented on the fine reporting, in-depth captions, and strong visual packages of the winning pieces. In addition, the theme development winners were cited for their unique designs and diligent work in producing creative yearbooks.

A total of 36 Sweepstakes Winners and 266 National Winners in 18 divisions were selected – one for each school category – from more than 2,000 entries. The categories are based on enrollment; class A is comprised of schools with 750 or more students and class B schools have 749 or fewer.

Sweepstakes Winners receive a plaque and National Winners receive Gold Keys. As seniors, all winners have the opportunity to apply for Quill and Scroll scholarships.

A complete list of Yearbook Excellence Contest winners has been posted.

2013 Writing and Photo Contest Features Blogging

A Blogging Competition for high school students has been added to the Quill and Scroll International Honorary Society Writing and Photo Contest. Other changes include a separate Writing and Photo Contest for Middle School and Junior High School students, and the addition of Photo Illustrations and Infographics categories in the high school contest.

Enter the Writing and Photo Contest and at the same time register for the 2013 News Media Evaluation to receive the 2012 NME Gallup Award winners PowerPoint presentation CD and save money. The full NME evaluation package is $65 and the ratings-only package is $50.

Entries should be postmarked no later than Feb. 5. The 2013 contest is co-sponsored by and

Quill and Scroll featured in Summer 2012 Adviser Update


Quill and Scroll International Honorary Society for High School Journalists was featured in an article in the Summer 2012 issue of Adviser Update, published by the Dow Jones News Fund.

The article, “Add a touch of class to your media program,” was written by Karen Flowers, who is director of the Southern Interscholastic Press Association and the South Carolina Scholastic Press Association.

Flowers offers ideas of how to best utilize Quill and Scroll resources to enhance scholastic journalism programs.

Download a copy of the article. Or read the entire issue! The cover story “Cultural interaction’s power” is written by Alan Weintraut, journalism teacher at Quill and Scroll member-school Annandale HS in Virginia, who recounts his involvement in the Student Journalism in China Program along with his students.


Read the Article Herecheck out the website here

Q&A: Advisers, why do you do what you do? By Mark Newton, JEA President

In his Fall 2012 JEA Column of Quill & Scroll magazine, Mark Newton shared his joys as a journalism adviser. He also shared those of other journalism teachers:

I love watching students carry real, honest and important conversations onto the page.” — Adam Dawkins, Regis Jesuit High School, Aurora, Colo.


Answers the current buzz ‘authentic learning’ with a slam dunk. Doesn’t get anymore authentic than a real product. Plus, journalism kids rock.” —Mitch Eden, Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Mo.


One of my students said, ‘Ms. Lawrenz, you teach your hobbies all day long.’ That is why I do it. I love my content and craft. I want others to as well.” —Heather Lawrenz, Blue Valley Southwest High School, Overland Park, Kan.


Personally, I have a passion for journalism and playing an important role in a free society. I get to share that passion with kids.” —Brad Lewis, Harrisonville High School, Harrisonville, Mo.


I love that there is always something happening. Love that it’s always changing. Love that it teaches skills beyond the book.” —Aaron Manfull, Frances Howell North High School, St. Charles, Mo.


I love how it is so easy to bring the world outside of the school walls into the classroom. Students learn applicable skills too!” —Beth Ramach Phillips, Frances Howell North High School, St. Charles, Mo.


I get to teach the subject that I’m most passionate about. And my students’ ‘homework’ can make a change.” —Matt Rasgorshek, Westside High School, Omaha, Neb.


No other class, activity or club offers students the opportunity to practice real-world skills and produce a valuable product.” —Tracy Anne Sena, Convent of the Sacred Heart High School, San Francisco.


Journalism teaches students to be people who seek out knowledge and truth and it has the ability to change the world.” —Matthew Schott, Frances Howell Central High School, St. Charles, Mo.


Journalism satisfies my own constant curiosity, and I love watching kids become more aware/connected to the world in the years I have them.” —Michael Snead, Colonial Forge High School, Stafford, Va.


I love working with motivated kids who actually feel a sense of responsibility and purpose.” —Jim Streisel, Carmel High School, Carmel, Ind.


I love to see students drive their own learning and fuel others to augment their perspectives. It enhances my hope in the future.” —Karen Wagner, Eaglecrest High School, Aurora, Colo.


Nothing quite like watching the pride and passion of students as they see their work come to life. Also, every day’s a new adventure.” —Nicole Wilson, Carmel High School, Carmel, Ind.

© 2012 | Quill and Scroll

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