Category Archives: ESOL

Resumen de mi Vida (Spanish)

Por Jeysi

To read this article in English, click here:

Yo soy una chica hondureña de 17 años, nacida el 27 de Septiembre del año 2002.

En mi familia somos seis.  Tengo dos hermanas y un hermano.

Cuando yo vivía en Honduras, nosotros teníamos vacaciones durante el año escolar.  En mis vacaciones mi familia y yo visitábamos a mis abuelos por parte de madre.  Nosotros manejábamos durante cinco  horas en automóvil para poder llegar hasta donde ellos vivían.

Cuando tenía cinco años entré a estudiar a la escuela primaria, no era de hablar con mis compañeros.  Yo prefería estar sola o estar a mi hermana. Completé mis  6 años de escuela primaria en San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Luego comencé la escuela secundaria en Honduras.  Cuando terminé el segundo año de mi escuela secundaria, mi madre decidió emigrar para Los Estados Unidos. Después que mi madre se fue, yo me quedé viviendo con mi padre y mis hermanos.

He tenido la oportunidad de lanzarme del canopy a los 14 años.   Fue el canopy más extremo de Centroamérica.  Está localizado en La Campa, Lempira de Honduras. También tuve mi fiesta de 15 años.  Fue una celebración pequeña con mi familia.   Meses más tarde me enfermé de gastritis, gracias a Dios mejore.

En el 2017 termine el tercer año de secundaria. Y, en el 2018 me cambié de colegio y entre a Preparatoria elegí mi Carrera que fue contaduría y finanzas; conocí nuevas personas las cuales son maravillosas e increíbles. También conocí a mi mejor amiga se llama Marlén, con ella salíamos de compras, salíamos a tomar un café, íbamos al cine, nos vitábamos, nos tomábamos muchas fotos, la pasábamos increíble estando juntas.

Tristemente, me informaron que mi tía tenía cáncer por todo su cuerpo y para enero del año 2019 lastimosamente falleció. Fue un golpe muy duro para mi vida emocionalmente, al fallecer  ella, yo entré en una depresión.  Yo no quería hablar con nadie, estuve en tratamiento por varios meses.  Yo estaba muy triste y me pasaba llorando la muerte de mi tía constantemente.  Yo necesitaba de mi madre, pero para mi mala suerte ella estaba lejos de mí.  Fue por esa razón que mi madre decidió traerme con ella a los Estados Unidos.

Dejé mis estudios en Honduras. En mayo salí de mi país rumbo a los Estados Unidos. Sin embargo, caí presa en México y me deportaron para Honduras.  Algunos meses más tarde  nuevamente salí de mi país.   Esta vez mi padre me acompañó y logramos pasar gracias a Dios. Entonces pude reencontrarme con mi madre y conocer a mi pequeña hermana Génesis.

Tengo cuatro meses aquí en Estadas Unidos.  Estudio en Patterson High School.

Aunque estando con madre me siento mejor emocionalmente, me gustaría ir de visita a mi país para ver a mis abuelos y amigos que extraño mucho.  Pero,  luego volver con madre y estar con ella.

Recuerdo que en Honduras yo asistía a la iglesia Evangélica y Reformada.  Aquí he tenido la oportunidad de encontrar una iglesia similar a la cual asisto ahora. 

Una de mis metas desde la niñez ha sido graduarme de la universidad.  Confío en Dios que así sea.  

Summary of my life

By Jeysi

Translated from Spanish by Ms. Jaen

Para leer este artículo en español, haga clic aquí.

I am a 17-year-old Honduran girl, born on September 27, 2002. There are six family members in my immediate family. I have two sisters and one brother.

When I lived in Honduras, we had vacations during the school year. On my vacations my family and I visited my grandparents on my mother’s side. We drove for five hours by car to get to where they lived.

When I was five years old, I started elementary school. I was very quiet and I did not talk to my classmates. I preferred to be alone or to be with my sister. I completed my 6 years of elementary school in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Then I started high school in Honduras. When I finished my sophomore year of high school, my mother decided to emigrate to the United States. After my mother left, I stayed with my father and my brothers.

I have had the opportunity to do a tree obstacle course at the age of 14. It was the most extreme tree obstacle course in Central America. It is located in La Campa, Lempira, Honduras. I also had my 15 year old party. It was a small celebration with my family. Months later, I got sick from gastritis; thank goodness I got better.

In 2017 I finished my third year of high school. Then, in 2018 I changed schools and I went to a different high school. I chose my career path in that school.  It was accounting and finance; I met new people who were wonderful and incredible. I also met my best friend. Her name is Marlén.  We went out shopping, we went out for coffee, we went to the movies, we had dinner, we took many photos together, and we had an amazing time together.

