March 4, 2024

Our past three editions

Feb. 26, 2024 School culture • Substitute teachers • Beyoncé

Feb. 19, 2024 Academic rebound • Snow days • Cornhole

Feb. 12, 2024 Lunar New Year • School busses • Super Bowl


FAFSA revamp causes delays in aid notification

Capture senior’s experiences, explain changes

Millions of students, both those entering and continuing college in the fall of 2024, are still waiting to hear how much federal aid they will receive. The Free Application for Federal Aid, or FAFSA, was revamped this year and despite being called “A Better 2024−25 FAFSA® Form” it has been anything but good for many.

According to The Hill, the FAFSA form was launched later than usual, in December rather than October. Even after the delay there were complications with the forms resulting in the forms being taken down multiple times and other issues for families.

Typically, most students find out in early March how much financial aid they will receive. This year, ABC7 Chicago reported, that date will likely be later as many students had difficulties filing the necessary forms due to glitches in the Better FAFSA process.

What you can do —

College decision season can be fraught in a normal year, but this year it may be more so for some students. Talk to graduating seniors about if this delay will affect their college decisions. Some colleges are waiving the May 1 commitment deadline due to FAFSA issues, so check if common colleges near you are considering the same option.

Guidance counselors may have additional context on how this goes in a normal year and if this year has been worse for their students. 

The issues this year have also contributed to a decrease in the overall number of FAFSA filings — so far nearly 5 million students have completed the form, down from last year’s total of more than 17 million, Scripps News reported. There may be students at your school who have not yet been able to file the necessary forms. Ask a counselor about what students can do if they find themselves in this predicament.


Measles outbreak in Florida continues

Investigate school policies, procedures concerning infectious disease

There are at least nine confirmed cases of measles in one Florida county, including at least one adult case. The outbreak started in mid February and already there are half as many cases as the total cases reported last year. 

The state’s surgeon general, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, has yet to urge parents to vaccinate any unvaccinated children or quarantine them, NPR reported. 

As of Feb. 22, 35 cases of measles in 15 states have been reported in 2024. In all of 2023, 58 cases were reported.

What you can do —

If you are in one of the 15 states with reported outbreaks, it could be interesting to look at the status and location of the outbreaks. Even if there are no reported cases, talking to doctors and school officials about how to recognize measles and what to do if someone develops symptoms. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publishes national and state level vaccination rates for a variety of vaccines, including measles. This data could be used for an interesting data visualization of your local situation. Following the pandemic, there were some drops in child vaccination rates, Fox 13 Tampa Bay reported, so it could be interesting to look into data over time.

What’s viral

Primary season continues with Super Tuesday elections

Talk to first time voters, unpack election results

Fifteen states and one territory (American Samoa) will head to the polls on Super Tuesday March 5. Super Tuesday is the biggest day of the primary campaign season with 36% of the Republican delegates up for grabs. About a third of Democratic delegates will also be decided March 5. 

Much of the attention on Super Tuesday will go to the presidential primary, but that is not the only matter at hand. One of the more consequential races, the Associated Press reports, is California’s senate race. The race will fill the empty seat left by the death of Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein. 

What you can do —

For some seniors, this primary is the first they can vote in. Check in with recent 18-year-olds about the experience of voting — are students excited to be able to vote? It is also worth talking to seasoned voters in your community to capture the overall experience. 

Check what races are on your local ballot. It is possible your area is voting on a critical local race with wider implications.


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.

Don’t forget you may now recommend freshmen for membership. We made this bylaw change in February after requests from several advisers.

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. 

Additionally our mail service is sporadic at best. It can take up to three weeks to process and send an order during the peak spring season, which traditionally starts later this month. Also, plan ahead. We are unable to overnight orders during the weeks of March 4, March 11, April 1 and days of April 8-10.

> 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 April 15 from 7-8 p.m. Central, and our topic of discussion will be social media use

Please ask interested students to fill out this form by April 11. 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. For those signing up today, we will send the link later this afternoon.

We look forward to seeing you!

Sorry advisers, this is a student-only offering.

Plan ahead

We will be out of the office during the weeks of March 4, March 11, April 1 and days of April 8-10. We will not be able to send or process orders during this time — including overnight orders. Please remember we need at least three weeks from the time we receive your purchase order or payment to the time you need the materials. We will process all orders as they are received. If your induction is planned for March 19 or before, now is the time to submit your memberships.

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

Student Journalist Impact Award

Has your reporting made a difference in your community? Apply by March 10

The Student Journalist Impact Award recognizes a secondary school student (or a team of students who worked on the same entry) who, through the study and practice of journalism, has made a significant difference in his/her/their own life, the lives of others, the school he/she/they attends and/or the community in which he/she/they resides. (NOTE: This is not a scholarship competition. Do not send transcripts.)

This award is co-sponsored by the Journalism Education Association and the Quill and Scroll International Honorary Society for High School Journalists. Quill and Scroll became a co-sponsor in 2018.

Benz Scholarship

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 2024-25 academic year.

The award can be used to attend a National High School Journalism Conference, 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 12, 2024.

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

Student Scholarship applications will open April 12, 2024 and will be due May 10, 2024.

Workshop set for June 24-27, in Dallas

The Gloria Shields NSPA Media Workshop returns to the Dallas/Addison Marriott Quorum by the Galleria June 24-27, 2024, with bonus classes on June 23. Workshop registration is $140 per student or adviser.  The extra cost for the Sunday bonus class is $20 per person.

In 2023, 680 students from 85 schools took advantage of the instruction from our exceptional faculty. Watch the workshop website for additional 2024 workshop details as they become available.

> Watch the preview video for 2024.

Applications are open for the 2024 Vanessa Shelton Chapter of the Year

Has your chapter been active in Quill and Scroll this year? If so, it’s time to apply for the Chapter of the Year.

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

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.

During the past 97 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 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 19 and the winner will be announced mid-May. The application form is on our website

Come see us at our booth at the JEA/NSPA Journalism Convention in Kansas City

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

We all need a little update every now and then. We decided the Quill and Scroll logo did too. 

We will slowly be transitioning to the new updated logo, which is to the right below. Our old logo is on the left.  You’ll see we’ve started with our website and awards and we will soon transition to some of our other offerings.

Items such as the banners, diploma seals and patches will remain the same, so don’t feel like you need to replace them.

If you do need the new logo for any reason such as an induction program or other use, please make sure to use our new one.


— Lori Keekley