A few weeks ago, I posted my #DecadeChallenge photo: two photos, side-by-side -- one from 2009, and one from 2019. From age 21 to 31, you might notice a fuller face, the first strands of gray hair, and a very handsome man :) But there is so much that happened in between these photographs that deserves some recognition. Here's my attempt at recapping what was an very eventful 10 years.
2009: I was a broadcast journalism student at Syracuse University. Most of my time was spent competing on SU's Mock Trial team, and that year we advanced to the National Tournament in Des Moines, Iowa. When I wasn't in class, I was practicing for mock trial tournaments, traveling to and competing in tournaments, and then hanging out with my teammates in our free time. That summer I interned at WJAC-TV in Johnstown, Pa., the news station I grew up watching. I was more than half-way through college and eager to be a real reporter.
2010: I got a rare sit-down interview with SU basketball coach Jim Boeheim for a student broadcast magazine show called Connect. I continued to spend many hours competing on the Mock Trial team, and that year I became a captain. I joined the ABC News On Campus Bureau at Syracuse, which gave me opportunities to work on broadcast and print pieces for the ABC News network. We took a field trip to Good Morning America to see the show behind the scenes and meet the main anchors. I started volunteering for the Empire Mock Trial Association, a nonprofit founded by a friend that organizes a world championship high school mock trial competition in New York City -- a group I worked with until 2017. Tragically, one of my best friends from childhood, Cathy Roseski, died in a car crash in 2010. I still think about her all the time and as time goes on, it feels more and more unfair that someone so full of life and potential was taken so young.
2011: I rang in the new year by traveling to South Africa for two weeks, putting together multimedia reports for a new Syracuse University project. It was my first international trip and I'll never forget the friends I made in the townships and the incredible wildlife we saw on a safari. I graduated with honors at Syracuse with degrees in Broadcast Journalism and American History. A few months later, I got my first TV news job: reporting for WLBZ in Bangor, Maine. I drove by myself from Pennsylvania to Maine with nothing but a few storage bins full of clothes, found an apartment, and started my new job in the same weekend. This was the year I learned how to live on my own and made lots of sacrifices for my career, trusting it would all pay off down the road.
2012: I moved from Bangor to Lewiston to start a new job: the Lewiston-Auburn Bureau Reporter for WCSH 6. I jumped at the opportunity to report for the Portland market and got very involved in the community, joining a local softball league and playing flute and piccolo in the Auburn Community Concert Band. I covered my first Demsey Challenge and got to do a sit-down interview with Patrick Dempsey. While reporting during a snow storm, a certain viewer named Jeremy noticed Danielle and sent her a message on Twitter... more on him later ;) Living in Lewiston taught me a lot. It was a gritty city with a reputation and I could have easily dismissed it but I jumped in to the community and truly loved my experience there.
2013: I adopted my cat Kitty from the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society (the shelter named her Trinket, I named her Coco, but Kitty is what stuck). I moved to Maine's largest city and in to the Portland newsroom at WCSH and joined the morning show as a reporter. I woke up before 2 a.m., got to work around 3:30 am and never really adjusted to those inhuman hours. I only lasted six months on this shift before I requested a move to the night shift at WCSH. This was the year I moved in with a childhood friend, Josh, into an apartment near downtown Portland.
2014: I finally met the aforementioned viewer, Jeremy, in real life at The Little Tap House in Portland. After a few drinks, a few dates and a few months, we decided to be an official couple. Later that year, my family celebrated my sister's wedding in Massachusetts. I got Jeremy tickets to a Patriots game for his birthday. We binged watched every episode of Breaking Bad. I covered Barack Obama's visit to to Portland. I got to know Jeremy's family and friends better and this is when Maine truly started to feel like home.
2015: I went on vacation with Jeremy's family to the island of St. John, got stung by a sea urchin, and learned how to snorkel. Looking for a new challenge, I left my job at WCSH and joined the team at New England Cable News. I covered the state of Maine for NECN and also reported in Boston. One of my first experiences in the Boston market was covering the verdict of the Aaron Hernandez trial. I watched Jeremy officiate the wedding of his friends Kyle and Sarah on Chebeague Island. My friend Pish visited me in Maine. Jeremy and I saw the Foo Fighters play a show at Fenway. On Halloween, we adopted Camden, a kitten at the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland. I moved in to Jeremy's condo near the Old Port. This was when we started to make our home together.
2016: I covered a few Presidential campaign stops in New Hampshire and Maine for NECN. Jeremy's family and I traveled back to St. John, and we expanded our trip to include the British Virgin Islands. Jeremy graduated from his Master's program at the University of Southern Maine. I ran my first ever 5K race. My parents spent a week with us in Portland. I went to my first (and probably last) Phish concert, just so I could say I've seen Jeremy's favorite band. Celebrated Jeremy's 40th birthday by buying him a drone. Spent a week in Colorado, staying at my aunt and uncle's condo in downtown Denver. We went to a music festival, visited Rocky Mountain National Park, saw a Rockie's Game, and more. I covered historic election results, and the next morning I broke my toe.
2017: Jeremy's family went to the Cayman Islands for winter vacation, where I learned how to paddle board. Jeremy officiated another friend's wedding. I ran my first 10K in Massachusetts, then ran the Beach 2 Beacon in Maine. Jeremy, Pish, and his friend Pasha and I spent a week in beautiful Montreal. We saw Lady Gaga not once, but twice in concert at Fenway Park! We celebrated Jeremy's brother's 50th birthday in Boston. I made my first big adult purchase and bought a new Ford Focus to replace my old one. I signed an extension to stay at NECN a little longer while I started to explore the possibility of new jobs. At this point, our newsroom launched a third station: the NBC affiliate in Boston. It was exciting to be a part of this new triopoly but I was also getting restless covering Maine news.
2018: We went to Sanibel, Florida for vacation with Jeremy's family in the spring. In the summer my family visited us in Maine and we went on a whale watch tour. Jeremy's family rented a lake house in Belgrade to celebrate his dad's 75th birthday in late August. I spent a lot of time applying for new jobs and wondering why the process was so hard. I learned how to move on from rejection after rejection on the job market. Jeremy and I spent Labor Day weekend in Montauk. We saw Hamilton the musical in Boston. I went on three job interviews in the late fall, and eventually landed a job that felt right: an investigative reporter in Florida! I put in my two weeks notice at NECN. In December, I turned 30 and Jeremy surprised me with a trip to Pittsburgh where we got engaged! We started to plan our big move and started to plan our 2020 wedding.
2019: I moved from Maine to Florida to start my new job at WPEC in West Palm Beach. I jumped in to the world of investigative reporting and ended up winning an Emmy award for an series about moving companies. We attended three weddings, explored Florida, met new friends, and hosted our first major holiday at our new apartment in West Palm Beach.
This decade -- my 20's -- was full. Full of adventures, life lessons, hard work, challenges, rewards, and lots of love. There are so many things I would do differently (mostly not stress as much), but at the same time -- it all led me here, to this new and exciting decade. I am proud to look back on how much I've grown and see that I practiced patience and persistence when things didn't go my way, and when window of opportunity presented itself, I was all in.
As for 2020 and beyond... I know I'll be here in Florida for a little bit longer. I will soon be a married woman, hopefully starting a family and establishing roots somewhere. I hope to keep my passion for journalism and follow my crazy career wherever it takes me. And I hope at the end of the roaring 20's, I can look back as a 40-something and be proud of what I did, what I learned, and who I became in that decade.