Category Archives: Good Works

New Student Group Working Towards Positive Change

By Sierra Skaggs

As many readers may know, in the beginning of March we lost a fellow student due to gun violence. As a response to that tragedy, a group of students here at Patterson decided to form a group called Catalyst for Change.

The Patterson Press interviewed Christina Johnson, a senior who is a member of Catalyst for Change. At the time that we interviewed Johnson, there were 6 members in the group, but that number may have increased since then.

The students had a specific goal that they wanted to achieve when they created Catalyst for Change. 

“We created the group so students can have a voice, they can voice their problems, opinions, and be heard, and to show the cultural diversity of Patterson, and make a difference.”, explains Johnson.

According to Johnson, the group has consensus-based process for making decisions.

“We voice our concerns about the school and we come up with different ideas, brainstorming, and we each come up with a mutual agreement.” 

Catalyst for Change held a Culture Day event on April 27 to celebrate the cultural diversity of Patterson High School, which is the most diverse high school in Baltimore City. Principal Myrick called the event “phenomenal” and expressed her appreciation for the student organizers who “have been working consistently for six weeks to put their vision into reality”.

Many students and staff members are hopeful that Catalyst for Change will continue to be a force for positive transformation at Patterson next school year.

Patterson teachers sacrifice their personal time to support students

By Ekei Obu, Editor-in-chief

Patterson High School is known to be one of the most diverse schools in Baltimore City. The school also offers a lot of after-school activities and different interests in extracurricular activities during and after school hours as well. 

I interviewed a couple of teachers to hear about their sacrifice for the school and why they are so dedicated to the school. All the teachers had one thing in common: they all sacrificed their time for the school and the students. 

Mrs. Torregoza believes that students and young people deserve a bright future. She said, “Students here can decide what they want to be and I believe that there should be people to guide them, and I want to be one of those people.” 

Mrs. T said, “I have faith in the students,” and that’s why she gives up her time after school regardless of not getting paid for the time. Mrs. T expressed her sadness about the students not taking advantage of the resources the school provides because she understands that in other places students don’t have the opportunity and resources for education.

Most teachers go as far as decorating their classrooms to provide a serene environment for their students. Some teachers even provide different options for snacks in their classes. Most teachers I’ve interviewed give up personal time to attend games, musical performances, and other activities because they want to show their support to their students.

Mr. Michael McCormick, better known to his students as “Mr. Mike”, explained that “people don’t become teachers for the salary; it’s a calling,”

Mr. Mike is one of the many teachers that provide not only a safe space for students but also emotional support and snacks. “I believe my unidentified role in Patterson is to provide a safe space. A space where students feel welcomed, safe, and empowered to be their authentic selves. I believe that when students are in a safe environment it allows them to be their greater self,” Mr. Mike said.

Teachers and school staff sometimes stay at school late into the evening, planning and preparing, and in many cases they’re not paid for it. 

Biology teacher, Mr. Antoine, believes that it is his job to build a bridge for students so they don’t have to start from scratch to achieve their goals in life. To prepare for last year’s winter holiday show, teachers spent several days planning and setting up. 

Teachers at Patterson are so passionate about their jobs despite some students’ negative attitudes toward them because they simply want the best for the students. 

Patterson raises money for hurricane victims

By Sierra Skaggs

Patterson High School held a water drive to raise money to buy water for hurricane victims in Jackson, Mississippi. The water drive started in late September/beginning of October and was originally supposed to end on the 28th of October, but it was later extended into November. In the end, the school raised $1,000.00.

Assistant Principal Ms. Berkeley was in charge of the water drive. 

“I wish that we could help everybody. But we chose Jackson because they were hit first.”, explained Ms. Berkeley.

“We had as a group decided on Jackson. And I felt like we needed to keep our word when we said we were going to support Jackson because the other areas were impacted but it did not take away Jackson’s need. Jackson still needed help and I wish we had money to do Florida and all of the islands that were also affected. But we wanted to keep our word since we said we were going to support Jackson.”

Ms. Berkeley explained that the money was going to a business that will deliver the water for them. She continued to explain that the water was expensive to deliver because of how heavy it is, and so instead of shipping the water from Baltimore, we are sending the money to a business in Jackson, Mississippi, that will deliver the water locally to people in need.

Students who helped raise money for the water drive could also earn service learning hours.

“There was no a maximum number [of service learning hours]. We wanted students to reach out to their families, reach out to the community, to their churches, to their neighbors, anyone that they would make aware of this situation, and donate to the cause. So if students were diligent enough to the outreach, we certainty want to reward them for being diligent and committing to the cause.” 

Since students were engaged in this outreach, the rewards that they got were 5 service hours for each 5 dollar case that they donated. For example, if a student donated 5 cases of water, they would receive 25 service hours.

“We were trying to do enough pallets of water that would fill a tractor trailer truck because we recognized that the need is great. If you think about all the needs for water, trying to do dishes, or trying to take a bath, or wash yourself, or your pet… There are so many needs for water. For cooking, washing your hair, and you can’t use the water there, so we wanted to make a great impact, so we wanted to do a tractor trailer load of water.”

Ms. Berkeley explained how much water they wanted to donate and why. She also explained the needs of water and how important water is.

