Pepper Box wins International First Place Award from Quill and Scroll


For the third time in the last eleven years, and the second time in the last three years, the Pepper Box has won the International First Place Award from International Quill and Scroll, a high school journalism honors society. 

Each year, the Pepper Box staff sends in three of its issues to be critiqued on its organization, writing, photography, and design.  This year, the group was given a Superior ranking for its general practices, an Excellent rating for its visuals, and Good ratings for coverage, writing, and editing. 

This award was especially impressive to the staff, as only six students returned from the 2020-2021 staff, including senior Chloe Sapp and graduated seniors Kaylyn Riggs, Michelle Everett, Maricela Nunez, Kaitlyn Hurst, and Chanel Foster. Those six students were responsible for all early content as the rest of the incoming staff learned about journalistic writing design and photography. Current Content Editor-in-Chief, senior Chloe Sapp said that it took some time to get used to the small group of editors. 

“We didn’t know if we were going to be able to produce as many high-quality publications with so few people in the room,” Sapp said. “We didn’t know how the dynamics would be between us, but we got along so well and were able to navigate through that early period and create quality content.” 

The judge’s overall comments reflected the consistency of the Pepper Box, as well as its continued growth over the years. 

“The Pepper Box looks like The Pepper Box. It’s unique to other publications and the consistency moves from the coverage and writing to the visuals. The staff works hard to inform their readers on a variety of topics. It’s fun to see this publication each year and see the improvements.”

Pepper Box adviser Ron Steinschriber was thrilled to see the results of the critique and is looking forward to a new school year with a more veteran staff and high expectations. 

“The award was both surprising and expected.  I knew we produced high-quality work last year, but I was a little concerned that our production approach might have hurt us last year,” Steinschriber said. “Instead of eight traditional issues with a special edition or two as we had done in the past, last year we put out three of our traditional issues along with five special editions. This combination allowed us to create early on a smaller scale with the smaller staff and get back to our larger productions later in the year.  It also allowed us to explore a lot of new visual ideas that we were able to incorporate into the traditional newspapers, which ultimately showed up in a higher visual rating.”

This year’s staff is committed to continuing the success of the Pepper Box and adding their own personal touches with the goal of achieving the highest rating, the George Gallup Award, which only went to nine schools in the country this year.  Senior Danielle Haynes is the Visual Editor-in-Chief this year, and has big plans.

“Expectations are to get the paper out to more students by expanding our reach, and bring more creative ideas to make the newspaper visually appealing,”  


Members of last year’s staff include: 

Editors: Michelle Everett, Chanel Foster, Kaitlyn Hurst, Maricela Nunez, Kaylyn Riggs, Chloe Sapp

Staff Members: Leanna Duncan, Paula De Hipolito Ruiz, Layla Fouche, Caden Gaither, Alexandra Griffin, Caroline Groceman, Danielle Haynes, Jennifer Huerta Lopez, Autumn Jacobsmeyer, Julia Lohnes, Nickolas Martin, Eaja McBroom, Ashton Miller, Kevon Moore, Jacob Nasalroad-Francis, Victoria Pratt, Janiya Scott