14 student journalists inducted into Quill and Scroll in first ceremony at BPHS in 20 years

Russell Finelsen, Editor-in-Chief

On May 21 in the Little Theater, 14 student journalists were inducted into the BPHS Chapter of Quill & Scroll International Honorary Society for High School Journalists.

The inducted students were: Katherine Bustamente, Erin Cavrak, Laura Duke, Kaitlyn Ellsworth, Cassandra Jameyson, Brittany Kach, and Courtney Manns. Other inductees include Macie McKitrick, Taylor Scalise, Morgan Schmidt, Diane Sounik, Luis Raúl Toledo Terán, Krista Van Dyke, and Natalia Young.

In order to be inducted, students had to do well academically and had to be in the upper third of their grade level in terms of their grades. Furthermore, the students had to have done great work in a school publication and be recommended by that publication’s adviser.

Mr. John Allemang chose students from the student newspaper, Hawk Eye, and Mr. Robert Hooton nominated people who worked on the yearbook, the Beacon. Mr. Brad Kszastowski elected workers on the morning news, Black Hawk TV, and its corresponding YouTube channel. Miss Leigh Ann Totty nominated writers of the school’s literary magazine, Vernissage.

During the ceremony, inductees lit candles based on the seven values: truth, learning, leadership, loyalty, initiative, integrity, judgement, and friendship.

“It was awesome to be inducted,” Toledo said. “It is an honor. My hard work all got back to me.”

“Being inducted to Quill and Scroll is something I’m super proud of,” Scalise said. “It’s great to see everyone’s hard work throughout the year pay off.”

In addition, two freshman were inducted. These students had success with the newspaper and/or the morning news. These students are Russell Finelsen and Noah Gearhart.

Mr. Charles Youngs organized the ceremony.

“Students should be recognized for their success in journalistic arts,” Mr. Youngs said.

After Mr. Youngs’s speech, each adviser said a speech, outlining why students got chosen for Quill and Scroll induction.

“[Kaitlyn, Taylor, and Krista] worked independently and together on articles and videos,” Mr. Allemang said. “They recently wrote an editorial on texting and driving, and have made two videos: a Top 5 video on lunch choices, and a Top 5 video on places in the school.”

“I can count on them to write articles,” Mr. Allemang said.

“Raúl is involved in TV, media and video production,” Mr. Kszastowski said. “He has taken the news channel further, and he also helped the [Black Hawk TV] YouTube channel.”

During the ceremony, in addition to Mr. Youngs’ and the advisers’ speeches, Mrs. Mary Neiderberger also spoke to the inductees and the audience. In her speech, she talked about her interest in the news, and how she became a news writer.

“My mom was a news junkie,” Mrs. Neiderberger said. “That’s how I got interested in the news.”

“While playing a softball game, my mom called me in to watch history in the making,” Mrs. Neiderberger said. “It was when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. That also helped me get interested.”

Mrs. Neiderberger, a reporter and writer for the Post Gazette, grew up in Baldwin, and went to college at Duquesne. Later, she wrote community news on education. She then moved to Bethel Park. At BPHS, her son, the editor-in-chief of Black Hawk Voice, the school’s previous newspaper, and her daughter, graduated and went on to college. Meanwhile, Mrs. Neiderberger did freelance writing, and some of her articles were featured in some of the nation’s most popular newspapers, like the Pittsburgh Post Gazette and the Chicago Tribune. In 1998, she was hired by the Post Gazette, and has been working there ever since. She focuses on school districts that are in trouble. She is known for her reporting on the Wilkinsburg School District and former Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis, which won her two national awards.

Mrs. Neiderberger’s speech was followed by the honoring of the freshman and the induction of new members.

However, the ceremony has not been done for many years.

“The Quill and Scroll society was founded in 1926, and the BPHS chapter was formed in 1947,” Mr. Youngs said. “The chapter has been inactive for at least 20 years, but our records do not specify.”

“I [hosted the ceremony] because I remember the value of being a Quill and Scroll member [back when I was in school],” Mr. Youngs said.

“It is an honor [to be a member].”