Category Archives: Science

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)

Ms. Ball makes engineering class fun and exciting

By Kayla Holeman

Ms. Ball and Mr. Yates won the Excellence Award at the Twenty-Second Annual Technology Education Excellence in Education Awards Program in February. (Photo: Ms. Ball/Mr. Yates)

We wanted to know more about engineering at Patterson High School and why should students take engineering classes so we interviewed the engineering teacher, Ms. Ball.

To me, engineering seems cool and fun. You learn a lot. I’m not even taking the class yet, but I will take it because I really like how it is. It seems interesting.

Engineering teacher Ms. Sharon Ball got inspired by luck because her recruiter from high school inspired her to get into engineering. She worked as an engineer on massive cruise ships and she loved it so she kept doing what she loves to do. Ms. Ball started working in the field of engineering 24 years ago.

In February, Ms. Ball and Mr. Yates received the Excellence Award at the Twenty-Second Annual Technology Education Excellence in Education Awards Program. Ms. Ball and her students have also won other prestigious awards over the last few years.

The engineering pathway has gone on a number of field trips, including visits to an engineering company, colleges, and a drum company. Ms. Ball loves to inspire students and to blow stuff up.

Ms. Ball’s advice is, “If you fall down to get back up.” I like this quote because you should never be scared to not get it right the first time. If you get it wrong, just keep trying; never give up. This is why I would like for engineering to be my pathway, because it’s just great in my opinion.

Ms. Ball seems like a nice, wonderful teacher and I can’t wait to have her and blow stuff up. If you have any questions about the engineering pathway at Patterson, then just go to Ms. Ball in 107, and she would be happy to answer anything you need about engineering. If you are into engineering, you should take this class because it seems pretty cool, going on trips and just learning new things. I would love to take this class next year. I can’t wait. It’s just going to be wonderful and if you are not sure what class to take but you want something like this, try it out because you are only going to know if you try.

Dante Wilds contributed to this article.

Remembering robotics coach, Kevin Boone

By John Dingzon

Mr. Kevin Boone, an engineering teacher and robotics coach from Digital Harbor High School, passed away in November 2018.

It was a very tragic of loss of one of the best engineering teachers in Maryland. Mr. Boone had been involved in the VEX robotics program since day one, when the program was first released here in Baltimore City.

Two of Mr. Boone’s former students for robotics at Digital Harbor High School, Peter and Isaiah, shared their feelings with the Patterson Press:  “We mourn for the loss of Mr. Boone, because he was like a father and a mentor to us and always looked after us. If he saw any errors, he would help and correct us.”

A lot of times Peter and Isaiah would stay after school or stay really late just to finish their robots and get ready for the Saturday competition and tournament.

Digital Harbor High School is currently postponing their participation in robotics competitions with other schools. It is unknown who is going to take Mr. Boone’s place as robotics coach.

Patterson engineering teacher Ms. Ball who was a close colleague and a friend of Mr. Boone. “I was devastated when I heard the news of his passing.”, Ms. Ball explained. “I had just seen him at the Digital Harbor High School VEX robotics competition on Saturday, and his passing was announced 4 days later on Wednesday. He was planning to visit Patterson to help my students with programming on the same day.”

Ms. Ball first met Mr. Boone in 2004 when our schools were competing in the first robotics competition.

The Baltimore City VEX Robotics Coordinator, Gino Tagaytay, held a special ceremony to honor the memory of Mr. Boone at the next VEX robotics competition at Patterson Park Public Charter School.

Personally, I first met Mr. Boone in 2015-2016. Ever since then, I have been working with him. Mr. Boone was an amazing engineering teacher. It is tragic losing someone like Mr. Boone who had been in the program since day one.

The only way we can honor Mr. Boone is to continue the competition all the way to the VEX Robotics tournament cup at Johns Hopkins University.

Mr. Boone helped Patterson teachers & students in all aspects of the VEX robotics program, from designing and building to programming and fundraising. He was always available to lend a helping hand.

We all started together back in 2004. He was one of the first teachers to engage in the VEX program and to offer workshops for new teachers interested in setting up a robotics program at their schools.

Prior to his retirement last year, he was teaching at Digital Harbor High School and served as the VEX Robotics Summer Training Instructor.

I’d like to think he and I were close professional colleagues. He was an incredible resource for Patterson High School. My students looked forward to working with him during the school year as well as the summer. He and I also hung out at “Beer & Bots” to learn about the latest “high-tech” gadgetry used for robotics. Talk about awesome–he even brought us donuts during the Saturday competitions.

Kevin Boone was an amazing person; kind; wonderful; generous (especially with his time). He was respected and admired by his peers, and quick to support his colleagues and his students. He will be greatly missed.

Amazon donates money to Patterson engineering department

By Moses Jeuronlon

The Patterson High School engineering department received a sum of $15,000 in support from Amazon on Friday, Nov. 30, 2018.

