March 30, 2023

Our past three editions

March 23, 2023 Gender-affirming care • MSU shooting • Earthquake scammers

March 2, 2023 School lunch • Debt ceiling • China balloon

Feb. 23, 2023 TikTok bans • Debt-relief • Marvel movie


THE LEAD  |  by Alex Steil

Teens are suing Montana

Climate activism has shown usefulness of social media

Two teens are suing Montana for violating its state constitution’s guarantee to a “clean and healthful environment.” The teens are claiming the support of fossil fuels and other pollutants actively violate that promise. The suit comes two weeks after President Biden approved the Willow Project –– an oil project in Alaska that garnered lots of attention on social media, particularly with Gen Z users.

What you can do —

Coupled with the Willow Project, climate has been on the homescreen of many Gen Z social media users. As a result, it is a continuing focus of young users –– not because of the politics but instead because of their passion for climate justice.

Particularly because of how the Willow Project news became a firestarter for young users –– through social media –– stories could focus on either social media’s effectiveness or a fact checking claim, for a handful of ideas.

Of course, the more obvious idea for this topic is simply examining what recurring effects of climate change are around you and how your students are working on climate issues. The lead of the Times story highlights a few examples of what motivated these Montana teens.


House passes parental rights school education bill

Follows pattern in states over the past year

The House of Representatives passed a bill that seeks to allow parents a larger say in their student’s education. The Act requires a list of library materials and allows for greater buy-in from parents regarding school decisions, like school budgets and ability to speak at school board meetings. The legislation has little chance of becoming law, with Democrats controlling the Senate and in the White House.

What you can do —

Again, while the legislation will not likely not take effect during this Congress, the bill emulates language seen in the states. A Georgetown research group has created a tracker to view similar legislation across the country.

Is your state on this list? What are the reactions of your students to figure out what is going on with this legislation? What is the legislator in your district saying about it? What about your school board? Has there been any change to policies at a local level that should be reported on?

How are students involved in this issue at your school? Why should they care?

What’s viral<

Northern lights visible for many

Phenomenon captured much further than usual

A significant solar flare late last week created a large solar flare that was experienced in much of the United States, including states that don’t usually see the lights, like Arizona or Virginia. The photos from avid watchers made their way to social media to highlight their glee from the show.

What you can do —

While one solar event is hard to cover after the event, there are other ways where students can be involved with their local scientific community. There is a website dedicated to helping regular citizens help out in scientific ways. 

Alternatively, are there areas of study that don’t get focused on like astronomy? Doing an audit on what your coverage looks like can be helpful to dictate what your organization is and is not doing well.


It’s the height of membership season

Don’t forget we need at least three weeks to process orders — and our mail service is slow

We’ve now hit the busiest season of the year, but don’t let that deter you. Just remember, we need at least three weeks lead time from when you order and the date it is needed. Also, we need to have either payment or the Purchase Order in order to send your order.

We are not receiving mail on a daily basis. This is beyond our control. We are processing orders as soon as we can, but orders sent through the U.S. Postal Service may experience delays. The quickest way to submit an order is via our online system. If paying with a Purchase Order, you can submit the PO number and then we will still ship. If you want to use the paper version, that is fine. We suggest scanning and emailing these documents.

We will not be processing orders during the week of April 17 since we will be at the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention in San Francisco. You may still submit your orders. They will be processed when we return in the order they were received. Currently, we are processing orders within a one-week timeframe upon receipt. This timing will change soon, so please plan accordingly.

Also, as a gentle reminder, our address changed in July 2022. Many business offices are still sending checks and orders to Iowa, which can result in a delay in sending orders. Please make sure to inform your business offices of our move to Minnesota. (Quill and Scroll, 2829 University Ave. SE, Suite 720, Minneapolis, MN 55414.) This error is delaying several orders.

> Start the process here.

2023 Chapter of the Year applications due Friday

Applications are now being accepted for the 2023 Quill and Scroll Vanessa Shelton Chapter of the Year Award. 

Chapters must have had initiated members in each of the past three years.

