Category Archives: Health

How the pandemic is affecting teenagers

By Meylin Diaz

The coronavirus that is known as COVID-19 is affecting teenagers in different ways, both emotional and physical. Coronavirus is also affecting families and those students that need special classes. Schools perform a lot of functions that go far beyond education. Schools provide a safe haven for students but also a social setting and for families with students with special needs, offering educational support.

Online learning in comparison is not the same as learning in a school.

“Online classes are different from regular school in that you are not physically present with other individuals apart from the class”, explains Mr. Benton, the principal of Patterson High School.

“Patterson is doing all that a school could or should do at this time. We are providing students a continuation of their education and have provided food and technology support to approximately 200 families”.

Patterson staff and students handed out food donations to hundreds of families. (Photo: Patterson High School)

During this quarantine, I feel stressed out and sad because I miss my regular life when I used to help others like my classmates. I miss my friends and being outside breathing fresh air. This pandemic has made me see that in these moments we have to be together as families but also as society and help one another because we can make this pandemic end if we stay at home and take the precautions that have been indicated. This is a great time to take stock of the things that we are doing to separate our families. My life will never be the same after this pandemic because I will take advantage of every moment in my life like that one will be the last one and take every opportunity that comes to my life.

Some other Patterson students also shared their feelings about the quarantine.

Ester Mumbala said, “This situation is making me feel sad, lonely and stressed out. I miss having a lot of fun with my friends like playing around every time. This experience has changed me by staying in one place and being alone. I think next school year will be very different.”

However, not all students are upset about the quarantine. Alexandra Artiga actually enjoys spending more time at home.

“This may be insensitive but I feel great. I finally get to stay home and spend all day with my animals and I always wanted online school classes. Now I don’t have a reason to go outside”.

At the same time, Alexandra is worried for other people who may be at risk. “What makes me upset is the people who still persist to go outside and put my mother’s life in danger when she goes to work and that terrifies me because she can get sick and I can even lose her forever.”

Some students said that they are feeling isolated during this time.

 “During this pandemic I feel isolated because everything is closed so there is nothing to do and I’m not able to go places”, said Shawn Greene. “This pandemic has made me see that this world could come to an end because I never thought this was ever going to happen and this is separating families.”

Ms. Randolph-Seward is a staff member at Patterson High School who helps students with their social and emotional well-being. “I think that social isolation not only affects the mental health of teenagers, but it affects the mental health of all people”, Ms. Randolph explained. “This social isolation is not by choice, but by circumstances and government decisions. This social isolation creates feelings of loss, loneliness, depression, and the inability to control what was once simple/accessible, which allowed us to pick the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, and HOW for our lives”.

Mr. Benton has some advice for how students can deal with negative emotions they might be feeling:

“Students can practice the things they’ve been hearing during our Mindful Moment time. Now is the time to use what has been provided- for times like these!”

When asked if he thought that things will ever return to the way it was before, Mr. Benton responded: “Things will never be the same after this pandemic because things aren’t meant to be the same. Change is the only constant, so it should be embraced.”

We are all doing our best to get through this crisis. Let’s stay safe and support one another so we can look forward to seeing each other again when the pandemic is over.

School Stress

by Hailey Shifflett

Have you ever felt stressed and you couldn’t talk to anyone about it? You are not alone. Everyone at some point in their life will be stressed about something and/or someone.

Students in high school can feel many sources of stress. From school work to relationship issues it can put a hold on anyone. Sure, we don’t have to pay bills or have a full time job, but students can deal with a lot too.

According to the website, five main things that can cause stress to a teenager are school work, parents, friends’ problems, romantic relationships, and drugs in the neighborhood.

A ninth grader here, Anallely Santos Velazquez, said, “I feel okay about school; it is just the work in most classes that stresses me out.”

Also, Angelina Anderson, another ninth grader, remarked, ” School isn’t that bad; I just don’t like waking up in the morning. But what stresses me out is not getting work, assessments, done on time or just not getting work done.”

