By SOPHIE GORMAN ORIANI — Hello to all you Hyattsville Life & Times (HL&T) readers! I am so happy to have joined the paper as the new associate editor. Thank you very much for the warm welcome you’ve already extended to me. I never thought I would end up covering city council happenings for the local newspaper, but life sure has a way of leading in unexpected directions. Let me tell you a little about how I got here.
My first experience with local journalism was as a child in Bowie. My sister and I got our first jobs delivering a weekly newspaper, the Bowie Blade News. Although we grew up and moved on to other jobs, I never forgot that first job. My family moved from Bowie to Hyattsville while I was attending college. I lived at home and was excited to see that Hyattsville had a local newspaper similar to Bowie’s. More importantly, I quickly fell in love with the friendly and welcoming Hyattsville community.
After my husband and I got married, we moved to Gaithersburg. It took less than six months for us to decide that we had made a mistake and that we missed the friends we had already made in Hyattsville. As soon as we could get out of our lease, we moved back. Initially, we lived in an apartment, but we quickly purchased a fixer-upper, which we are learning to repair and improve. It turns out that construction is slower than YouTube makes it look, especially when you’re hampered by first one and then two little daughters!
Over the years, I have gradually become more involved in Hyattsville’s community activities. I teach at St. Jerome Academy’s Montessori Toddler Room. After I found out about the HY-Swap, I began volunteering at their sorting parties to help organize the piles of donations that residents drop off on porches all across Hyattsville. I also began tending a garden plot in the Hyatt Park Community Garden and eventually became involved in garden leadership as a plot monitor. This year I am one of the garden co-leads. Last spring, I took my community involvement a step further and decided to run for city council in Ward 5. While I didn’t win, I had a great experience and learned a lot about the residents and what I can do to help them thrive in our community.
When I was offered this position with the HL&T, I was excited to accept. Covering city council and other hard news for the HL&T seems like a logical way to stay involved with city happenings. I enjoy reading the monthly print edition and news stories online, and I’m especially impressed by the quality of the writing and editing given that the HL&T team is largely made up of seriously dedicated volunteers. Since joining the paper in July, it has been even more fun to learn about our city through writing my own stories. I am extremely excited to join this amazing team and to stay connected to the community that welcomed me so heartily nearly six years ago.