Room 128: A Classroom & Community

2021-22 Headlight Staff

2021-22 Headlight Staff

Sierra Donis (she/her), Editor

Ms. Patton lit up a classroom and taught in a way that reflected her personality, letting her students have complete creative freedom in a welcoming environment. A journalism program under her watch thrived on the belief that expressing passion through writing should be shared. Her lessons helped developall of her students as not only writers, but as people, creating a space of community and freedom of expression.

Teaching journalism, to Ms. Patton was her passion, and she created a classroom where my fellow staff members and I always found ourselves loved. “I think that was such a beautiful part of the class was it wasn’t sitting at your desk and raising your hand in class, you know, it was like sitting on a yoga ball, and just randomly like blurting out things,” said Julia Boboc, a former Headlight editor and student of Ms. Patton’s.

The class was a community of people who could openly share their ideas and speak without having the restraint of raising their hand; with complete free reign on expression within the classroom. Class conversations would last the entire class about music, ideas, movies, or anything students found interesting at the time.

Holiday parties, ice-breaker games, brainstorms every Friday, small group discus- sions, you name it, her journalism class felt like a family. And leaving this family, especially for students like Boboc, who was a senior last year, was extremely difficult. “I think that was really the moment [the last day of school last year] when it all just kind of felt like family,” said Boboc. “It was really emotional because we had spent so much time together and gone through so much together.” Her classroom was a space where we grew closer together as a community, and it was a safe haven created by Ms. Patton that was driven by, what Boboc referred to as “living room” conversation.

Ms. Patton always put her students above everything else, and always supported free expression, without feeling chained up in a regular classroom environment. “I don’t think it was ever about the work, it was always about us,” Boboc said. “She always put us first and she created these conversations. They weren’t conver- sations that were being graded, they weren’t conversations that we would have and then have a quiz on. It was just purely for the reason of speaking to each other and listening to each other.”

Ms. Patton felt like a friend to many, and would always help students who would be overwhelmed, or students who just wanted to push aside school and talk about what was on the top of their minds. If you ever needed someone to merely listen to you, her door was always open.

“I hadn’t really had a connection with a teacher like that ever before,” said Julia Neves, a junior and former English student of Ms. Patton. “I think just the fact that I could have fun with her, joke around with her like she was a friend, and that she was always there to support me, was really helpful.”

Having creative freedom in your own work is what made many passionate about her journalism class, and let people put character into their work. “You know, it’s for people who just like putting things out for the world to see,” said Boboc. “Whether that’s videos, writing, photography, drawing, whether it’s whatever, it’s just a place for creators to create.” If you wanted to write about something you were interested in, you could do it, and Ms. Patton always trusted you to deliver your own voice in writing.

Whether it was being able to express yourself in her classes, being able to choose what you want to write, or feeling like a part of a family within her journalism course, Ms. Patton always welcomed all students with open arms. Even though she is no longer with us, we will still carry on her memory by displaying what
she has taught us, which may be the form of writing, but also by being true to who we are and using our voices to speak out on things we hold a passion for. We are her legacy, and she will forever be remembered as someone who created a community for her students.