April 8, 2021

News, tips and advice from Quill and Scroll

The Lede

Many students staying home

Schools are reopening all over the country, but students aren’t returning at the same rate

The Biden Administration released a study Wednesday that indicates while schools continued to re-open this winter throughout the country, many students opted to stay at home through February.

That coincides with a February advisement by the Centers for Disease Control that schools could re-open safely with proper precautions, namely mask wearing and social distancing.

During February, about 46 percent of all schools offered five-day-a-week learning to all students. Yet only 34 percent of students had returned full-time to their classrooms.

White House spokesperson Andy Slavitt called the results of the survey as progress.

“This is encouraging early data covering the month of February that shows progress toward the president’s goal to have K-8 schools open five days a week,” Slavitt said.

Building trust among parents and teachers, one academic writes, is the key to re-opening schools with every student present and engaged.

Biden can compromise on infrastructure

President is willing to work on details of plan that could boost school spending

President Joe Biden said Wednesday that he’s willing to discuss changes to his $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan, but that the alternative to such a plan — inaction — is totally unacceptable to him and the majority of Americans who support infrastructure investment.

The plan currently sets aside about $378 billion for public school spending that would include spending to improve and upgrade current school buildings and programs, as well as build new campuses.

What do your state and district officials have planned if such an infrastructure investment passes both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate and is signed into law by the president?

Princeton workshops

Ivy League journalists present workshops for high school students

The Princeton Journalism Workshops continue later this month with sessions presented by journalists at the Daily Princetonian.

The workshops continue with one seminar on April 25 and two on May 22. Registration costs $22, but students who can’t afford the cost can work with the Daily Princeton’s business office to reduce their costs.

Here are the remaining sessions:

  • April 25: Making your first podcast: A crash course in audio journalism
  • May 22: Managing hot takes on controversial issues
  • May 22: Mobilizing your journalistic skills to the freelance world and beyond

It’s An Honor


Apply now for Quill and Scroll scholarships before applications close

The Quill and Scroll scholarship applications for both students and advisers are open now on our website! Interested in applying? Read below for information on both student and adviser scholarships.

Each year we award a number of scholarships to students and advisers focused on continuing their education or career in journalism. Scholarships are funded by our Quill and Scroll scholarship fund. In 2020, we awarded four student scholarships and one adviser scholarship.

Student Scholarships

All Quill and Scroll members as well as national winners in our Yearbook Excellence Contest and International Writing, Photo and Multimedia Contest are eligible to apply for our student scholarships. Applicants must intend to major in journalism or a related area of communications to qualify for the award. The scholarship can be used for tuition, room and board at any college or university. The top prize is $1,500, with other prizes of $500 available.

The student scholarship application deadline is May 15, 2021. Winners will be notified by June 1, 2021.

Adviser Scholarship

The Lester G. Benz Scholarship of $500 is available to teachers who:

  • teach at a Quill and Scroll school,
  • have at least one year teaching high school journalism and/or advising publications,
  • plan to return to the high school classroom and media advising next year AND
  • will apply the information gained in the course work, seminar or workshop taken as a result of this scholarship.

Two letters of recommendation are required to apply. Applications are due by April 30, 2021. Last year’s winner was Laura Bowe of the King School in Connecticut.

Visit here for more information on adviser scholarships. 

Help for editors

Quill and Scroll student board establishes online discussion board for student editors

A note from Kathleen Ortiz, Kingwood Park HS Student Advisory Board member

Hi there! On the Quill and Scroll Student Advisory Board we’re working on projects, and one of them is a monthly newsletter and a Discord chat for editors to use, so they can give and receive help, tips and ideas from other editors.

Advisers, if you could please send this Discord link to any of your editors who might be interested in being part of this new initiative, we would really appreciate it. We would like our network to really encompass and connect as many editors as we can.

Founders Day means Induction Season

It’s time to honor seniors and induct members

It’s that time of the year — 95 years ago, on April 10, 1926, Quill and Scroll was founded and established its first chapters and members.

What better way to honor those founders and Founders Day than by honoring seniors and inducting new members — be they sophomores, juniors or seniors — into our international journalism honor society.

