Last week, Patterson High School and the surrounding community got a hand—a very large hand—when former Raven Jonathan Ogden stopped by with Jonathan Bradley of the Cristata Cares foundation to open the Jonathan Ogden and Cristata Cares Community Center on the school premises.
“Thank you thank you to Jonathan [Ogden] and Mr. Bradley of Cristata Cares. Thank you to you all for this opportunity to engage the community,” said Patterson High School principal Vance Benton at the ribbon-cutting ceremony last Wednesday.
Also present was 1st District Councilman Jim Kraft.
The center represents a commitment from the school to students’ families and the surrounding community, according to Patterson High spokesperson Will Smith. Computer and internet access is available for those seeking a job or learning technology.
Smith said the center will also be a meeting place for family nights, financial literacy classes, and job readiness trainings.
The Jonathan Ogden Foundation was established by Ogden himself in 1996 to promote students’ self esteem through athletics and academic achievement. Patterson High School emerged as a major focus of the foundation, and the Jonathan Ogden Club was established at the school in the late 1990s for student-athletes who maintain a GPA of 3.25 or higher. Incentives for academic success include tickets to Ravens games, meet-and-greets with players, and an annual party and tour of the Ravens facility.
Cristata Cares is also a non-profit organization, with the goal of mentoring local youth in areas such as the sciences, English as a second language, literacy, and healthy lifestyle practices. Like the Jonathan Ogden Foundation, Crista Cares works closely with Patterson High School.
Following the ribbon-cutting, Kraft and other city officials toured Patterson High School. Principal Benton highlighted the “Clipper Corner,” the new school store named by students.
“We wanted to give the children and staff some connections to the school,” he said.
Benton emphasized Patterson’s “career and college” focus, and its Career and Technical Education program.
“Our CTE program is what is going to drive this school,” he said. “It’s our goal for our students to leave not only with a diploma, but with an area certification—a license to say ‘I can do this work, pay me for it.’”
Students earn certifications that allow them to work in various fields. Patterson has training for students looking to work as Certified Nursing Assistants, emergency medical technicians, pharmacy technicians, nail technicians (cosmetology), business administrators, accountants, childcare providers, and law specialists.
“We also want them to get their entrance requirements to the University of Maryland,” said Paula Matthews, CTE Staff Developer at Patterson.
by Erik Zygmont