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Patterson’s poems present positivity

Positive and tough is Sarah Patterson as a Newton High School literary arts teacher and a swimming coach.

Tough times call for positive people. Patterson fit the bill as Newton, the country and world face a health crisis with the coronavirus.

“I hadn’t been on social media in about six months or maybe a year but with our current situation with all the social distancing, I realized how much I missed people,” Patterson said. “You’ve been seeing a lot of country music stars doing little concerts on social media to bring joy to people.”

Patterson, who has taught at Newton for more than 20 years, said she realized she didn’t have any big special talents. She does enjoy writing poetry.

“I thought I could write a little poem every day in a way to mark my feelings. If anyone like it that’s fine and if they didn’t like it, it would at least give people something to read,” Patterson said.

For the past six days, Patterson has composed a short poem and posted it to her personal Facebook page. Those poems have made their way onto the Newton Cardinals Activities & Athletics social media sites posted by Mindi Walker, NHS activities and athletics administrative assistant.

“I posted the poems on my Facebook page and Mindi texted me right away to see if she could post them to the Cardinals’ social media,” Patterson said. “I miss the students and my colleagues. It’s been fun way to reach my students and athletes. I’ve heard from former athletes and adults in the community. It’s been cool.”

Being a morning person, Patterson is up early with her cup of coffee. She said she’s at her best in the morning. She’s been writing in the morning for the next day. Patterson said she has four or five spare poems on hand which “need tweaking” but has enjoyed writing and the feedback.

“It’s a mixture of being uplifting and my observation of life at this weird time that we’re all in together — a message of solidarity,” she said. “I’m trying not to be too heavy but not frivolous either.”

Patterson said after spring break week, it seems surreal not being in school and that it’s hard to know when it’s going to be over.

“It’s tough not knowing if we’re going to have anything this spring We’re all in a situation that has a lot of unknowns and we need to support each other,” Patterson said. “Some days are long and others go by fast. My brain isn’t tired but my body is from working out. I have trouble sleeping at times because my brain won’t turn off.”

Patterson said it has been a kick in the gut for anyone who loves sports as high school, college, professional and Olympic sports have fallen like dominoes because of the health crisis. Patterson has been the NCMP girls’ high school swimming coach at Newton for 27 years and coached boys’ swimming for several years recently.

Patterson plans to post a poem each day during the current situation. She did miss Sunday because of a family situation but said she’d return posting on Monday.

Contact Jocelyn Sheets at
641-792-3121 ext. 6535

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