WSS staff 1 of the top 3 schools in nation to win in Quill and Scroll’s writing, photo, design and multimedia contest

2018 marks the most Sweepstakes wins the WSS has ever won through Quill and Scroll’s annual contest

Back row: Kara Wagenknecht, Nick Pryor, Natalie Dunlap, Luke Reynolds, Grace Christopher, Allie Schmitt-Morris and Alyson Kuennen. Front row: Ethan Goers, Fatima Kammona, Nina Elkadi, Ellie Gretter and Samalya Thenuwara. Not pictured: Catherine Ju, Natalie Katz, Jessica Moonjely and Wingel Xue

Quill and Scroll International Honorary Society for High School Journalists declared six West Side Story staffers winners in its annual Writing, Design and Photo Contest, with three Sweepstakes winners, two second place wins and nine national wins. This year marks the most Sweepstakes wins the WSS has ever won through Quill and Scroll’s annual contest; in previous years, WSS never had more than one Sweepstakes winner. Quill and Scroll selected WSS as the winner of both the Blue and Gold Award for Comprehensive Visuals and Writing. According to a press release, a “Blue and Gold Staff Excellence Award is the highest achievements a staff can receive in the International Quill and Scroll Writing, Photo and Multimedia Contest.”

2018 WSS Sweepstakes winners:

  • Reporter Fatima Kammona ’19 in News Writing for “94.”
  • Reporter Natalie Katz ’20 in Health, Science and Agricultural Writing for “Got Goats?
  • News Editor and Photographer Alyson Kuennen ’18 in Photo Illustration for “Vape Nation.”

2018 WSS Second place winners:

  • Broadcast Editor-in-Chief Samalya Thenuwara ’18 in Blogging for
  • Sports Producer Ethan Goers ’18 and News/Feature Producer Nick Pryor ’18 in Multimedia Storytelling for “A Discussion: Gun Ownership in Iowa.”

2018 WSS national winners:

The WSS staff was also in the top three of the 125 schools with winning entries. According to Quill and Scroll Executive Director, Jeff Browne, McCallum High School in Austin, Texas edged the WSS out for the overall Blue and Gold for Staff Excellence. This is determined through a point system: five points for Sweepstakes Winners (first place), three points for Second Place, two points for Third Place and one point for Honorable Mention.

Here’s a link to all of this year’s West Side Story wins, including notes from the judges. As seniors, winners are eligible for Quill and Scroll scholarships.

Winners are eligible to apply for one of the $500-$1500 Quill and Scroll journalism scholarships. There were a total of 2,065 entries in this competition in all divisions, with a total of 259 entries selected as National Winners and 321 individual student winners in all categories.  The categories include: editorial writing, editorial cartooning, news writing, news feature photography, sports photography, feature writing, opinion columns, review columns, individual in-depth reporting, team in-depth reporting, advertisement, sports writing, photo illustration, infographics, multimedia storytelling, photo slideshow, cover design, profile, political writing, health, science and agriculture writing and blogging.

For information on past West Side Story Sweepstakes and National winners, go to