Ups and Downs Of the Holiday Season

In+the+main+office%2C+staff+has+put+up+a+Christmas+tree+and+gifts+are+to+show+that+kids+are+not+alone+to+celebrate.+

Tatyana Seay

In the main office, staff has put up a Christmas tree and gifts are to show that kids are not alone to celebrate.

Tatyana Seay, Staff Writer

When we think about the holidays, it’s not always positive for all of our students. Some face challenges that people rarely know about.

Counselor Ms. Alysia Patterson explained that the holidays can be a big trigger for a number of students. “Students come in with this invisible backpack…the backpack that holds personal problems,” Ms. Patterson said.

Some of those backpack items can include losing a parent, struggling with adolescence, feeling discomfort in their own skin, experiencing racial tension, questioning gender identity, struggling with immigration issues, and worrying about everything that makes them different. Some of our students may be caught up in if they will get judged or bullied when coming to school. That can cause stress in numerous ways.

“What I think that would be helpful is every now and then we step away from academics and maybe spend some time on building rapport with students,” Ms. Patterson said.

Others may be upset by thinking that their lives don’t match up with others, that they’re missing out. Advertisers show images of happy families in large houses with fancy cars, images that contrast sharply with most of our daily lives. As a result, kids look at their lives and compare them with others that they believe to be more fortunate, and they mourn for the unrealistic. When a kid’s family doesn’t have the same harmony or connection as others, we get this feeling as if we are not good enough.

Counselors try to show compassion when enrolling students because that’s when they get to know more about the family and their hardships. Pattonville is committed to helping and providing for families that are struggling financially. At the holidays, the high school has something called Pattonville Gives that helps struggling Pattonville families by donating gifts.