The Weekly Scroll for Friday, Sept. 1

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:

The water is coming, the water is coming!
For all of our teacher or adviser readers…first day of school jitters this year? Just think about how jittery these teachers were, when they didn’t know if their students were safe from the water in Houston. “I’m lucky to be safe and dry, but I worry for the thousands of others who are not as fortunate — particularly many of my students. One of my students was being evacuated when I called to check up on her.” Click here to educate yourself on the schools that have been closed in Texas because of Hurricane Harvey.

You can help Texas’ high school journalists
Feeling inspired from the article above that you just read? We’re sure you are. So do you wanna help journalism students in Texas? Here’s how.

Think you can cover the unthinkable? Think again
Unfortunately, advisers and student journalists too often have to weigh the decision to write about student suicide in their schools. Here, from the Student Press Law Center, is an article on best practices when confronted with covering suicide.

It’s an honor:

Like it? Write it. Quill & Scroll Q&A with the founder of Global Student Square
Journalists, have you ever discovered a newsworthy story on accident? Students, have you ever told a teacher a story that shaped your relationship? Put these two in action together and you have the nonprofit Global Student Square. Click here to see how the students have told their stories and how founder, Beatrice Motamedi, planted the seed for the non profit.

A word from one of our own
Here’s a story from Long Island Herald (N.Y.) written by Mikelly Baptiste, a student at Elmont High School. Elmont High School is a Q&S charter school. Baptiste, a Haitian-American, vividly describes what she sees when she looks at the audience at the annual New York State School Music Association competition, where she plays the flute. “I’ve always gotten looks,” she said. “People look at me differently, whether it’s regarding dance, music or my academics. They just don’t think of me as the same.”

What’s Viral:

What should we do here?
ESPN football analyst Ed Cunningham, a former college and professional football player, announced his retirement from broadcasting this week, citing the number of head injuries in the sport as his reason for quitting. “I think people are starting to think, What should we do here?” How do your high school and the state’s athletic governing body feel about head injuries, not just in football but in all sports? What measures are being taken to reduce them? Are those measures effective?

Amid the floodwaters, journalists persist
School starting always causes distractions and commotion in itself. If you’re like us at Quill and Scroll, regardless of  those distractions and where your head may be, your heart is in Texas this victims dealing with the disaster of Hurricane Harvey. So, we’re pausing here to spend a few moments with Texas journalists, and how they have covered stories about the rising waters in Houston.

Just a Thought:

Attention, avid texters.
Is your tone fun? Is it sarcastic? Is it professional? Click here to see the trends in learning to develop a personality or style through the use of acronyms as you further your writing career.

Say what?
“Keep using that word, hon. It doesn’t mean what you think it does.” Someone ever say that to you? Have you ever thought that when listening to someone speak? Well guess what…browse over here and see the decoding done by The Skimm of some of those phrases.

The Weekly Scroll for Friday, Aug. 25, 2017

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

The Lede:

More fake news and how to fight it

The investigative reporting of six students at Pittsburg (Kansas) High School’s newspaper led to the resignation of a newly hired principal, Amy Robertson, who faked her college credentials. Now, the students are calling for Pittsburg Superintendent Destry Brown to take responsibility for his support of Robertson and failing to follow through on her questionable accreditations. When students brought their concerns to Brown in multiple meetings, they say they were brushed off. They are now seeing real changes being made in the Board of Education and its hiring procedures. Click here to read more.

This is not the blank space T. Swift was talking about

Two openly gay seniors at Kearney (Missouri) High School used their senior yearbook quotes to celebrate their sexual orientation, but the students found blank spaces by their pictures instead of their words. The quotes were removed without warning by administrators, who were concerned they would “potentially offend” other students, whom they addressed in a statement to parents and local media. The two students brought their story to a Kansas City television station. Click here to read more.

Sick beats for journalists

Places to visit and people to talk to when covering the beats of city hall and local government, police and public safety, and courts. Click here to read more.

It’s an Honor:

Winner, winner; (five) chicken dinners

Quill and Scroll announced the names of five scholarship winners for 2017. This article covers this year’s winners, their future plans, and how to apply for the scholarships yourself. Click here to read more.

Girl Power doesn’t come with a cost

In this article by Erinn Aulfinger, one of the two 2017 winners of the George and Ophelia Gallup Scholarship awarded by Quill and Scroll, discusses the value of applying the skills you learn. Aulfinger published and distributed a free book for young girls to combat the issues that arise from low self-esteem. With this book, she hopes to make a real difference in a global problem. Click here to read more.

What’s Viral: 

Zoinks, Scoob, I think we got the wrong guy

Shortly after a group of white nationalists led a march through the University of Virginia, social media sleuths went on a mission to identify people who participated in the protest and make their identities known to employers, family members, and the general public. While this worked in some cases, it did not for one Kyle Quinn, an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas and a falsely accused participant. Quinn woke up to demands that he lose his job, vulgar messages on his social media, accusations of racism, and posts of his home address, causing him and his wife to take safety measures for the weekend. While the actual man that Quinn bore resemblance to has not been identified, his case shows the danger and consequences of the “reckless spread of misinformation in breaking news” because of a lack of research and fact-checking that is necessary for good journalism. Click here to read more.

The Village Voice finds a bullhorn

After 62 years, the weekly New York City newspaper known as the Village Voice is ending its print publication. The paper will shift its focus to media platforms as well as producing more content throughout the week. Since their move, the Village Voice has already seen an increase in audience, and the beloved home of opinion and New York flare is safe in the arms of the internet. Click here to read more.

Just a Thought:

Dismantling the Copy Desk

The copy desk to some is an antiquated feature of news, where copy editors are best moved into roles of reporting or production to save money and resources. More than 20 years ago, when many papers started making this change, more mistakes sneaked into print, and thus the copy desk was saved, its purpose reaffirmed. Now, the New York Times is preparing to reinvent its copy editing staff, keeping only a few of its 100 members to become “strong editors” that will cover all the copy editing duties. While times are very different from the original experiment in the 90’s, is it still a bad idea to dismantle the copy desk? Click here to read more.

Quill and Scroll International Honor Society for High School Journalists was founded in 1926 at the University of Iowa by George Gallup. Check out our website to read more useful articles and to learn out how to become a charter school and/or a member.

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

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