Sept. 29, 2022

Fall 2022 editions

Sept. 29, 2022  Voter-registration deadlines • Fentanyl overdoses

Sept. 22, 2022  Rising food costs • Bad cheers • Tight school budgets

Sept. 15, 2022  College rankings • Monitoring your online traffic • The queen

Sept. 8, 2022  Staffing shortages • Constitution Day & Banned Books Week


Voter registration closes soon
in some states

Include coverage on 5w’s and H on voting

The 1993 National Voter Registration Act mandates voter registration deadlines of no more than 30 days prior to a federal election. We are about 40 days out from some states closing voter registration.

What you can do —

•  Check your state’s voter registration rules here and cover the rules for those for your state.

This site also has a video guide for new voters. Student journalists could create their own guide or infographic on your state’s specifics. Volunteers from the League of Women Voters often come to schools to help students register. Check with your local chapter on specifics.

•  Also, examine why voting is important for your students. One way to accomplish this is by showing examples of politically active students. Are they running or volunteering for campaigns? Why should those under 18 care about elections? How do local elections affect them? Has the recent court decisions spurred some into action who might not have been active before?

•  Contact those running and interview them. Create a voter guide specific to your students and the issues they care about. Include specifics on where students can vote, especially if your community has more than one polling location.

•  On Election Day, students could write a column on their experience.

•  Expanded coverage could include redistricting’s effect on your students. How has this practice influenced the election? Why and how does redistricting matter? (Again, the League of Women Voters has a great resource on this.)


Fentanyl overdoses on the rise

With the rise in some drugs being cut with fentanyl, many unaware it’s there

The CDC reports about 150 fentanyl overdoses happen daily, and these synthetic opioids are involved in about 71,000 or the 107,000 overdoses in the past year.

Some schools are seeing a rise in activity including overdoses. According to Nabarun Dasgupta, a senior scientist at the Gillings School of Global Public Health, the fentanyl is in other drugs they are taking, and they are unaware according to this report.

According to the CDC, fentanyl is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. The CDC states other drugs are commonly laced with fentanyl, which now is showing up in rainbow colors.

What you can do —

Sadly, as this report notes, a teen overdose just happened in California. Talk to health practitioners concerning the presence of this odorless and tasteless drug in your community. What resources does your school have in the event of a fentanyl or other drug overdose? Talk to your local drug treatment center and police concerning the prevalence of this drug in your community.

Los Angeles public schools will stock campuses with the overdose reversal drug naloxone, the Los Angeles Times reports, and school districts across the nation are debating the approach. Is your school district among them?

How can teens protect themselves against a fentanyl overdose and what should they do if they think a friend is overdosing? While calling 911 seems obvious, but not everyone thinks clearly when stressed. Talk to a psychologist about this occurrence.

Water issues abundantly clear

What role has deferred maintenance played in your community?

Earlier this month, residents of Jackson, Mississippi, were told the water was again safe to drink for most uses. According to Jackson’s mayor, Chokwe Antar Lumumba, the water quality issues stem from many years of deferred maintenance. How did this happen? This video from ABC helps educate concerning some of the causes. 

One important coverage topic involves the erosion of public trust in both the Jackson and Flint communities. The head of the EPA, Michael Regan, discussed the historical aspects that lead to these types of crises. “There has been a difference in lack of investment to water infrastructure in this country for decades, but especially in our Black and brown communities. It’s imperative that we correct this long-standing issue,” according to the CNN article. City residents have also filed a lawsuit against current city officials as well as former officials and infrastructure companies.

What you can do —

Check your area’s water contamination using this this Environmental Protection Agency database. What about the surrounding areas? What role has race played in this issue?

What role do local taxes have in water safety? What deferred maintenance has happened at the local level in your community or school? Talk to your community leaders about the safety of the water. Some schools have gone as far as to send off water samples for testing. 

This is a great example of the need for local journalists. Student journalists should attend (either in-person or virtually) community and school board meetings. Ask questions and report on what you find. Talk to other experts in the field about what is happening especially since we are seeing drought and flooding in atypical areas.

What’s Viral?

She’s back

Super Bowl Halftime announces Rihanna as performer

For the first time in five years Rihanna will return to the stage to headline the 2023 Super Bowl Halftime Show. The singer had refused prior invitations to appear to show solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, according to Rolling Stone.

Much anticipation is already circulating concerning her return. Some fans are anxiously awaiting news on whether she will drop a new album or release new music.

What you can do —

In addition to an obvious “greatest hits” compilation or review, look at how she has influenced others even without any new music since 2016. Poll students about their favorites as well. 

Also, how does the Halftime show and music often cross generational divides? Last year’s headlines of Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem and Mary J Blige did just this. While my son was super excited about Kendrick Lamar, he was shocked I liked the others — especially Snoop Dogg. This brought about quite a few days of conversation and shows the generational bridge music provides.


Student Advisory Board applications due Sept. 30

Only one day remains to apply for Quill and Scroll’s Student Advisory Board! Apply today to serve your fellow student journalists and Quill and Scroll members. Join the Q&S Student Advisory Board for 2022-23. Applications close Sept. 30. 

SAB members will work on projects including establishing a regular communications channel for editors and other student journalists to discuss problems, successes, and coverage; and working on seminars that can aid Quill and Scroll chapters.

Submit your YEC entries today

Entries accepted until Oct. 10

The 2022 Yearbook Excellence Contest is only open for a little more than two weeks. Entry deadline is Oct. 10, and here is a link to complete descriptions of those 30 categories. Instructions on how to enter are here, and you can even pay with credit or a check/purchase order. Remember, payment is due when you enter the contest.

Don’t forget you can nominate members any time of year

Do you have a senior who just met the GPA requirement or a student who now wants to join Quill and Scroll? Want to avoid the spring rush? Nominate students for membership order pins, cords and other Quill and Scroll materials and memorabilia.

Start the process here.

Just a thought

We all have those students — the ones who might need a little nudge to do something great. 

It’s time for that nudge. 

I’m looking for some enthusiastic students for Quill and Scroll’s Student Advisory Board. This group will work on planning activities and highlighting possible chapter activities, as well as advising me about membership, contests and other programming and ideas. 

The requirements of being on the Advisory Board are simple. They should either be a member or will be inducted soon. They do not need to be seniors.

Students will create a group or individual project of their own choosing. We will have a monthly meeting in which we discuss our plan, create steps for the plan, and then we work together to facilitate and realize their project. These will be highlighted on the Quill and Scroll site. As for the time commitment, I will ask students to allocate two hours monthly to the Board — one hour for the meeting and another for working on their project.

One underlying question I answered involved what the students get out of volunteering. In addition to helping others, we will have a time in which they can also discuss what is and isn’t working on their own media staffs. We will work to center the eight principles of Quill and Scroll: truth, learning, leadership, loyalty, initiative, integrity, judgment and friendship.

As you know, students are often overprescribed. These Board members do not need to be seniors, nor do they need to be editors-in-chief. I am looking for a group of students who want to help others and make a difference for other chapters regardless of grade level. 

Technically, we only have one day until applications close. But I also know I won’t be reading these until Monday. 

So, encourage your students to apply today. Now, go give a few great students that needed nudge.

— Lori Keekley