Patterson High School hosted a cohort meeting on October 27th to decide if they wanted to continue the water drive. The students agreed to continue the water drive to help raise more money, so they extended the water drive for 2 more weeks.

“The fundraiser was supposed to end on the 28th of October, but yesterday during the cohort meeting, we asked students that have not had a chance to contribute to the cause, if they wanted to continue, and a lot of students said yes. So we are extending for another 2 weeks.” 

The water drive was an amazing way for students to show that they care about the needs of other people. It was also an amazing way for students to show their Patterson Pride. GO CLIPPERS! 

Back to School Night brings families together 

(Photo: Patterson Press)

By Nateshia Anderson

Patterson High School held its annual Back to School Night on September 22 from 5:00-7:00 PM. The purpose of this event was for the parents and families of students to meet the teachers and the community and learn about opportunities that were offered to their children.

The school provided free snowballs for everybody. A lot of people had fun. We talked to teachers at the event to find out how they help the students learn.

Ms. Jones said, “Give them extra attention, adjust my lessons so that each child is able to reach them and able to understand the material, make sure that I also pair them up with a buddy in the classroom… When they need some additional help, I can give them additional resources like…Khan Academy…”

Patterson High School is a place where students can come and talk to teachers and find out who they truly are.

“I can create an environment that feels safe and nurturing”, said Mr. Mike.

Administrators were also there, like Ms. Edler, who explained, “The first thing is I believe in holding students accountable and also supporting them in that accountability. Also, we present opportunities like college visits. However, students must be in full uniforms and they must be in school on time and be able to attend those visits.”

All in all, Back To School Night was a successful event where everybody came out and helped their children’s futures. 

(Photos: Patterson Press)

Grant A Wish program funds school projects

By Eloisa Perez

Patterson High School has a program called Grant A Wish, where teachers sell merchandise and hold social events to make money to buy some things they need for their classes.

“I started the group because I was already running some grants for different things I needed and some one told me to start a group”, explained Mrs. Kelly Hope, one of the founders of the program.

Teachers who are involved in the program include Ms. Brett, Mrs. Hope, Mr. Frederick, Mrs. Stiles, Ms. Williams, Ms. Avellaneda, Mrs. Blankenfeld, and Ms. Mahoney. All of these teachers are glad that Mrs. Hope started the program, because every year the budget gets smaller and smaller and Mr. Benton has to make the hardest choices around February when it is budget time; for example: either to hire a science teacher or pay for something else.

Mrs. Hope described the process to apply for Grant A Wish money. “Teachers would fill out a form which has basic questions like how much money you need and how will it benefit your students. Then they will give the form to me or one of the other teachers in the program. Then we have a meeting on whether we should give them the money or not.”

If you would like to join the Grant A Wish committee, you would have to be 22 or older, but if you are not old enough to join, you can tell your parents or other people you know who are 22 and up. What younger people can do is buy tickets, promote or donate to help out with the program.

Jonathan Ogden Club gives back

By Brionica Jackson

Patterson High School’s Jonathan Ogden Club continues to give positively to the community by putting smiles on the faces of children, people in need and the elderly while also having fun.

On Dec. 18, 2018, the club went out and gave blankets to the homeless on that cold day. The students not only gave out one blanket to each person like they intended to, but actually gave out multiple blankets to those in need. They also gave out well-packed lunch bags.

“When we live in the ‘best country’, it is sad to see people without a home. It saddens me to see people suffer. “, said Luther Hahn, 2019 Valedictorian and co-President of the Johnathan Ogden Club. It is sad for anyone to see or experience but it warms the hearts of people receiving and giving back.

The Jonathan Ogden Club performs many different community services like bringing gifts to children. “Kids might not get Christmas gifts at home and the one we give them might mean a lot”, Hahn explained. Touching hearts of such little children could cause change in that child’s behavior or mindset and give them hope for the future.

“Thanks to Luther Hahn and his amazing SAT and Grade Point Average of 5.2, we are now taking a trip to our first Ivy League school!”, Coach Kelley exclaimed.

In April, the club will be able to take an out-of-state trip to Princeton University in New Jersey. Students will take a coach bus to the college and spend the day exploring the Number One college. This will be the first time in all 20 years of the Jonathan Ogden Club they will be taking a trip this big. Hard work pays off!

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.

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.

New student group brings different cultures together to solve school problems

By Natasha Abrev-Moran,

There is a new group in Patterson High School called SPIRIT.  This group started on October 16, 2016 with about 60 students involved.  The meaning of SPIRIT is Students Problem Idea Resolution of Issues Together.  The purpose of this group is to bring different cultures together to find out the concerns they all have and find resolutions.

The  sponsors of this group are CASA de Maryland and Jamya Ceisa de Maryland. In the group, students are the leaders who talk about their concerns. These concerns involved school safety. They advocated for more security and fixing the alarm detectors. This issue was brought up to the principal who took action by hiring new security staff and stating he would look into resolving the detector problem.

Another issue many students are concerned about is safety before and after school. “Most students fear for their safety while on the bus. Thanks to the SPIRIT group, they will be working on fixing that and pushing to have a positive outcome,” said Margot Harris, ESOL department head.

SPIRIT meetings occur once a month, usually after school or during lunches in room 315. If you have any concerns or wish to join feel free to speak with Ms. Harris.

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