Oct. 2, 2023

Our past three editions

Sept. 25, 2023 COVID • Wildfire smoke • Bob Ross

Sept. 18, 2023 United Auto Workers • spicy food • Beyonce

Sept. 11, 2023 College Index • Social media/body types • Taylor Swift



New problems with accessing COVID-19 vaccinations

Show how teens can get it in your area

Many are finding they aren’t able to get the newest COVID-19 vaccination because of low supply and insurance issues.

Some attribute the delay to distribution issues stemming from pharmacies having to secure and purchase the vaccines from suppliers. Additionally, since the federal government is no longer  fully paying for these for all, people now need to use their health insurance coverage and some are finding the coverage (often erroneously) being denied. The article linked above notes that the trade association, America’s Health Insurance Plans, said these should be covered and they are working to ensure this is the case.

The federal government is still covering vaccine costs for the uninsured and for those whose insurance does not cover all COVID-19 vaccinations through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Bridge Access program.

What you can do —

Examine the supply levels in your area by contacting local health service providers. It’s also a great time to revisit why healthcare providers encourage the new vaccine. What are the reasons to get the newest version of the vaccine? For those who have recently had COVID-19, what is the advice on wait time between the time of infection/positive test and getting the vaccine?

Talk to your school nurse or health office. Have COVID-19 cases increased at school as they appear to be nationally?

For those who are denied insurance coverage, what should they do? How can the individual work to make sure they will not be charged for the new vaccination?

Additionally, with supply low, how does that impact those with family members who want to see those in nursing homes and other similar living facilities?

With roughly only 25% of American adults planning to get the vaccine, what could the impact of this be on future variants and hospitalization rates?


Target closes nine stores for theft, retail crime

Examine the hidden cost of shoplifting on local businesses

Target plans to close nine stores in four states after thefts and retail crime have caused concern about the safety of its workers and visitors.

What you can do —

Talk to your local business owners about whether this is an issue for them. What is the theft rate at their stores and what is the effect of this practice on consumers? For the students who work in retail, have they noticed an increase in shoplifting? 

For those who live close to the nine stores in these four states (California, New York, Oregon and Washington), what is the impact of these stores shuttering for the locals? 

Another approach is to examine why retail thefts and retail crime occurs. It’s not always about need. Talk to a psychologist about the issue.

What’s viral

New mental health campaign wants teens to check in with each other

With steadily increasing suicide rates, show readers how to help

Megan Thee Stallion wants you to know that “It’s okay to not be okay.” Her newest venture Seize the Awkward, is a national mental health campaign to encourage youth to discuss mental health with their friends. 

The campaign is intended to normalize reaching out for help with mental health and to teach youth the signs that a friend may be struggling. It also aims to break the stigma and assumptions about single approaches to mental health care. 

What you can do —

With the suicide rate having an uptick in youth and young adults aged 10-24 from 2001-2021 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, coverage highlighting when teens should seek help for a friend and how those struggling can access help is needed. 

Expansion on how teens can work to combat the stigma of mental health would be another prudent piece. 

Since part of Megan Thee Stallion’s emphasis is that there’s more than one approach to mental health, talking to those with different therapeutic approaches about how they cater to each individual would be an interesting piece. A bonus would be a listing of these providers, what insurances they take and what their specialty. 

Don’t forget to include they can text  988 or visit 988lifeline.org for free and confidential support for themselves or someone they know who is struggling with mental health.


It’s always membership season

Don’t forget you can nominate members year round

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.

We haven’t changed the ordering process from last year. For those wanting to ditch the paper version, you just need to select the form based on how you would like to pay. We have one version for credit card and another version for check or purchase order. (We’ve added buttons for ease of finding these.) As usual, credit card payments are charged $4.49 per order for processing. 

> Start the process here.

Submit your YEC entries today

This is it! (But yes, we will still take them Tuesday)

The 2023 Yearbook Excellence Contest is open for entries. The cost for each entry in all 33 categories is $7, and schools will be divided by size — Class A for 1,000 or more students, and Class B for 999 or fewer students,

Entry deadline is Oct. 2, and here is a link to complete descriptions of those 33 categories and how to pay for the entries.

Judges will award first, second and third places in each category for each class, and they’ll award honorable mentions so that between 10 and 15 percent of all entries are recognized in every category. All students named as award recipients will be eligible to apply for Quill and Scroll student scholarships in May of their senior year.

Quill and Scroll administrators will then tally points (5 for first place, 4 for second, 3 for third and 1 for HM) to determine a Blue and Gold Award winner for each class. Last year’s winners were Wando High School in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina (Class A) and Christ Presbyterian Academy of Nashville, Tennessee (Class B).

Here’s a complete list of last year’s winners.

News Engagement Day Contest closes Oct. 3

Prizes offered by AEJMC for five winners and their adviser

The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication has extended its News Engagement Day college contest to include a version for high school students on this 10-year anniversary of the event.

Each of the five winners of the high school video competition will receive a $100 American Express Gift Card. Plus, their teacher will receive a one-year subscription to their local newspaper, the New York Times, the Washington Post or USA Today. 

Deadline is by the end of the day, Oct. 3.

Good luck, and have a great News Engagement Day!

Just a thought

We’re happy to announce our new Student Advisory Board members!

They are:

  • Chiara Arendt, West Linn High School, West Linn, Oregon
  • Jad Dargam, Suncoast High School, Riviera Beach, Florida
  • Emilie Driscoll, Lakeridge High School, Lake Eswego, Oregon
  • Miranda Fabian, Francis Howell North High School, St. Charles, Missouri
  • Emily Ford, Conifer High School, Conifer, Colorado
  • Lainey Green, Christ Presbyterian Academy, Nashville, Tennessee
  • Kate Henry, Haas Hall Academy, Fayettevill, Arkansas (returning)
  • Clare Kirwan, Harrisonburg High School, Harrisonburg, Virginia
  • Reilly Little, Larry A. Ryle High School, Union, Kentucky
  • MehQuira Malone, Sparkman High School, Harvest, Alabama
  • Eshaan Mani, The Kinkaid School, Houston, Texas (returning)
  • Alexandra Martinez, Elmont Memorial High School, New York City, New York
  • Shreeya Nevse, Frisco High School, McKinney, Texas
  • Hannahlaura Schuchhardt, Niceville Senior High School, Niceville, Florida
  • Arya Sharma, Westlake High School, Austin, Texas (returning)
  • Parker Smith, Francis Howell North High School, St. Charles, Missouri
  • Dana Zafarani, Parkway West High School, Ballwin, Missouri

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 projects and activities that can aid Quill and Scroll chapters.

Please encourage your students to interact with this group. I can’t wait to see their helpful ideas come to fruition.

Congratulations again to this great group!

— Lori Keekley