Sadly, I was informed that my aunt had cancer throughout her body.  She passed away in January 2019.  It was a very difficult time in my life, emotionally.   When she passed away, I got depressed. I did not want to speak to anyone. I was in a treatment for several months. I was very sad and I was constantly crying over the death of my aunt. I needed my mother, but she was far away from me. I felt that I was having a bad luck episode. This was the reason why my mother decided to bring me to the United States with her.

I stopped my studies in Honduras. In May, I left my country for the United States. However, I became a prisoner in Mexico and was deported back to Honduras. A few months later, I left my country again. This time my father accompanied me and we managed to pass to the United States, thanks to God. Then I was able to be with my mother and meet my little sister, Genesis.

I have been in the United States for four months. I study at Patterson High School.

Although I feel better emotionally with my mother now, I would like to visit my country. I would like to see my grandparents and friends, who I miss very much. But then again, I want to come back to my mother and be with her.

I remember that in Honduras I joined the Evangelical and Reformed church. Here I have had the opportunity to find a similar church that now I go to.  Graduating from a university has been my goal since childhood, and I trust in God that it will happen.

Back to School Night brings smiles to Patterson faces

By Hailey Shifflett

Ms. Williams and the band as they are walking in to perform at Back to School Night (Photo: Patterson Press)

Patterson High held its 9th annual Back to School Night and Community Fair on September 26th from 5-8 pm in the school cafeteria. There were many things to do and many more things to see. From belly dancers to our own marching band’s performance, Back to School Night was a fun time.

Patterson has multiple groups and clubs that you can participate in during or after school. Back to School Night introduced students and their families to the teachers and organizers that host many different clubs. There were many tables for clubs like Art Club, the Student Government Association, the Patterson Press, etc along with a number of other groups from the community. Everyone who attended enjoyed Back to School Night, including some parents.

Ms. Ciera Garner, mother of Destiny Garner, remarked, “I love this Back to School Night. It is a lot of fun and I love how they have music too. My favorite event so far is the band performance.”

Not only parents enjoyed it, but students did too. Moussa Bombwe, a tenth grader, felt that Back to School Night was “good.” His favorite table was Soccer Without Borders, one of the groups that were featured at the event.

Some more clubs and groups at Patterson are SGA, run by Adam Sokolski, a social studies teacher, Roberta’s House, and Empowering Minds.
The SGA is the Student Government Association, The SGA’s goal is to teach student leadership, and to work with SGA all around Baltimore, and to work on teamwork skills. Also, in the past the SGA went to City Hall.

Roberta’s House is a family support group. They have multiple programs that help both parents and children for family loss (death, deportation, missing, etc.) Also, they help mothers with child loss (miscarriage, child died, etc.) They work here at Patterson and any student can join. Lastly, There is Empowering Minds. They are also a support group which has therapeutic counseling and talks to you about your problems, mental health, and many other things.

Mr Benton, Patterson’s principal, also shed light on what he thought about the Back to School Night. “I’m always excited about the Back to School Night. It doesn’t matter about the amount of people that come, but the smiles on their faces.”

His favorite event of the night was the band’s performance and the people enjoying the band’s performance as well. He’s appreciative for the adults that help out at Patterson and spend their own time with students to make new and exciting clubs. Mr. Benton loves all of the Back to School Nights because people showed up and had a good time and he is grateful for that.

Overall, Back to School Night was a good time. People had fun and enjoyed themselves. Some joined new clubs or met new people. Back to School Night was a way for the community to join together and forget, even for a second, the problems that might be going on in their lives. Their main focus was to just have a good time. And that is what Back to School Night is all about.

Our principal, Mr. Benton, showing that he is even having a good time (Photo: Patterson Press)

Refugee students from Congo adapt to life in Baltimore

Opening ceremony of new PNC headquarters in Goma

Congolese families fleeing their villages due to fighting between the government and rebels groups (Photo: MONUSCO/Sylvain Liechti)

By Asende Baele

At Patterson, there are refugee students from all over the world. Many of these students are from Congo, a country in central Africa.

The refugee students from Congo are coming to the United States because of they want a better life. In the Congo, they had a bad life: there was not enough food, they drank dirty water, and they did not have a good education. Their parents were farmers and they worked very hard to help them to pay for education, to buy food, and to pay for other basic necessities. If they were not plowing their fields all year they would not be able to buy anything. Wars have also been taking place in Congo and it is not safe to stay there. These are some of the reasons why young people from Congo are coming to United States.

One of the Congolese students, Luc Mtembezi, explains why he came to America. “I come here because in my country, my life–it was not a good one. I think it is important to me to be here. I needed education.”

Some people wonder why are all these refugees from different places  are coming to the United States. This is one of the reasons. But it is not easy to come to a new country and start over.

