Meet Your New Principal!
Interview by Mengfei Chen, Patterson Press staff writer
As most readers are aware, Patterson High School has a new principal this year, Mr. Vance Benton. Many Patterson students may not know a lot about him. For this reason, the Patterson Press had a conversation with Mr. Benton to learn more about him and his plans for our school.
Patterson Press: Why did you come to Patterson High School to become our principal?
Mr. Benton: I came to Patterson High School to become Principal because I wanted to relocate from Cleveland, Ohio. I was told about the long history here and the diverse student body. I felt that if I came here and helped this school turn around, I would help children from around the world to become successful.
Patterson Press: What changes have you been making to our school and why did you decide to make these changes?
Mr. Benton: There were already changes made before I arrived in terms of staffing and programs. Some minor changes that were made after my arrival dealt with the way the students entered the building each day, increased visibility in the hallways and administrative job assignments. We also implemented a visitor’s policy as well. These changes were made to provide the school with better and safer operating systems to improve the overall functioning of the school. Many more changes will occur as we move along in the school year.
Patterson Press: What challenges did you face while growing up that help you to relate to the students at Patterson and some of the problems that they are going through?
Mr. Benton: The challenges I faced growing up are consistent with the challenges that most inner-city youth face in communities all over the country. I was faced with violence, drugs, being raised by my grandparents, and seeing my community and the people destroyed by crack cocaine. I was also a teenage parent at the age of 17 when I became the father of twin daughters.
Patterson Press: As soon as you came here, you made it your goal (and the whole school’s goal) for Patterson to become one of the “Top 500” schools in America. Why did you chose that as your goal and how do you think we will achieve this goal?
Mr. Benton: I chose “Top 500” to be a goal of ours because its possible to achieve. I always want to be a part of something special. Being one the top schools in the country will make us all special! The only way we will achieve this is if the staff and students TRULY believe that it can be done, and do ALL that’s necessary to achieve it. It will have to be a collective shift in how we do things here and the actions/systems necessary to sustain growth.
Patterson Press: What other interests or hobbies do you have outside of school?
Mr. Benton: Unfortunately, my hobbies and interest outside of school in slim to none. All of my energy is being spent here at Patterson High School. Outside of work, the only interest I have is to travel to Cleveland, Ohio twice a month to see my wife and my son until they are able to move to Baltimore. I do, however, like to watch sports on the weekends.
Patterson Press: What do you think of Patterson and the students here so far?
Mr. Benton: I think Patterson High School could be one of the better high schools in the country. I believe that our unique student population allows us to have richer experiences as it relates to culture and acceptance of others. I like the students here. They are generally respectful to me and other staff members. The only thing that I’m waiting to see is students stand up for each other and not tolerate or encourages students who are working against anything good here. Unfortunately, many students (and some staff) don’t believe that they can be a part of something special. Therefore, their actions are common with those who don’t believe anything good will come into their lives. That’s the biggest hurdle we have to overcome- together!
The Patterson Press thanks Mr. Benton for taking the time to share his story and his goals for Patterson.
Great story!!! Good questions and a well written response to each. Thanks Mr. Benton for being so open with this reporter and to Mengfei for taking on this task. Great Job-Highlighting individuals and their accomplishments, talents, and goals will be an enjoyable feature to the Patterson Press.
Can’t wait to read about Ms. Broere.