Now up: Contributing columnists for 2019-20
Last updated 10/17/2019 at 12:03am | View PDF
Every September I have the bittersweet task of bidding a group of contributing columnists farewell and welcoming a new group of writers to our paper.
This year three writers have finished their terms — Rob Johnson, Laura LaPlaca and student columnist (and now Hinsdale Central graduate!) Annika Agrawal.
We also are saying a premature goodbye to Jim Hutchinson, who is moving with his wife, Donna, to Oberlin, Ohio, to be closer to his daughter, son-in-law and grandson.
Hutch’s slot will be filled by a familiar face around town and former contributing columnist, Susan O’Byrne. Yes, you just read about her love of making small talk with anyone and everyone she meets Aug. 22. (Summer is a special time when former columnists are invited to write a single column to share with readers.)
To refresh your memory, O’Byrne is a former Shakespeare professor and litigator who enjoys performing in several area community theater productions — and has been seen in every Community Revue since 2011. She was born and raised here (attending Monroe, Hinsdale Junior High and Hinsdale Central) and moved back with husband Bob and their children in 2010. Owen is a freshman at Hinsdale Central this year and Nora is in eighth grade at Hinsdale Middle School.
The other three new writers are brand-new to The Hinsdalean — and one of them is relatively new to town.
Amy McCauley and her family moved from Texas to Hinsdale just three years ago after her husband, Mark, accepted a job as a medical professor and cardiologist at UIC.
The move meant a change in her professional life as well. After leaving her position as a criminal attorney for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, she decided to stay home to spend more time with her two young daughters, Gabriella, 6, and Alyssa, 5.
Since then she has started a food blog as a creative outlet to share something she loves with others. She sees the column in a similar way.
“I would love to have the opportunity to share my writing with a wider audience in The Hinsdalean,” she wrote. “I enjoy reading your paper and the local columns.”
Beth Smits’ Hinsdale address is also a new one, although she has a long history here.
She grew up in houses on Lincoln and Sixth streets and County Line Road, where her parents still live. She recently moved back to town after more than 30 years away.
A global public affairs, marketing and communication executive, she’s currently working on her dissertation for a doctorate degree in international relations from Johns Hopkins. She said she knew immediately when she saw the call for columnists that she wanted to apply.
“I thought my perspectives as I rediscover Hinsdale as an adult might an interesting read,” she wrote.
The third new columnist is Hinsdale Central junior Cedra Jazayerli.
“I feel as though I could provide great insight on the ins and outs of what it is like to be a high-schooler today because of my rigorous class schedule and school involvement,” she wrote.
She is an honors student who is also a member of the girls tennis team, Peer Leadership and Breaking Down the Walls.
The three new writers join Jack Fredrickson, Sally Hartmann, Carol Wittemann and student columnist Katie Hughes in our rotation.
I am so pleased and proud to have such wonderful writers in our contributing columnist pool from year to year. One of my highlights each week is reading their columns, learning more about their lives and their thoughts on Hinsdale. I’m sure you will enjoy their work as much as I do.
— Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean. Readers can email her at [email protected]