Nia Ramadhani, one of the refugees, explains the challenges she faced adapting to her new life as a student at Patterson: “My first day to come to school, I was so scared because it was my first day and I did not speak English. That was my problem, because some people come to ask me where I am from I was telling them, I don’t know. So right now I’m so excited that I speak English now.”

When refugees come here on the first day to go to school, it is hard for them to adapt or to understand. One of they English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teachers, Ms Avellaneda, works with these students after school with the Refugee Youth Project to help them make this difficult adjustment.

“I really enjoy working with my students from Congo.”, Ms. Avellaneda explained. “Despite the fact that they have experienced difficult situations and hardship as  refugees, including learning how to adapt to US culture and life, they are very motivated and work very hard to learn English. They inspire me to work hard and always do my best. They also have a great sense of humor!”

All the refugees from the Congo work really hard to improve their language and they focus in class because they need to see a better future than the one they would have had if they had stayed in their home country.

RYP students visit National Geographic Headquarters


Students who participate in RYP program with National Geographic staffs in Washington DC. (Photo: Ms. Kursten Pickup)

by Sartre Ndebaneza,

Students who participate in the Refugee Youth Project program went on a field trip to Washington DC on March 17 . The trip featured a tour of the headquarters of the National Geographic Society where students learned how experts in different fields use photos to express their messages.

National Geographic’s employees who work in the studio showed RYP students how they take some incredible pictures to illustrate ideas in magazines or to break down myths. One experience students benefited from was an explanation of the meaning behind a broken glass that contains water. The information that the broken glass with water gives is to tell people that the concept of drinking eight glasses of water a day is wrong. There is not any scientific proof that drinking eight glasses of water a day is beneficial.

After that, students took a tour of a building where they went to see the archives. Because all RYP students are from different countries, everyone got a chance to observe some historic photos taken in their countries. Another thing students got the opportunity to visit was National Geographic museum.

This field trip was a great experience for all the students who participated in it.


EDITORIAL: Immigration ban is illegal and wrong


Protest at BWI Airport Over Trump's Executive Order on Immigrants, Refugees. (By Deb Belt)

Protest at BWI Airport Over Trump’s Executive Order on Immigrants, Refugees. (By Deb Belt 0

By Sartre Ndebaneza and Amadou Bah,

Most Americans are questioning if President Trump’s executive order restricting immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries is legal or illegal. The order appears to be illegal because it puts limits on a particular group of people. Trump’s order is unconstitutional because it targets only one religion. The editors of the Patterson Press believe that everyone should be welcomed and treated fairly in the U.S. regardless of their religion, ethnicity and national origin. The beauty of the U.S. is its diversity. Immigrants also contribute a lot to America’s economy. What is still not understandable is why Trump kept people from those seven Muslim countries from re-entering the country when they were legal residents who already had green cards and had not done anything wrong.

Fear and miscommunication keeping ESOL students, native English speakers apart


ESOL Students siting separate from English speaking students in a World history class. (Photo: Sartre Ndebaneza)

By Sartre Ndebaneza,

Patterson High School is well known for its diversity of students from around the world. But students have developed a skeptical attitude toward each other which causes an strained relationship. ESOL students claim that they feel uncomfortable when they are with their classmates who are “English speakers”.

Mr. Tola is a teacher at Patterson High school. He has been a teacher since 2010. He used to teach English, History and United States Government and other ESOL programs. Mr. Tola has unveiled the beauty of Patterson students. According to Mr. Tola, “I think generally Patterson students are friendly and want to make new friends.” But a group of ESOL students I have talked with state that they feel apprehensive about going home in the same bus with their English speaking classmates because some of these students insult and bully them. One of them added that, “I don’t like to take class on the second floor,” referring to the fact that the second floor is where the English speaking students attend class.

Many teachers seem to believe that there has been a lot improvement on the issue of bullying at Patterson. Mr. Tola has said that, “we use to have that problem (bullying) here at Patterson” but that it is no longer as big of a problem as it once was. He explained that it was largely due to miscommunication. The English speaking students wanted to learn more about the culture of the ESOL students but did not know how to obtain this information. This led to anger and misconduct.  To restore a friendly relationship between the English speaking and the ESOL students and to help ESOL students feel welcome in the community, Mr. Tola suggests that all students join and participate in certain groups, such as PGC and the Refugee Youth Project (RYP), that connect students from different backgrounds. He also has encouraged all of the teachers to put their hearts and souls into making things better at Patterson.

ESOL students share their reflections

Teacher’s note: The following stories represent but a fraction of the mesmeric kaleidoscope that make up the diverse population here at Patterson High School. Take a moment to read these very touching personal narratives from students in Ms. K.’s class.