There are many problems that come along with stress. Many symptoms can take a toll on your mental health and body, including upset stomach, chest pain, fatigue, headaches, etc. Also, you can develop anxiety and depression, restlessness and the feeling of being overwhelmed. (Source:

Patterson has many many counselors, social workers or psychologists that you can come to so you can talk to them. Whether you’re feeling stressed or need anything else, you can come to them. One of the psychologist that is in Patterson is Ms. Gaither. She gave us some advice on how to deal with stress or what causes it in the first place.

“Well, to know what causes stress you have to know what it is. It is like anxiety; an alarm system. That is what anxiety is usually is. Many things can cause stress. Typically school, since we are in school, but there can be other factors like family stress or it could be biologically because everyone is different so stress might be different.”

So, many things can cause stress, but you can also be stressed on things that are home related, taking care of siblings, parents, chores, etc. Also, some students have jobs, so now they have more worries on their plate. But Ms. Gaither also gave us some advice on how to deal with stress.

“You can face your fears. For example if someone doesn’t like science, they will try to avoid it, but you’re going have to go to science at some point. So if you face your fear, it can be a stress reliever. You can go to coach class, ask for help or anything at all. It is about overcoming those barriers. You can talk to someone, like myself, teachers or other social workers. Talk to someone you trust. You can exercise, working on your mind and physical health.”

Those are some ways you can overcome stress.

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)

Patterson teacher participates in suicide prevention walk

By Dasia Whitfield

Every year in Baltimore people walk to spread awareness and raise money to prevent suicide. This year’s walk took place at the Inner Harbor.

The walk, called Out of the Darkness, focuses on every age group from teenagers to senior citizens. About 1000 people were at this year’s walk. The awareness walk helps people who have lost people because of suicide or who have struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts themselves. The walk helps people to feel comfortable talking to other people about what they are dealing with when they realize that they are not in it alone.

Ms. Marchewka, an art teacher at Patterson High School who participated in the walk, says that “the walk at the harbor brings awareness to people, it lets people come out and talk about their issues or experience and not be shameful”.

The website AFSP explains that suicide claims more lives than war, murder, and natural disasters combined. Yet suicide prevention doesn’t receive anywhere near the funding as other leading causes of death. It’s up to us to make a difference.

According to Ms. Marchewka, the experience is very uplifting. You should consider going next time if you believe in the cause. I would recommend the awareness walk to anybody, especially to the people that are actually going through the situation so they can be more comfortable talking about it. I would have them surrounded by people that could relate to them and have empathy.

Ms. Marchewka participates in the awareness walk every year because she has been around and witnessed situations that have occurred and she can relate because of the fact that she has lost many people in her family due to suicide. She also knows people that have dealt with anxiety and depression.

I think coming up with the awareness walk was a good idea because we never know what people go through and or how they feel, and this walk could really help a person and give them that positive idea and see things on the brighter side. This walk can open the eyes of a lot of people.

Texting and driving kills

By Dasia Whitfield

Texting and driving is becoming a bigger problem everyday. Texting and driving is a
problem because people are dying every day because of this issue. Phones are becoming a big distraction.

Mr. Casey, an EMT teacher at Patterson, knows about texting and driving because he has to deal with accidents. “It’s a huge problem. People that text and drive should get the
same treatment as people that drink and drive”, says Mr.Casey.

When you are driving, you should never pick up the phone, because no matter what it is, it can wait. Distracted driving causes 15% of injury crashes. Nearly 400,000 people were injured in distracted driving incidents in 2015. These statics come from Teen Safe, a website that helps parents keep their kids safe.

All generations are affected by texting and driving. “No age group specifically, but everybody is affected. Everybody wants to be kept up to date. People do not have patience”,  explains Mr.Casey.

This issue can be fixed if everybody stops picking up the phone when they get a message or to change the music. Everybody has to be considerate and think about others
before picking up the phone and also thinking about themselves and how many lives can be taken away by texting and driving.

