Created by contributors in grades K-12, the HyattsKIDS Life & Times features local news, columns, and comics from our city’s youngest journalists. Would you like to see your art or writing on our page? Send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s time for lunch!
By Violet Hanna, age 10
I am in fifth grade at Hyattsville Elementary School, and one day there was a chicken dish that looked new to me. So I wondered, who decides what’s on the menu at school? I sent questions to a nice lady named Dee-on Everette, a supervisor for Prince George’s County Public Schools Food and Nutrition Services. Here is what she had to say:
Who decides what is served in the cafeterias in PGCPS? We follow a meal pattern set forth by federal and state guidelines. Menus are also based on the dietary guidelines. Most importantly, the items for the menu being chosen for the upcoming school year is done by involving students from elementary, middle, and high schools. This is done by having taste tests in various schools and completing surveys.
How are new recipes created? We get recipe ideas from students, staff, and what’s popular at restaurants and convenience stores. From those inspirations, we look for products to make recipes and test them with students.
Have there been new items served in schools recently? Even though it was difficult to test new products during COVID-19, we introduced a bean and cheese burrito, and it is doing well in different regions of the county.
Were there any recipes that seemed like they would be super popular but ended up not being such a hit? This occurs often. What works in one school may not be a super hit in another school. In that case, we try and make adjustments, but being as our menu is set ahead of time, we usually have to wait until the next quarter.
What is your favorite thing to have for lunch? My favorite thing for lunch is a chef salad. I love how the lettuce is crisp and how I am offered various types of meat or an option to just have cheese or egg or maybe both!
Thank you, Ms. Everette!
Café volunteering is important, rewarding
By Genevieve Poynton, age 12.5
You might have heard of the St. Jerome’s Café, and maybe you know a friend or family member that goes there on a regular basis. Every Thursday, the St. Jerome’s Café makes and gives food to people who might not be able to afford it. They also give away clothes and shoes that have been donated by generous people in Hyattsville. And even though it’s a fantastic resource for those of us in need, it can also be a great opportunity for anyone in the community. I went to the St. Jerome’s Café as a volunteer for the first time a few weeks ago, and it was an extremely rewarding experience.
A large amount of time and effort goes into making the café happen every Thursday. The cooking team makes food at home to give away, the set up team helps set up the cafe, and other volunteers give out food and clothes when the customers arrive. There are also people who do a little bit of everything, like I did.
Volunteer Cecilia, age 10, says, “It feels good to help people who are in need, and it’s a fun, rewarding experience.” And if you need service hours for anything, this is a great way to earn a lot at a time. The café is open during school hours from about 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., so it might be hard to fit into your schedule, but for those of you in school, you can always help by preparing food or donating items. If you are interested in participating in some way, you can contact Katherine Somok at email@example.com or go to the St. Jerome’s Café website at stjeromes.org/st-jeromes-cafe.
Library reopening: two HyattsKID’s-eye views
By Delia Silva, age 12
The reopened Hyattsville Branch Library, located at 6530 Adelphi Road, has lots of new things for all ages. Inside the library, they have computers kids and adults can use as long as they have a library card. Also, they have a 3D printer, which costs $1 per hour. They have study rooms placed around the library for people who want to gather a group for a study session, but also don’t want to be interrupted.
The little ones have a whole section dedicated to them. In their corner, they have a castle where they can read and play at the same time. Outside the library, they have a balcony for days when the weather is nice. People can read or even just be outside with a nice view of the flying saucer.
It’s easy to park at the library because now there is a garage under the library. There is a spot inside the main entrance where people can eat and drink. People can do meetings in the library thanks to new conference rooms. The workers and volunteers are helpful. If you are 14+ years old and want to volunteer at the library, just go to pgcmls.info or email the branch to sign up.
By Evan LeFevre, age 15
Well folks, after three years, $32 million and one petition regarding a certain flying saucer, the Hyattsville Branch Library has reopened! With 84 public computers, two meeting rooms, two fireplaces, makerspaces complete with 3D printers, a café, and even a giant tree in the middle of the children’s section, it’s safe to say that the Hyattsville Branch Library is one of the most spectacular buildings in the city.
After rounding a refreshingly well-paved corner into possibly the cleanest parking garage I’ve ever seen, I walked into the building and met the huge Hyattsville-themed mural in the center, starring the beloved former Mayor Candace Hollingsworth, as well as other well-known Hyattsville alumni.
But beyond the marvel of how much work clearly went into the space, I couldn’t help but be taken aback by how many kids there were. Never have I ever seen so many children excited to read! The lines to the checkout counter easily spanned 30 grade-schoolers long, probably the size of your average school bus or possibly a Megalodon shark.
Even over their respectfully worn masks, I could see how excited everyone was to be reading. And that’s the whole point of a library. Sure, it’s nice to have the glistening windows three stories in the air and cozy leather chairs to curl up in and a computer on every bookshelf to easily find whatever you’re looking for, but at the end of the day, a library is for getting kids into reading. I have never seen a library do so well at the job.