Feb. 12, 2024

Our past three editions

Feb. 5, 2024 Legacy admissions • Social media • Taylor Swift

Jan. 29, 2024 Groundwater • Oscars • Mexican food

Jan. 22, 2024 Disinformation • Road signs • World’s oldest dog


Lunar New Year kicks off 15-day celebration

Highlight local events, traditions at the start of Year of the Dragon

The Lunar New Year came Feb. 10 this year, and with it a more than two-week-long Spring Festival started. This year is the Year of the Dragon, based on the Chinese zodiac calendar. The calendar is a 12-year cycle represented by 12 different animals. 

The festivities often last for 15 days and include a wide variety of traditions. For many people, preparation started Feb. 3 with the baking of festive cakes and puddings. On the 28th day of the last lunar month, or Feb. 7 this year, many households embarked on a big house clean up effort. 

On Lunar New Year’s day many who celebrate will visit family and friends and exchange presents and fruits. Married people also hand out red packets believed to ward off evil spirits to unmarried people. The Spring Festival concludes with the Lantern Festival on Feb. 24, the 15th day of celebration. The Lantern Festival marks the beginning of spring and celebrates the first full moon of the year. 

What you can do —

Many communities have large gatherings, complete with delicious foods, lion and dragon dances and more, to celebrate the Lunar New Year and Lantern Festival. Find these local celebrations and spotlight the organizers, experience and attendees. The festivities are ripe with photography and multimedia opportunities as they often feature bright colors. 


For first time, majority of students take private vehicles to school

Conduct a survey of school transportation habits

Slightly more than half of U.S. students are either dropped off at school or drive themselves, a Washington Post analysis of the National Household Travel Survey revealed. This marks the first time on record that a majority of students take private transportation to school. 

In 2022, 53.2% of K-12 students took private vehicles to school, followed by 33.4% on a school bus, 10.6% by bike or foot and just 2% on public transportation. The Post reports that the pandemic accelerated the shift toward private transportation. 

Rising pickup numbers were driven by parents with college degrees — in 2022 62% of kids with at least one parent with a four-year college degree took private transportation to school. Students whose parents don’t have a four-year degree have become slightly more school bus dependent. 

What you can do —

Dive into how your district’s students get to school — has bus ridership decreased? Are drop off lines getting longer? Talking to school administrators, parents and students can help capture a snapshot of your school’s habits. 

At some schools, snagging a parking pass is an annual struggle. Talk to students about parking lot politics and access. Ask school officials what parking lot fees go to. Coverage could also include what nearby schools pay.

What’s viral

The Super Bowl is here, and so are its ads

Some advertisements have been released early

The San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs faced off Feb. 11 in Super Bowl LVIII. Every year, some less avid football fans may tune in more for the advertisements than the sport itself, and advertisers readily step up to the plate. According to the Associated Press, many advertisers released ads in the days leading up to the game in an effort to harness the buzz around the event. 

What you can do —

Though it is unlikely that a local business had an advertisement during the Super Bowl (30-second ad slots went for $7 million this year) student reactions to the most effective, most entertaining and weirdest Super Bowl ads could make an interesting story. Survey your school to see what ads students liked the best — this is a great opportunity for some simple data visualization. 

Study the advertisements to see how they attract viewers. How could you employ some of these strategies on your social media accounts? There is a lot to learn from large scale advertising campaigns.


It’s always membership season

Beat the rush — nominate members today

It’s starting to warm, which means we are on the cusp of our busiest time of the year. Make sure to nominate students for membership order pins, cords and other Quill and Scroll materials and memorabilia now.

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. 

Remember, it can take up to three weeks to process and send an order during the peak spring season, which traditionally starts in two weeks. Also, plan ahead. We are unable to overnight orders during the weeks of March 4, March 11 and April 1.

> Start the process here.

Meet, collaborate and discuss with peers

Quill and Scroll’s Student Journalism Collaboration Program, which is a discussion forum for students, will continue hosting discussion forums this school year. 

The Student Journalism Collaboration Program aims to connect student journalists from across the nation. Through virtual meetings, participants will discuss, collaborate and troubleshoot with their peers about scholastic journalism issues pertaining to their student media.

Our next meeting will take place Feb. 20 from 7-8 p.m. Central, and our topic of discussion will be AI

Please ask interested students to fill out this form by Feb. 15. Once students fill out the form, they will automatically receive a notification for all subsequent meetings. Participants who signed up will also receive a reminder the week before the event and the Zoom link the Friday prior to the event. 

We look forward to seeing you!

Sorry advisers, this is a student-only offering.

PSJA Journalism Contest Open

Portfolio contest due March 1

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 March 30, 2023 and Feb. 29, 2024. Deadline for entries will be Friday, March 1, 2024. An awards ceremony will occur after judging is finalized. 

For PSJA members, the cost for your school is $20 per entry. Non-members pay $25 per entry. To become a member of PSJA, email PSJA Director David Cutler ([email protected]) and sign up for the PSJA newsletter.

Make sure to include either your credit card payments or check or purchase order when you enter. The link provided on the site will take you directly to the credit card or check/purchase order page for the order. The PSJA category payment option is at the bottom of the page.

If you are interested in entering the contest, please see our website.

Free Spirit Conference Applications available until March 1

2024 Free Spirit Conference: In June 2024, the Freedom Forum will host its annual Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference June 22-27 for high school juniors. Students selected for the program receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the nation’s capital where they hear from journalists, as well as a $1,000 scholarship to the college of their choice. Applications are due March 1. 

Plan ahead

We will be out of the office during the weeks of March 4, March 11 and April 1. We will not be able to send or process orders during these weeks — including overnight orders. 

Also, we will not publish the Weekly Scroll during the weeks of March 11, 18 and April 8. Please make sure to plan accordingly. 

Spring convention registration open

Join us in Kansas City for the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention. This year’s convention will be at the Crown Center. Registration opened Jan. 17 and the hotel link was sent to all registrants this past week. Join us for “At the Heart of the Story” at the JEA/NSPA spring convention April 4-6.

Just a thought

You asked and we listened. 

We have updated our requirements after several advisers requested we extend membership to freshmen. So we now have altered our bylaws to allow their induction. 

The advisers said they wanted to reward outstanding freshmen and thought this might help keep them on staff. 

So, when you are working on your nominees, remember this new update.

If you have other ideas, please send me an email. I’m always happy to receive them.

Have a great week!

— Lori Keekley