Patterson joins rally at City Council for banning styrofoam

(Photo: Ms. Hope)

(Photo: Ms. Hope)

By John Dingzon

Ms. Hope took at least two Patterson students with her to a rally at a meeting of the Baltimore City Council on March 9, 2017.  City Councilor Zeke Cohen and the committee urged the citizens of  Baltimore City to work with a group called B-more Beyond Plastics (BBP) to ban Styrofoam because Styrofoam has affected the community of Baltimore City over the course of the years. Many of the City Council, committee, and the citizens of Baltimore City rallied in Annapolis to support the efforts to ban Styrofoam in Annapolis. 1st district Councilman Zeke Cohen said, “Talk to your city district representative and they will also take this fight to the Annapolis.” This led to the Baltimore City Council signing a resolution to support the bill in Annapolis.

B-more Beyond Plastics is a youth led organization fighting to advance public health, environmental advocacy, and legislation to change the world. They have two current missions. The missions are to ban or tax plastic bags in Baltimore and ban Styrofoam in Maryland. A bill to ban Styrofoam was introduced in both the House of Delegates and State Senate this past session. B-more Beyond Plastics testified for both committees. Unfortunately, the bill was not passed. It has been suggested that BBP should gather more information to improve the bill.  

City Councilman 1st district Councilman Zeke Cohen was there along with City Councils and  representatives from several other districts. They participated in the rally and they wanted to urge and pass a bill on to the  Annapolis so they can banned Styrofoam. In his speech, Councilman Cohen said, “We will get this bill passed. If successful in Annapolis, then we will also pass it to other states too.” Cohen represents the district that Patterson High School is in. Students and teachers from a lot of other City schools also came to the rally to protest the use of Styrofoam.

Many of students and teachers wanted to banned Styrofoam because of how it has impacted the environment. Styrofoam harms the environment, and is also piling up in the streets and outside the school districts. Many people would want to use different materials instead of Styrofoam, such as plate metal, and glass plates.

There are 3 million tons of plastic produced every year. 2.3 million tons of that plastic end up in landfills. It takes 500 years for plastic to break down. Plastic that does not reach the landfill can be found littering our neighborhoods and watersheds. Plastic is lethal to marine organisms. 50% of sea turtles have ingested plastic. Also plastic contains toxins such as benzene and polystyrene that are harmful to humans. 

So what can we do? We can use biodegradable foam or plant based products when eating, shopping, shipping, and at home. That means instead of using styrofoam, use paper plates, paper bags at the market, paper board egg cartoons, etc., or better yet, use reusable bags and dishware that don’t need to be disposed of at all.

With files from Ms. Hope.

(Photos: Ms. Hope)

Investigating Patterson’s rodent problem

Photo: National Institutes of Health (public domain)

By Christian Pietrowski, Lionell Green and Jessica Branch,

Patterson is known for the roaches and mice that can be found all throughout the school. A lot of classrooms have mice living in the walls and sometimes during the day they make an appearance. So why does Patterson have this rodent and insect problem if the janitors clean every day–both after the students leave and during the day?

Ms.Rivera, head custodian at Patterson High, told the Patterson Press, ”I honestly have no clue why there is a rodent problem in Patterson because I work like crazy and so do the other custodians.”

Morgan McCafity, a senior at Patterson High, said, ”The rodent problem is sad and scary.” She doesn’t want rodents running across her feet when they could possibly have a disease.

Honestly, the rodent problem at Patterson is sad because Patterson is a really nice school and is actually cleaned on a regular basis. So if Patterson is cleaned regularly, why is there a rodent problem? To discover he answer to this question, we went around the school and asked questions to random students and teachers in school. Here are the questions we asked and a random sample of some of the answers we received:

  1. Why is Patterson so dirty? (Because students leave trash everywhere, not caring about trashcans.)
  2. Why are there so many rodents in Patterson? (They are smart creatures and they find their way in no matter what.)
  3. If the custodians clean, WHY is it so dirty? (Because students throw trash wherever they can and whenever they can even if there is a trashcan 5 feet away.)
  4. What makes Patterson so dirty? (The students.)
  5. Why haven’t we gotten an exterminator? (We have a couple times but it doesn’t work.)
  6. Where are they coming from? (The outside of the school.)
  7. Why haven’t we stopped this? (Patterson has tried numerous times.)
  8. What is causing the rodents to come out? (The cold and the trash and food crumbs that are on the ground.)
  9. How many rodents have you seen in a day? (About 8 or 10.)
  10. How can we stop them from coming in? (Block all the small holes and ways that they come in.)

