April 1, 2024

Our past three editions

March 25, 2024 SAT test • TikTok • Solar eclipse

March 4, 2024 FAFSA • Measles • Election

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


First over-the-counter birth control pill available in some stores

Look into impact, health effects of contraceptives

Certain retail pharmacy stores now carry Opill, the first over-the-counter oral contraceptive approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The suggested retail price for Opill is $19.99 for a one-month supply and $49.99 for a three-month supply, CNN reported. Some health insurance plans may cover the price.

Opill was approved in July of 2023 and only uses the hormone progestin. It is approved without age restrictions and has been found to be 98% effective at preventing pregnancy, according to Perrigo, the company behind Opill. 

What you can do —

The birth control pills have started appearing on shelves, but are not in all retail pharmacy stores. Check your local stores to see when they are available near you. Since it is approved without age restrictions, students in your community could consider it as an option.  

Talk to doctors about the potential impact on teens of this new contraceptive entering the market and what people should know before taking it. Another story could include the importance of being tested for sexually transmitted infections.


Agriculture uses more than half of water from Colorado River

Investigate possible effects of Western drought

The Colorado River is a nearly 1,500-mile river that more than 40 million people rely on. For 6 million years, it has run from high in the Rocky Mountains down to the tip of California. Now, it doesn’t reach the sea. 

A paper published March 28 found that more than half of the water in the river is used to irrigate agricultural land. One-third of all of the Colorado River’s water was used to grow two crops used for cattle feed — alfalfa and grass haze. 

The study examines both natural losses and human use, in a comprehensive assessment of water consumption. 

What you can do —

Even if your state isn’t one of the seven states that directly relies on the Colorado River for water, the repercussions of the drought in the West can trickle down to your community. Dive into the wide reaching effects of a drought and see what your community is doing for drought prevention.

Also, with Earth Day April 15, it might be a good time to examine the safety of local water sources and other effects of climate change.

What’s viral

Beyoncé’s new album prompts dialogue

Capture student reactions to music, social impact

“Cowboy Carter,” Beyoncé’s newest album, was released March 29 and has already generated discussions about American symbolism, Blackness, justice and reclamation, CNN reported. The album cover introduces many American themes, from her cowboy boots to the American flag she holds high. Some fans applauded the provocative and subversive nature of the cover, while others, including artist Azaelia Banks, criticized it as a “white woman cosplay.”

In an Instagram post, Beyoncé said the album was born out of a negative experience with the country music scene that led her to dive deeper into the history of country music. 

“It feels good to see how music can unite so many people around the world, while also amplifying the voices of some of the people who have dedicated so much of their lives educating on our musical history,” the post reads

What you can do —

Though a traditional album review is fitting for this new release, the story potential goes beyond that. Talk to students about their reactions to the album, taking into consideration everything from the music quality itself to the political discourse surrounding it. 

It also presents an opportunity to look at racism within the music industry at large, using Beyoncé’s post as an entry point. Interview music industry experts about the larger context and how this release could reinvigorate discussion.


It’s always membership season

Don’t be left out this year, nominate members year round — including freshmen

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 this month. Also, plan ahead. We are unable to overnight orders from April 2-10.

> 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 April 2-10. You may send in your orders, but we will not be able to send or process orders during this time — including overnight orders. All orders will be processed in the order received. 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. If your induction is planned for the week of April 22, now is the time to submit your memberships.

Also, we will not publish the Weekly Scroll during the weeks of April 8 and 15. Please make sure to plan accordingly. 

Benz Scholarship

Applications open for $250 adviser award, applications due April 12

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.

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

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

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.

Deadline approaches for 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 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 98 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

Happy Founder’s Day — a little early.

Founder’s Day isn’t until April 10, but we won’t be releasing a Scroll for the next two weeks because we will be traveling to and from the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention.

Quill and Scroll was organized April 10, 1926, at the University of Iowa by George H. Gallup and a group of high school advisers. Their purpose was to encourage and recognize individual student achievement in journalism and scholastic media. 

It’s hard to believe that we will be celebrating 100 years in just two years. (And yes, we will celebrate the centennial at the 2026 Spring JEA/NSPA Spring Convention.)  

It’s been an honor to help run Quill and Scroll. I would love to hear from you about what you would like us to offer. We want to meet your needs for the next 100 years. If you have ideas or needs that Quill and Scroll may be able to help with, please let me know. If you’re at this upcoming convention, please drop by the booth if you have ideas about future offerings or have any questions. 

Have a great spring!

— Lori Keekley