During the past 96 years, Quill and Scroll has granted charters to more than 11,400 schools around the world. When a school’s journalism program receives its charter, students in the school begin a Quill and Scroll chapter there. Quill and Scroll does not dictate how active a chapter should be, but the organization’s Chapter Manual does provide some guidance on the value of an “active chapter,” the activities it may engage in, and its general goals:

“The chapter can accomplish these goals: 

(1) inspire members of the staff to greater efforts; 

(2) attract students of higher ability to publications/media work by offering them journalistic recognition and honors; 

(3) provide incentive for the development of the journalism department and the improvement of school publications/media; and 

(4) secure greater recognition of journalism work by students, school officials and the community.”

The deadline is April 1, 2023, and the winner will be announced later that month. The application form is on our website. Applications are free and winners will receive a plaque, $250 for the classroom, four free memberships and honor cords and one member spot on our Student Advisory Board.

Benz Scholarship deadline approaching

Applications open for $250 adviser award

Quill and Scroll will award the $250 Lester G. Benz Scholarship to an adviser who undertakes a professional development activity over the summer or in the 2022-23 academic year.

The award can be used to attend a National High School Journalism Convention, to pay for tuition for a university course in a relevant subject area, or for a summer workshop, the JEA Summer Advisers Institute or a local summer workshop in your state, to name a few.

Applications are now being accepted. Deadline is April 14, 2023.

The award is named after former Quill and Scroll Executive Director Lester G. Benz.

Student Scholarship applications will open April 3, 2023 and will be due May 12, 2023.

PSJA Journalism Contest due Friday

Q&S and Private School Journalism Association set up portfolio contest

The PSJA Journalism Contest, co-sponsored by Quill and Scroll, seeks to honor the best journalism produced by private and independent school students. It is a “portfolio” contest, one that seeks not to reward single stories, but a pattern of excellence over the course of a year.

Other than Editorial Leadership, work produced for the contest should have been published in a news publication — in print or online — or a yearbook between April 1, 2022 and March 30, 2023. Deadline for entries will be Friday, March 31, 2023.

For PSJA members, the cost for your school is $20 per entry. PSJA membership is free. To join, schools must enroll here to also receive the newsletter. Non-members pay $25 per entry. To become a member, email PSJA Director David Cutler ([email protected]) and sign up for the PSJA newsletter.

If you are interested in entering the contest, email PSJA Director David Cutler ([email protected]), who will send additional instructions and an entry form. We are excited to announce the awards ceremony will take place Saturday morning at the National High School Journalism Convention in San Francisco.

Spring convention registration opens 

Join us in San Francisco for the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention. This year’s convention will be at the Hilton Union Square. Registration and the hotel link was sent to all registrants Feb. 14. Leave Your Heart, Find Your Voice at the JEA/NSPA spring convention April 20-22.

We are excited to announce Quill and Scroll will hand out its Writing, Photo and Multimedia and Private School Journalism Association awards from 8-10 a.m. Saturday morning. We will provide more details on this as we get closer to the convention.

Workshop set for June 26-29, in Dallas

The Gloria Shields NSPA Media Workshop returns to the Dallas/Addison Marriott Quorum by the Galleria June 26-29, 2023, with bonus classes on June 25. Workshop registration is $140 per student or adviser.  The extra cost for the Sunday bonus class is $20 per person.

In 2022, 635 students from 90 schools took advantage of the instruction from our exceptional faculty. Watch the workshop website for additional 2023 workshop details as they become available.

> Watch the preview video for 2023.

Chapter activity/discussion point idea: Kickball season is almost here

The last few months can be filled with heavy decisions such as editorial staff and goal setting for the following year. Before that gets into full swing, why not take some time, grab a kickball and have an old fashioned kickball game for a change of pace?

It could be just your Quill and Scroll chapter, or it could be a staff — or even interstaff rivalry with, of course, a traveling trophy.

Just a thought

By popular demand, we’re bringing back the charm

Literally, we are bringing them back. 

We are now offering the member Graduation Honor Cord with insignia again. We’ve had several schools request these items, so we have done just that. As of this week, we are now offering this as an option for as long as our supplies last. 

You can find these on our credit card and purchase order/check online order stores in the cord area.

Thanks to the schools who contacted me and have been waiting patiently during a delay with our supplier, who had a shortage of brass. Those cords are on the way to you. 

If you ordered your cords and would like to have the charms shipped to you, They will be $4 per charm. 

Act quickly on these. Once we run out, we won’t be able to resupply our inventory until next year.

— Lori Keekley