Community Connections

Sheila Reynolds

For this Community Connections assignment, I decided to interview Sheila Reynolds, a former reporter and editor for The Leader (a Surrey owned newspaper company) for almost 20 years. For the past few years, she has worked as a communications professional for a school district. She is a writer, which is the career I would like to pursue when I am older as well. Sheila’s responsibilities include researching and writing engaging articles on behalf of the school board for parents to read. Her responsibilities also involve writing about important events that take place within the Surrey School District to provide accurate and insightful details for the media or press to learn from.

I chose to interview Sheila since I knew her advice for becoming a writer was really going to give me a knowledgeable insight about what I should expect while pursuing this career. It has been my dream for a long time to become a professional writer, whether it be working as an editor for a local newspaper or publishing my own book for the world to enjoy. My passion is writing and it’s a hobby that has really inspired me throughout my whole life. Sheila is an expert in writing and can help me figure out which paths to take and the education I need to be able to follow my dreams of becoming a professional writer myself.


1. Why are you passionate about your job?

Depending on what kind of writer you are, there are rarely two days that are the same and it’s almost never boring. My job has always offered a lot of variety and diversity. You can — and sometimes have to — learn about new topics quickly and become knowledgeable enough to explain them to others. One day you may have to understand how a contagious disease is spread, and the next day, understand the importance of a specific cultural ceremony. Along the way, of course, there’s a good chance you’ll meet all types of interesting people, so that’s always fun.

The times where I’ve been most passionate about my job are when I’ve been able to help give a voice or platform to people who might not necessarily have one or don’t know how to express themselves so that they are heard and understood.

Selective Focus Photography of Magazines

2. What obstacles have you faced to get you where you are today?

External obstacles have mainly been changes in the world (like the internet!) that have made vast amounts of information so readily available to so many people. It has diminished the value of good and truthful investigative writing, journalism and fact-finding because there are so much potentially false information and so-called “fake news” at everyone’s fingertips.

Other obstacles have come from inside. Like a lot of creative people, it took me a while to have confidence in my abilities and know that I have a great deal of expertise to contribute and unique talents that many people do not have. I used to think everyone could write. They can’t (not always well, anyway)!

Person Using Laptop Computer

3. What advice would you pass on to someone interested in what you are doing?

  • Always be curious and ask questions. The more you learn about things, the more interesting the world is and the more ideas you’ll have to write about.
  • Keep writing. Writing is like a muscle… it takes practice and training to make it strong, and the more you do it, the better you’ll get. It doesn’t have to be profound or formal – keeping a journal, writing letters, short stories, a blog – it all counts! Reading will also help you grow as a writer.

Woman Typing on Laptop

4. Would you be open to further contact from Riverside students and if so, how can someone contact you?

Of course! Email me anytime at

5. What experiences in your childhood prepared you for becoming a writer?

I didn’t really know it at the time, but I used to write letters to my grandma when I was a child. She lived out of town and we wrote back and forth regularly about things we had done or seen or heard about. I was practising writing, without realizing it, because it was fun.

My parents were also very supportive of anything creative or artistic. I think that combined with growing up in a home that valued equality and social justice and human rights made me turn to journalism as a way to use my writing skills to make a difference in my community.

Shallow Focus of Letter Paper

6. What have you learned about the different styles of writing?

It’s important to know there are numerous different kinds of writing and many that can offer interesting careers. Creative writing, such as writing fictional stories and novels, may well be the most difficult to pursue as a profession, mainly because it can take time (and some luck!) to have your work recognized, get published, and be paid well for your work.

That said, there are many other avenues, many of which can still be quite creative. Interesting writing all involves storytelling, to some degree, whether it’s writing a news story, a novel, a press release or blog. With some specialized training and education, you can definitely find a path to make a living as a writer. You can also use good writing skills in many other professions!

Close-up of Human Hand

What I took away from this assignment 

After interviewing Sheila and analyzing her responses, I have realized that writing is indeed the profession I want to pursue when I am older. Writing is much more beneficial to our everyday lives than I have ever realized before. Not only is it important skill set to acquire for your schoolwork, it also can lead to more job opportunities and increased communication skills. Proper grammar and punctuation may be the reason I get accepted into my dream school or get a high end job offer. We always have to make sure our writing is suitable for our readers, which leads to use taking the perspective of others more considerably, and getting to know more people in the community. I have learned so much about writing from what Sheila had written. I have always wanted to write stories for a profession when I am older, and Sheila’s insight on the world of writing gave me bundles of tips and information to help me get a head start on my future career.

Writing is a gift, and this interview with Sheila opened my eyes to a whole new understanding of the power that our writing is capable of.


Sheila gave me the opportunity to write a letter to the School District to not only practice my professional writing abilities, but to challenge me to come up with insightful information that is useful to the School District. The topic of my letter was based upon what I would like know about the School District and included details of aspects that I thought maybe they should take into consideration of changing or modifying. Writing this letter opened up a beneficial opportunity and challenged not only my writing skills, but my mind.

Here is the letter I submitted to Sheila Reynolds about the School District:

Not only was I able to write a letter to the School District for Sheila to review, this assignment itself also opened up a major opportunity for me. As I was describing this assignment to my family, I learned that my uncle’s cousin is a screenwriter herself. She writes original screenplays (which is the scripts for movies) and takes whole books and adapts it into a screenplay for movies as well. Two of her major projects includes the Princess Diaries and Coyote Ugly. I could also get advice from her to expand my knowledge on a writing career, and learn so much more about the world of writing scripts used in movies.

Here are a few intriguing stories Sheila has written for The Leader:

Photo Citations:

2 thoughts on “Community Connections”

  1. I was so happy to help you with this, Julia. I’m glad you found it a valuable experience and hope it encourages you to pursue your passions. This blog shows you are a talented and thoughtful writer and I have absolutely no doubt you will succeed at any career you choose!

  2. Thank you for submitting your Community Connection assignment for COL. We have reviewed your Edublogs post, and have the following observations regarding your work:

    – Great job interviewing someone and seeking out information regarding their expertise
    – Way to incorporate your answers on your Edublogs portfolio
    – I love the “assignment” that Sheila gave you to complete. Amazing work to make this task practical!
    – Thanks for going the extra mile on this assignment. This is a great example of a connection!

    Thank you,

    Mr. Robinson and Mr. Barazzuol
    COL Teachers

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