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Passion to Purpose: An Educator's Story

Josh Patterson isn’t a traditional educator. Two years ago, the Chaparral School District’s technology support specialist, speech teacher and debate coach saw an opportunity to improve his community and ran with it. “YE has given me a renewed passion,” Josh says. “I’m excited to take what I learn at YEedu and bring it back to my students.”

Josh arrived in Detroit for YEedu ready to network, learn and grow amongst his peers. The experience did not disappoint. “Events like this remind me that education isn't about me,” Josh says. “It's about my students and my community.” On YEedu’s final day, as the speakers, tours and inspirational fun peaked, he described it as a “truly powerful experience.”

Josh’s first brush with YE happened longer ago than one might expect. “My roommate in college was a YE alum,” Josh explains. “He was such a hard-working dude, and he accredited that to the class.”

In 2017, Josh found himself becoming disengaged, strapped by the restraints in the modern education space. Then he remembered his friend’s experience with YE. “YE says you can work hard and you can innovate in this space and you can make things better.” Josh brought YE into his school. 

The weeklong experience in Detroit further solidified Josh’s belief that, no matter his students’ individual situations, he can play an integral role in transforming their stories. In that mission, he has renewed his passion – and his purpose. “This is one of those opportunities where you get to see people's lives changing in front of you. And that's rare.”