The students of the engineering pathway, Amazon staff, and a representative from the mayor’s office all gathered in Ms. Ball’s classroom to meet each other.

A representative from Amazon give a brief presentation on some of the things they do each and every day. He also talked about some of the opportunities and benefits Amazon has given him as well as some of the fun times he had working for them.

According to John Digzon, a member of the robotics club who participated in the Amazon event, “I am really relieved because with Amazon support we can buy more resources we need for projects”.

After the presentation, the group left Ms. Ball’s room and went to the robotics room where students presented the robots they have been working on. They also demonstrated some of the things their robots can do at the Vex robotics competition practice stage.

Building STEPS prepares students for college and careers

By Christian Pietrowski,

Building STEPS is a program that prepares students in Baltimore for college and careers with a focus on science and technology. I want to say thanks to everyone in Building STEPS and everyone that’s involved with the program. My journey through Building STEPS has been an experience of a lifetime, from climbing trees at Genesee Valley all the way to learning science, technology, and engineering and mathematics skills.

When I got the acceptance letter into Building STEPS at the end of my tenth grade year, I was so excited. I was excited because I knew I was going to get the help I needed to get into college. Believe it or not, before Building STEPS, I was shy and would not approach people for help and would not talk to people unless spoken to.  They made my confidence level go from zero to a hundred. Building STEPS has helped me overcome a lot of challenges. The main challenge I overcame was being put outside of my comfort zone. I learned how to talk to people I didn’t know, and learned how to appreciate working in groups instead of on my own.

Building STEPS has also helped me with the college process.  Without them, I probably would have pulled my hair out while I wrote my college applications.  They helped me write my college essays, which I didn’t think were good until my Building STEPS writing advisor helped me. I am extremely proud that I got accepted to more than one college. I would not have been able to do that without Building STEPS. Building STEPS has helped me get into colleges I would have never dreamed about being accepted to.

In the fall, I plan to attend Mount Saint Mary’s University. I am going to play college baseball and to study criminal justice so when I graduate college I can be in the FBI.

Building STEPS has taught me a valuable lesson in life, which is to never be afraid to leave your comfort zone and don’t be scared to ask for help if needed. Thanks to Building STEPS, I have made friendships with people that I know will last a lifetime.

Is keeping animals in zoos a good thing?

By Sartre Ndebaneza,

The San Diego Zoo contains animals from around the world, including this giant panda named Bai Yun. (Photo: Matthew Field)

The San Diego Zoo contains animals from around the world, including this giant panda named Bai Yun. (Photo: Matthew Field)

We are all familiar with taking a short walk in a park, visiting zoos, and even taking some food to feed those poor animals. How about giving your loved ones a visit to a Sea World show? How about protecting animals and providing them with good healthcare and feeding them? There are a lot of significant reasons to consider in order to keep these animals behind bars. But what is the purpose if we do all these things for our own interest?

It has been said that we need to protect the environment, but we still hear some leaders say that climate change is hoax. Big corporations polluted the air but noone can point fingers at them. Government agencies and private organizations seem to care about nature but many people do not. So why do we really keep animals in captivity?

First, people started the open parks for wild animals. Then, so sea animals were not left behind, people took them from their world in order to keep them in pools. Is pool water better than ocean water? Were the jungles where those zoo animals used to live worse than those little shelters people enclosed them in?

If you are a true world-saver think about this: An African elephant covers about 80 kilometers (around 50 miles) a day. Is there any comparison that we can make with these elephants locked in zoos? It is better to take care of animals and love them but why do we deny them the right to live naturally?

For instance, at the San Diego Zoo, trainers trained animals, including dolphins, to do tricks. Trainers make animals do tricks by rewarding them with food. It sounds good but this is a technique to change animals’ psychology, and when animals act differently trainers call it rebelling or bad behavior. We know that when those animals lived in jungles or in oceans they ate when they were hungry, not when they did tricks. And they got food by hunting, not by being fed by people’s hands. What would you do if you found out someone was changing your lifestyle in a way you don’t like?

There may sometimes be good reasons to keep animals in captivity, such as helping endangered species to breed, but most of the time wild animals are better off in their natural environment, not locked up for our entertainment.

Building over nature

By Marina Siebor,

For the longest time, we have been polluting the earth by making factories, littering and releasing toxic fumes into the air, which is harmful to humans and the earth.

Even when you think you’re doing the world some good by recycling, you still can’t escape the fact that your everyday uses are polluting the earth and nature around you. In the USA, littering is illegal. If a cop sees you in the act, you can receive a fine up to $500 and receive up to a year in jail.

All in all, we should stop littering because it’s bad for us and it’s bad for the earth.




Psychology with Mr. Baron



By Jessica Branch,

Psychology is the scientific study of the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting behavior in a given context. A Psychology class is being taught here at Patterson High School by Mr. Baron in room 216. Throughout the course, students learn the basic fundamentals of Psychology while digging deeper into the brain.

