The Purple Tabloids

Remembering the most infamous scandals and controversies through my years at Elder


Today’s media and press get a bad rap, but for good reason.  Most news tabloids toss out fake stories and coaxing headlines to trick readers and viewers into buying, reading, clicking a link, what have you.  The Purple Quill is indeed a media outlet, albeit a rather unconventional one.  As I said, many news outlets are writing about gossip and plausible points of controversy.  I would be remiss in my duties as a journalist if I were to neglect this intrinsic aspect of journalism: scandalous mysteries that have everybody talking.

In reaction to this realization, I’ve compiled the most memorable, scandalous, gossip-mongering events all into one article.  I could be like any other journalist and lure you into reading about each and every one of these things, in separate articles, but I’ll spare you the trouble.  Spanning from the beginning of my freshman year in 2013, to the present day 2017, here are they are:

Finessed the Phones (2013)

Boy oh, boy.  This was good.  A mix of thievery, deception, mystery.  I was a freshman at this point, and the perpetrator of this particular scandal is no longer a Panther, nonetheless we’ll change his name to keep him off the grid.  A young freshman lad named Boston decided it would be a great idea to finesse a few cell phones from the locker room.  Poor little freshmen just wanted to text their bros after practice, come to find Boston already flipped their iPhones for cold hard cash on Craigslist.  Legendary.  A classic “whodunnit?”  Very exciting until we actually found out who had dunnit.  Solid idea in theory, but you paid the price by losing your title of Elder Panther.  Stay golden, Boston, you almost got away with it.

Orange-gate (2014)

There aren’t too many things inside our school that are orange.  The things that are orange, ought to be treasured.  A few of these things include the buffalo sauce in the cafeteria and the piece of fruit that happened to fly through the air, in the cafeteria, one fateful day during my sophomore year.  Who could forget the orange?  John Rokich ‘members especially well, because when Mr. Ruffing came on the announcements that afternoon, demanding that “Whoever threw the orange in the cafeteria during Y-Lunch come to my office,” Rokich was the one who made the trip down the main hallway, tail between his legs, to admit to his crime.  He threw the orange, but he had the guts to own up to his wrongdoings.  I’m not censoring his name because firstly, he doesn’t really care; secondly, he is a legend and deserves the street cred; and thirdly, because he already paid for his crimes by means of detention.  Good for you, John, keep your head up.

Tailgate-gate (2016)

A bit more recently and perhaps not as well-known of a scandal as the rest, is tailgate-gate.  Tailgate-gate involved a couple of gents from Elder’s Water Polo team who decided that instead of going to their Water Polo practice, they would go and get a little rowdy with some of their guys who were being dudes, before one of the last football games in the Pit.  These guys were really in a pinch.  On one shoulder is God, telling them to do the right thing and go to get some touches on the Water Polo ball.  On the other shoulder is Satan, reminding them that you only get so many, and that this was one of their last chances to get together with their fellow Panthers before a classic home game in The Pit.  Obviously, their priorities became apparent and they sided with the devil.  They all had presumably enjoyable times before and during the football game, but the big news was when the Water Polo coaches got wind of the situation.  The guys were put on leave from the team, all because they decided that a thriller in The Pit was more important than one more practice in the Polo pool on the roof of Elder High.

Skunk-gate (2014-2015)

Skunk gate gets its name from a mystery that was never necessarily solved.  When I was a sophomore, I remember there always being a particular, pungent smell wafting in the freshman wing.  Some noted that the smell was strikingly similar to that of a skunk.  No one knew for sure, but everyone had their guess of who was keeping a dead skunk in his locker.  Given that the smell originated in and permeated throughout the freshman wing, we assumed that it was a freshman’s locker, but again, no one was positive.  The main suspect in this scandal (I’ll call him Barry) happened to leave Elder at the end of that year, consequently putting an end to the mystery, thus clearing the air literally and figuratively.

The Battle for Ebeneezer (2016)

The Seven Years War, The 100 Years War, The Cold War, and the Battle for Ebeneezer.  All of these clashes have one thing in common: they spanned years and years, as opposed to being consolidated on one particular day or year.  The Battle for Ebeneezer is of course the clash between “Choke” Hills and Elder, to control the infamous “hairpins” on Ebeneezer Road.  Like I said this struggle has been going on since essentially the dawn of time, and it involves spray-painting the guardrails the colors of your respective school.

Seems like a harmless method of expressing school pride, but to the Green Township Police Department, this is no hop down the bunny trail.  This is a crime! These boys are criminals!  This year, like every other year, a couple of nights before the big game (which isn’t really a big game because Oak Hills cannot and will not beat us in football, ever), the crews of Lowlanders and Panthers went to do their thing.  The first night, the red and black paint was pulled out and man, did those kids do a number on the road.  Unluckily for them the Green Township feds rolled up and they had to abort mission.  By then however, they had already tagged the guardrails and claimed them as theirs.  The problem was, obviously, they just got arrested for doing it, and the squad of Elder men ran the risk of following suit.

Fast forward to literally the next night, and the Panthers are on Ebeneezer as well. Didn’t take too long to make a decision.  Surprise surprise, blah blah, they also got arrested.  The rest is history.  This band of brothers, group of guys, squadron of scholars, sacrificed their livelihoods for the street cred of the Panthers.  They went in there knowing it was likely that they got caught, but guess what? They did it anyways.  Bunch of legends.  Thanks to them, when you go up the hairpins, not only will you see the graffiti of the Oakies, but you will also see a single “E” on one of the signs.  Sure, they covered more guardrail with more paint, but we beat them on the field and in the cheering section, per usual.  Nothing new, just Panthers being Panthers and guys being dudes.  Chalk it up as a W.

Steak-gate (2014)

It was a beautiful spring day in Price Hill.  It was the day of Elderfest, my freshman year.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  Cornhole bags were flying, wiffle balls whistled, food was eaten, and songs were being sung.  It was your typical Elderfest, until “Twitter Fingers” aka “Cincy’s Drama Queen” aka “The Prince of the Precinct” aka “Jeff the Chef Ruby,” rolled up with his 40-foot bus and his personally armed mad-dog who carried an actual shotgun onto our campus.  This is not a joke.  Jeff Ruby came to Elder during Elderfest because he was being harassed on Twitter by some students who were sophomores at the time (Class of 2016, you guys are legends).

Poor little Jeff got his feelings hurt and decided he might have to put some buckshot into a couple of 16 year-old kids if they kept tormenting him.  Hopefully by now Mr. Ruby has made peace with them and the countless other high school students with whom he interacts on social media.  Maybe he even offered them a complimentary (and kind of creepy) invitation to perhaps his steak house or a night in his suite at Great American Ball Park.  A story about legends, but Ruby is not one of them.  Sorry, mister.


Some names and minor facts have been altered and italicized in order to preserve the dignity of those who were involved in the more severe and troublesome scandals.