We’re able to take and fulfill orders, even as Quill and Scroll staff work from both our home offices and our offices at the Adler Journalism Building on the University of Iowa campus.

We published this update in late 2020. It is still valid and includes a simplified order form for schools and advisers willing to pay via credit card, and an offer to host an online induction ceremony for your students. The sooner you induct new members, the sooner they’ll be able start planning chapter activities in the spirit of Quill and Scroll. Here’s a link to a PDF file of the Q&S Chapter Handbook if you don’t already have it.

We encourage advisers to submit their induction orders sooner rather than later to ensure speedy fulfillment and delivery. As we get closer to the end of the school year, our order numbers tend to increase. Order now to receive your materials sooner!

A reminder about cords:

Students MUST HAVE BEEN OR WILL BE INDUCTED into the Society to earn the honor to wear an Honor Cord (GHC) or Honor Cord with Insignia (GCI). If you order cords for non-members, please choose the Non-Member Cord Option (NCD). Quill and Scroll exists because of the special unifying bond brought about by membership and the lasting legacy of the induction ceremony.

And, as always, feel free to email [email protected] if you have any questions.

What’s Viral?

T. Swift releases ‘from the vault’

Is Taylor’s new song about Joe Jonas?

Taylor Swift released a “from the vault” recording ahead of her “Fearless” rerelease Friday. It’s called, “Mr. Perfectly Fine,” and fans are pretty sure it’s about Joe Jonas. To make that clearer, Jonas’ wife — and “Game of Thrones” star Sophie Turner — posted the song on her own story. Here’s the interaction on Instagram.  And of course, here’s a reminder to stream the album starting April 9.

TikTok lifesaver

New Hampshire teen responds to call for help while perusing social media app

A New Hampshire teenager has been credited with saving the life of a boy in West Virginia after a virtual call for help from over 800 miles away.

Just A Thought

Gallup was a giant

On the 95th anniversary of Q&S’s beginnings, we look back at our founder

Ask just about anyone in academia and politics about the significance of George Gallup’s life, and the answer will undoubtedly revolve around his roll in establishing modern polling methods.

Here’s how his New York Times obituary led when he died in 1984 at the age of 82:

George H. Gallup, an inquisitive Iowan who pioneered in the techniques of public opinion polling and did much to make it a key tool of politics, government, business and scholarship, has died at his summer home in Switzerland. He was 82 years old.

In a companion story the same day, the Times  wrote:

George H. Gallup did not invent public opinion polling, but, more than anyone else, he made it a serious force in American society and in the world.

When the Times revisited his life in a 2016 look back at political polling, they gathered this quote from Frank Newport, the editor in chief of the Gallup Organization:

“Dr. Gallup had a major conviction that the whole election process in the nation was way off on a wrong track, and he argued that the people wanted major reforms — including abolishing the Electoral College, a single national primary, confining campaigning to a month or two in the fall, and national funding of the campaign. He no doubt would be feeling ever more strongly about these convictions in today’s environment.”

But here in Iowa City, in our little corner of the world, we’re more closely tied to his achievement — at the age of 24 — of April 10, 1926, when he gathered 19 advisers from Iowa and other Midwest and Rocky Mountain states at the University of Iowa to launch Quill and Scroll.

The Times’ obit noted that achievement even if his Wikipedia entry doesn’t:

Early in his career, he organized Quill and Scroll, an international honor society for high school journalists, and its membership grew to more than a million.

We can’t vouch for the one million membership, but we know we’re over 500,000 for sure, and hope to add another several thousand soon who take an oath to uphold the values Gallup outlined 95 years ago this week: truth, leadership, learning, loyalty, initiative, integrity, judgment and friendship.

In honor of Dr. Gallup, we leave you with a few of his most famous quotes, and we wish you a Happy Founders Day from Quill and Scroll.

“The common people of America display a quality of good common sense which is heartening to anyone who believes in the democratic process.”

“Grant graciously what you dare not refuse.”

“Polling is merely an instrument for gauging public opinion. When a president or any other leader pays attention to poll results, he is, in effect, paying attention to the views of the people. Any other interpretation is nonsense.”