One of the most popular projects Mr. Baron has done with the class is called the ESP Project. ESP stands for Extrasensory Perception. ESP or Esper, also called sixth sense, includes reception of information not gained through the recognized physical senses but sensed with the mind. The project was a test to show students that some people may have the talent to read other people’s minds and to tell them things about themselves that they couldn’t have possibly known. It was also a well-liked project in the class because it was out of the ordinary.

Zeta team upset after STEM loss

The winning team at the STEM competition

The winning team at the 2016 STEM competition (Photo: Christian Pietrowski, Patterson Press)

By Alvaro Flores-Villegas,

Students competed in the 2016 STEM competition on November 11th. The STEM competition is an annual event at Patterson that involves challenges based mainly on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

Students from all cohorts were getting in their teams as they prepared for that day. One team called the Zeta team, which consisted of Amadou Bah, Edward Torres, Yamen Khalil, and Nan Wang declared that they were going to win 1st place in the whole competition. “I already had a spot to put the trophy in my room and dreamed to have my first STEM trophy before I graduate”, said Amadou Bah.

Yet at the end of the competition, the Zeta team did not win first, second or even third place. Rather than accepting the loss, Bah has accused Mr. Yates of rigging the competition. Mr. Yates is the main teacher in charge of organizing the STEM competition. Bah finds it difficult to believe that a younger, less experienced team could beat his team of seniors. He also points to the fact that the winning students were all students from Mr. Yates’ engineering class. Bah alleges that Mr. Yates showed favoritism by letting his own students win the competition. Edwin Torres, another member of the Zeta team, agrees with Bah. “When the winning teams were being rewarded, everyone was caught by surprise on who took first place”, Torres told the Patterson Press.

In response, Mr. Yates said, “the judges were volunteers from various Engineering or other STEM Businesses and Universities. I had no influence on their scoring; they simply followed the event instructions and rubric which all students had access to”. Mr. Yates pointed out that the STEM competition has a long history of upsets, including one year when a team of ninth graders beat all the upper grades.

“The STEM Competition is not about rote knowledge, but about creativity and applying STEM knowledge and skills in a new setting. So even inexperienced teams can bring their creativity and problem-solving skills to bear”, Mr. Yates explained. Unable to resist a little trash-talking, Mr. Yates added, “My students are the best; that is why they won! Unlike the [Presidential] election that same week, the STEM Competition was not rigged!”

In conclusion, I was really shocked myself when I competed in the competition and found out we were not the winners, but at the end of the day we had a good laugh and just accepted it. It was a close game after all!

The industry partners who served as judges during the STEM competition Photo: Christian Pietrowski, Patterson Press)

The industry partners who served as judges during the STEM competition Photo: Christian Pietrowski, Patterson Press)


(Photos: Christian Pietrowski, Patterson Press)

Interview with Ms. Ball about VEX Robotics Competition

A student works on his robot. (Photo: Patterson Press)

A student works on his robot. (Photo: Patterson Press)

By Brian Clark Jr.,

Below is an interview with Ms. Ball about the VEX Robotics Competition.

Patterson Press: Why do you do this competition for the students? 

Ms. Ball: The reason I do this competition for the students is to teach them problem solving, communication and programming skills. In addition to learning about engineering, students are able to interact with each other in a positive manner while applying Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) concepts.

Patterson Press: Who can participate?

Ms. Ball: Anyone can participate. We welcome students, parents, and staff.

Patterson Press: What made you want to start a Robotics Club in Patterson High School?

Ms. Ball: The reason I wanted to start a Robotics Club at Patterson High School is because at my old school, we had a VEX team and a FIRST Robotics team. So, when I came to Patterson, we were able to implement a VEX team with the resources we had. The students were able to engage the robotics concepts right away so the program grew.

Patterson Press: What do the students do with the skills they learn from the Robotics Club?

Ms. Ball: They use the skills to improve robot designs and to increase their gaming skills and/or to learn about engineering.

Patterson Press: Do any of the students go on to college to study robotics or engineering?

Ms. Ball: Yes. Several of the students in the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Engineering Program use robotics to get scholarships to pay for college. Last year, two PLTW students in the robotics club got over $170,000 in scholarship money. They both are studying engineering and computer science in college.

Patterson Press: How many students are on the robotics team?

Ms. Ball: Right now there are 15 students who come on a regular basis. A lot more are interested, but we don’t have the resources to support more students. Though students work in teams of two and three, at some point they should be able to build their own robots, not to just learn about the concepts. We are writing grants to fund our club, but until we get more resources we have to turn some students away.

Patterson Press: How many faculty members help with robotics?

Ms. Ball: Everybody at Patterson supports our robotics team, but currently only two teachers (Ms. Ball and Mr. Funk) runs the program. We would like to have more teachers attend the club meetings to help the students.


« Older Entries