As an experiment, two of us walked around the school to see how many mice and rodents we could each find in just 5 minutes (for a combined total of 10 minutes between the two reporters). Here is what we found, broken down minute by minute:

pietrowski- Lionell-Branch (1)

All in all, Patterson has a really bad rodent problem. Patterson might be one of the worst schools with a rodent problem. Part of the problem is because the school has small holes in the floors and walls and the animals are small so they can come in through the holes. The custodians clean as often as they can, but as long as students continue to throw trash everywhere the rodent problem will not get any better.

Mindful Moment Interview and Update

Kirk Intlekofer is one of the Mindful Moment staff members at Patterson. (Photo: Patterson Press)

Kirk Intlekofer is one of the Mindful Moment staff members at Patterson. (Photo: Patterson Press)

By Christian Pietrowski,

I interviewed four staff members that work for the Holistic Life Institute’s Mindful Moment program at Patterson High School and this is what they said.

Patterson Press: When did you start working for the Mindful Moment program?

Ross: I started 3 years ago.

Lloyd: This is actually my first year with the Holistic Life Foundation.

Diana: July of 2016.

Kirk: I started 5 years ago.


Patterson Press: Do you enjoy the program?

Ross: It doesn’t feel like a job and I love interacting with the kids.

Lloyd: I enjoy it and love keeping yoga alive.

Diana: I love it. It has a lot of cool and fun things that come with it.

Kirk: Yes, I love the program.


Patterson Press: What is your favorite thing about the program?

Ross: Getting to relax and also to be able to stay calm in stressful situations

Lloyd: Getting good feedback from students and getting good results

Diana: Interacting with individual students and connecting on a personal level with them

Kirk: The discussions with the kids


Patterson Press: What do you hope to change in teens and young adults?

Ross: I wish for teens to have an open mind and to foresee things.

Lloyd: Help lift inner-city people and to bring more of a positive vibe

Diana: That they incorporate these skills into their daily life

Kirk: for teens and young adults and even kids to develop a greater self awareness


Patterson Press: What would you suggest for someone stressing?

Lloyd: Take time out of your life to try the program and to try options and don’t go straight to violence.


Patterson Press: What do you wish to tell people about the program?

Diana: We open our doors to everybody, students and everyone in the Patterson community.

Kirk: Our doors are open to help anyone stressing out and that is in need.

The Patterson Press would like to thank the Mindful Moment staff for taking the time to talk to us.


An update from the Mindful Moment staff:

The Holistic Life Foundation’s Mindful Moment Room is located in classroom 103A. HLF is a Baltimore-based 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization committed to nurturing the wellness of children, teens, and adults in underserved communities. Through a comprehensive approach we help develop their inner lives through yoga, mindfulness, and self-care. HLF demonstrates a deep commitment to learning, community, and stewardship of the environment and is also committed to developing high-quality, evidence based, curriculum that focuses on helping to improve the well-being of the community as a whole.

The Mindful Moment (MM) staff hosts daily classes in the MM room (103A). The staff will also visit classrooms to enhance the daily schedule with short sessions, usually involving breathing exercises, seated movement and mindful reflection. With practice, these exercises can help to improve focus and attention, which are both keys to success.

Students having problems, including emotional issues, should be referred to the MM Room by a member of the faculty. However each student must have a referral form, signed by a teacher and an administrator and these forms are located in the Main Office.