A Bittersweet American Dream

by Jessica Yupa

When I came to this country, everything was different: the people, the clothes, the food, everything! After two weeks in the United States, I said to my family that I wanted to go back to my country.  I missed my grandmother, and wanted to be with her.

My father said I could not go back to my country. He said I had to stay. He said this is the country where I can do something with my life—something that would make my grandmother proud of me.

I guess he was right, but two months after I came to the United States, and I told my father I wanted to go back home, my grandmother passed away. That was the worst experience I’ve ever had. That was my first horrible experience in the United States.

I never should have left my grandmother.




A Determined Immigrant

by Cindy Rivera

When I came to the United States, I was happy to see my mother after twelve years. But when I started school, I felt sad because I did not know anyone. Also, I did not know English.

I started to learn English, when I came to Patterson High School. It was hard, but the ESOL teachers are very good. I know English now, but I need to learn more.

Knowing English is very important, if I want to have a good future. I have many friends who were born in different countries; it is good to know about the lives of other immigrants. The people who come to this country are very strong. We have to be; otherwise, we cannot succeed.



Working Toward Realizing My Dream

by Karolain E. Rivera Paz

When I came to the United States, I had many problems. I spoke a different language. I didn’t understand English. When I started school, I put my effort to learning English and getting good grades.

My first year here was hard because of the different customs. Sometimes I found myself being discriminated against me just for being Latina and speaking Spanish.

Now, every day at school, I work really hard to get great grades and also to speak English. I want to be better each day and realize my dream of becoming doctor someday.



Getting Used This

by Duka Dhungana

When I came to the United States, I was so scared to talk to the American people. The people were new to me. I did not know anything about them. Even though we did not know one another, they were all nice to me. I did not have any bad experiences.

Things were different at school. The students were mean to me, because I could not speak English well. They used to bully me all the time. They used to treat me badly. Some were nice and some were rude. Now, I’m just used to it.



It’s All Good!

by Rixi Y. Fuentes Avila

I live with my family. I am lucky to have them. They are so nice to me. I am thankful for that. I have good things in my life here. Some things are not so good, but that is fine.

I like this country, because I can achieve my dreams here. I want to study so much. I want to go to the university. I can achieve so much here. That is good!


My Reflection

by Veronica Arana

I have never felt discriminated against by anyone here at Patterson High School. I always meet good people who try to help me. I am thankful to the students and the teachers, because they are all really awesome! The majority of teachers help me a lot. When I do not understand a word, they explain until I do. For me, Patterson High is a good school.

Also, I am happy to be here with my schoolmates. Sometimes when they don’t understand homework or class assignments, I help them. Helping people makes me happy. They try to learn something from. I learn from them. That is wonderful.

I did not speak English, when I came to the United States. Now, I can speak better than before. I learn more and more English, and I try my best. My goal is to graduate high school and become a Computer Technician. I want to make my parents proud of me.

5th Annual Patterson Community Fair Welcomes Students Back For Another Great Year

A student (right), Ms. K. O'Brien (formerly Flores), and Patterson Principal Vance Benton dance with a belly dancer (right) (Photo: Patterson Press)

A student (right), Ms. K. O’Brien (formerly Flores), and Patterson Principal Vance Benton dance with a belly dancer (right)
(Photo: Patterson Press)

By Valerie Flores

Patterson High hosted its 5th annual Community Fair on September 24, 2015, in the cafeteria to welcome new students and old students back for another great school year.

As always, there were so many people, from jobs like State Farm, to after-school programs that we have here at our school, like the J.R.O.T.C program. Several colleges came to visit our school, too. Towson University came to this great event to help students make it to college by providing information about their college, as did B.C.C.C.

Lauren Hepner from Art With a Heart said, “I never had this during my high school years. This is different and cool to bring people together, which is awesome for us because not many schools have any events like this.”

Ms. Mahoney, who has been a teacher for about 16 years, loves the event. She said it’s really nice to be part of the Patterson family because it creates events like these.

Ms. Dagostino also stated that the event is great because it gives her a chance to meet new members of the Patterson family.

Kendric Senior, a freshman this year, said he enjoyed the flamenco dancing (there has been a flamenco dancer at the event every year) and the group of students selling snow balls to support their club.

Michael Candelario, a junior, has been at Patterson since his freshman year. He said the school is diverse (Nepalis and other Asians, Hispanics, Whites, Blacks, Arabs, etc.) and he gets to see these people and meet new students at the event.

The Community Fair has become a cherished annual tradition at Patterson, drawing hundreds of students, parents and community members every year. It has even been copied by other schools in the city. If the success of this year’s fair is any indication, it is safe to assume that this remarkable event is not going away any time soon.






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