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Saluting graduates: Cory Patterson’s advice on handling adversity: ‘Just use that to make you stronger

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By Crystal Nelson

HENDERSON — Although Prairie View High School senior Cory Patterson will be donning his graduation cap on Friday, he has worn many hats while in high school. 

 

Over the last four years, Patterson has excelled in academics as well as sports. He has maintained a relatively high grade point average (currently at 3.9) and has been a member of the National Honor Society. He played football his freshman, sophomore and junior years of high school and has been a member of lacrosse team all four years, the last three of which he’s been captain. 

His life changed during his sophomore year when his mother passed away from brain cancer. Patterson said his mother was always involved in his schooling since he was in grade school and that she really wanted him to finish high school

After his mom passed away, Patterson was sad and was depressed. He missed about a month and half of school because he didn’t want to be in school and didn’t want to be around people.

“Then with just talking to a few of my teachers, it just helped me get back into things and helped me understand that it was my job, as her son, to be the first one to graduate; that they knew how important that was,” he said. 

His life changed again during his junior year when his son Tatum was born. Patterson said managing it all has been easier than a lot of people think. 

“My counselor has been able to give me five classes so I’m eligible to play sports but then it’s not an all-day long thing,” he said, explaining he’ll drop Tatum off at day care while he attends school and then picks him up afterwards. 

After school his girlfriend Nikki Krenek or her mom will watch Tatum, however if he’s not working, he will watch him. Patterson admits that it’s the most overwhelming when Tatum is sick and he has to miss school but that his teachers are understanding about it.

Overall, Patterson is excited to be graduating. Although his mother will not get to see him receive his diploma, he will be graduating with Krenek, who is also a senior, and her mother will be there to support him. He said in a way, she’s become the mother figure in his life.

“Walking without my mom, my personal belief, is that my mom will be with me every day,” he said. “It will be tough not having her physical body there, but I know that she will be there with me and that she’s helped me get there my whole life because she was a stay-at-home mom and I wouldn’t be walking if it weren’t for her.”

Patterson will be the first person in his family to graduate high school and go on to college. He plans on attending CU Denver where he will major in biology and then move on to medical school. Because he’s very close with his girlfriend, Patterson said he would love to marry her.

As a graduating senior, Patterson also wanted to share what he’s learned about high school with his underclassmen. 

“If you’re ever put in a hard situation in high school, it’s not over, it’s not the end of the world — like teen pregnancy or losing a parent,” he said. “Just use that to make you stronger because it’s just an opportunity to make you even stronger than you were before.”