MM is looking for all students interested in joining the Mindful Moment Ambassadors program. These students should visit the MM Room during lunch hours, or free periods, for details. Ambassadors will be trained to teach techniques that are used every day, including yoga,mindful reflection and breathing exercises. We asked one of our ambassadors, Chris Bowman, “What is mindfulness to you?”. His response: “Mindfulness is my escape from the clutter of the busy world.”

We have additional roles for students as well. Anyone interested in earning community service hours by helping us with many activities should stop by and talk with a MM staff member about expectations and incentives.

CNA students promote breast cancer awareness

Cancer Awareness Booth (Photo: Mikal McCoy, Patterson Press)

CNA students sponsored a breast cancer awareness booth (Photo: Mikal McCoy, Patterson Press)

 By Mikal McCoy,

Students from Patterson High School’s Certified Nursing Assistants CTE pathway promoted breast cancer awareness in October by holding a fundraiser and educating their fellow students.

Breast cancer is a nationwide problem. A large group of people, mostly women, some men, are affected by breast cancer. Every year over 200,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and people across the country, including here at Patterson, are raising awareness about breast cancer, an abnormal growth of cells in the breast area.

Students who are a part of the CNA pathway walked around the school selling items, near the cafeteria, such as hats, pencils, pens and bracelets, which cost five dollars. The proceeds of these sales went to fund breast cancer research. Students also educated the Patterson community about breast cancer awareness.

“I think everyone should take part in the awareness movement; it could prevent people from getting breast cancer”, said Marina Siebor, a student at Patterson. Students have been supporting the CNA students’ efforts to raise awareness about breast cancer by listening to them speak and purchasing and wearing items that represent breast cancer awareness.

Breast cancer is a serious issue that affects us all. Taking small steps can help prevent breast cancer. Developing and maintaining a healthy diet can help prevent breast cancer and other harmful illnesses. Water, fruit, vegetables and other nutritious foods are all ingredients that support the body by building up its defense system. Another way to help prevent breast cancer is to get regular check-ups by a doctor who specializes in that particular area. “Early detection is the best prevention”, said Ms. Wongus, a teacher at Patterson.

Showing support, maintaining a healthy diet, and having regular check-ups are small steps to defeating breast cancer.

Parent Life Club Provides Support For Teen Parents

By Dabria Brown & Joselin Miranda,

Are you a new parent or expecting to become a new parent? If you’re having problems or need help or support with your child, there’s a group called Parent Life that can help. Parent Life is a group that helps and gives you advice with your child. They help you set goals, they talk about self-awareness, etc. If you might need help with anything like providing for your child, they’re there. One call and they’re on their way.

Parent Life meets every Thursday from 12-1 pm in room 206. In Parent Life, fathers and mothers who go to school attend the meetings when they feel they want to; it’s not mandatory. If you’re an expecting parent or already a parent, you can attend. It helps you get through whatever you are experiencing. They’re there to support and give advice. Some people may be shy or uncomfortable talking in front of others, but everyone is nice and understanding. Parent Life is part of a bigger project that involves people outside of Patterson High School. Ms. Hope is the advisor for Patterson and she helps out with the girls inside this school. The person who came up with this club does not work at Patterson.

Editor’s note: below is Joselin Miranda’s personal perspective

In the meetings, we talk about things people feel they need to know about their baby and the growing stages. They always provide snacks to the people attending the meeting. When attending the meetings, you get to know people who are teenage parents just like myself and go through the same thing as me. I learned many things from the meetings I’ve attended: we talk about how babies grow, how they may feel at their age, and what things they should be doing in their months. The adults in the room always make you feel welcome and at ease when they’re around. They never judge you by the decisions you make.

The members always make dates with the babies and the parents when out of school: for example, going to the park and having a picnic and going to places to get items needed for the baby. When being a young parent in school, it may be hard and tiring, but attending the meetings makes you less stressed out during the day. Whenever I need someone to talk to or help, I always have the number from the group leaders; I can text any time and they answer the questions I have.

For more information about Parent Life, talk to Ms. Hope in Room 206.

« Older Entries