Featured Alumni: Sidney Patterson

2018 BluePrint Editor in Chief Sidney Patterson is beginning a career as a speech-language pathologist.
2018 BluePrint Editor in Chief Sidney Patterson is beginning a career as a speech-language pathologist.
Photo courtesy of Sidney Patterson

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This year the BluePrint is celebrating 10 years as an online publication. In recognition of that achievement, we have been running a series of Featured Alumni articles on the contributions of past editors.)

In 2018, The BluePrint staff attended the Keystone Press Awards and was recognized as the best student-run website in the state, receiving first place in the overall website category. It was the second straight year the publication received the award.

The successful journalism class of that era was led by the 2018 senior and Editor in Chief, Sidney Patterson.

As a freshman, Sidney “began contributing to the website without actually being enrolled in BluePrint”.

“It was after so many classes where Mr. Naylor would allow me to work on BluePrint content that he finally recruited me to enroll in the class,” she recalled. 

I remember as a staff writer feeling second-hand empowerment to know that my words shed light on another person’s story. I think that lends well to the way I strive to empower my patients now.

— Sidney Patterson

Sidney climbed up the BluePrint ladder as time went on. She began her sophomore year as a staff writer, was promoted to the editing staff her junior year, and advanced to Editor in Chief her senior year.

She considered this leadership position to be a “feather in [her] cap” after mastering the task of receiving and providing others with feedback. 

As a consistent writer in the features category, Sidney deemed this type of story to be her “bread and butter,” since she enjoyed gathering interviews and photos. Her favorite feature to be a part of was her story about Maddie Shura, who in 2017 was a second grader at Myers Elementary battling brain cancer. Maddie was also a youth cheerleader and formed a bond with Sidney, who was also a member of B-A’s cheer team.

When Maddie died in April of 2017, it was Sidney who wrote the story memorializing her life.

“To be able to commemorate [Maddie] in our online newspaper is something that I am eternally grateful for,” Sidney said.

Since 2018’s successful year of taking first places and receiving award after award from the Keystones and other statewide news award outlets, The BluePrint has continued to remain a decorated publication. Sidney is not surprised by this, and knows that the stories will “always keep their audience.”

”With a leader as competitive as Mr. Naylor, I think it comes with the territory that it would be a successful publication,” she quoted.

Mr. Naylor said the entire Class of 2018 was impactful at B-A, but Sidney grew to be a student he could rely on.

“With Sid in particular I had her in class in some capacity every year of her high school career, sometimes twice a year,” Mr. Naylor said. “In situations like that, you get to know someone pretty well, and what I knew about Sidney was I could trust her. I trusted her judgment and her leadership, and she took us to new heights. I trusted her her senior year to be the leader of the BluePrint when we had just won a Keystone award as the best student-run website in PA and we were challenging ourselves to repeat. She wanted that challenge, and it was a driving motivator.”

After receiving her high school diploma in 2018, Sidney started two years of coursework at Penn State Altoona with an “undecided” major and eventually landed on Speech-Language Pathology.  She finished her time at PSUA  by focusing on her Human Development and Family Studies minor. Sidney was able to end her college chapter at the University Park campus for her final two years.

“My last two years of undergrad are a time I hold so near and dear to my heart,” Sidney quoted. “While at University Park, I was able to finally hone in on classes specific to speech therapy and specialized in sign-language.”

Following her undergraduate studies, she decided to pursue a master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology at West Virginia University. Currently, Sidney is focusing on her May 8 graduation and is in her fifth and final clinical rotation at United Hospital Center in Bridgeport, West Virginia.

With plans to stay in the Mountain State for the “foreseeable future,” she passed her state licensure board and applied for licensure in the state.

“After graduation, I will begin my full-time position with Odyssey Rehab based out of Bridgeport, WV, where I will be the sole SLP providing swallowing, cognition and dementia care to residents across four facilities in our area,” she said.

As a senior, Sidney was in charge of BluePrint the year it won its second straight Keystone Press award as the best student news site in PA. (Tuckahoe Yearbook)

In the healthcare field, it’s common for students to receive feedback on their documentation skills. Sidney credits her thick skin for medical critiques, in part, to her BluePrint experiences.

“…being able to accept Mr. Naylor’s critiques of my writing helped prime me for the critiques I would someday receive on my medical documenting from supervisors that were less kind,” she attributed.

Mr. Naylor said Sidney and her class, which included award winning writers/creators Jake Miller and Julie Bauer, left an indelible mark on the BluePrint that lasts to this day.

“Beyond BluePrint or English class she was one of those people that eventually becomes a friend, and we still stay in touch and talk from time to time,” said Mr. Naylor. “I’m really proud of the direction her life has taken. She and her class made an impact by lifting us to heights we had never reached and setting a standard that we talk about in class every year. And they did it because they wanted to. It was a goal. They took a lot of pride in being the best and went for broke with everything they did. And then she passed it down to people like Kaelynn Behrens and Mya Decker, and they passed it down to the next generation. So their impact is immeasurable.”

Despite her career path in medicine, the journalistic foundation she gained in BluePrint continues to prove valuable.

”I think being a part of the BluePrint staff illustrated to me the value of being a good listener – which is the cornerstone of my vocation in speech therapy,” said Sidney. “I remember as a staff writer feeling second-hand empowerment to know that my words shed light on another person’s story. I think that lends well to the way I strive to empower my patients now.”

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About the Contributor
Olivia Hess
Olivia Hess, Editor in Chief
Olivia Hess Grade 12 Years in BluePrint: 2 What I hope to do this year: I hope we can make it back to the Keystone Awards! Outside activities: Basketball, FCA, Renaissance, Key Club, NHS Why I took BluePrint: I had so many cool opportunities last year, and I like being able to shine the spotlight on the people in our school.

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