Alladia Patterson. Louisville High School track team captain. Defending CIF shot put champion. Volunteer track coach and mathematics tutor. Honors student, taking 11 units at Pierce College this semester (and 11 last semester) in addition to her classes at Louisville.
Headed for Yale to study psychology. Summer psychology intern at the Center for Autism and Related Services in North Hollywood. Active in theater, music and any campus activity she can fit into her schedule. Fan of Kiera Cass’ “The Selection” series.
“That’s my guilty pleasure,” giggles the 17-year-old senior on a rare break from classwork at the Woodland Hills girls’ school. “But I thrive on staying busy.”
“Alladia is always motivated and plugged in to what we are doing with a positive attitude,” says Mary Loffa, Louisville’s admissions director. She is gifted across the board, one of the most well-rounded and intelligent students I have seen in recent years. And she is a leader, well-liked and respected by her peers.”
Born and raised in west San Fernando Valley, Alladia began her track and field career at age 7, when her mom encouraged her and her older brother Amir Ali to run in order to stay in shape. Soon both were competing — and winning — the shot put and discus events at junior tack meets, starting with the 2007 Junior Olympics.
“I really loved the idea of competing, of trying to do better each time out,” Alladia recalls. “And that’s what motivates me today: to improve my marks, to better myself and to enjoy the competition.”
There has been a lot for Alladia to enjoy. She has competed regularly in the Junior Olympics track and field events every summer, winning All-American honors each time, finishing third in last year’s shot put for girls ages 17-18.
“It’s so much fun to compete,” she says, “and to meet other girls from across the country.”
Fifth in shot put at the 2015 CIF Masters Meet as a sophomore, Alladia won the 2016 CIF-Southern Section Division 4 shot put title (41 feet, 1 inch) and finished second in the discus. At the Masters Meet the following week, she took second in shot put (improving to 42 feet, 11 inches), and a week later was sixth in the State Championships with a personal best of 43 feet, 8 ¬º inches.
Her goal in 2017, clearly, is to repeat at CIF and keep on improving at the state meet in Fresno, scheduled on the first Saturday in June. “That’s also the day of our graduation ceremony,” she says with a smile, “but the school was nice enough to move the ceremony to Sunday.”
Clearly, Louisville is happy to have Alladia in its midst, and the feeling is mutual.
“When I visited Louisville during eighth grade,” she says, “I saw how they really encourage you to take charge of your schedule, your own life. And I feel like I’ve really grown in so many ways here, in an all-female environment where they help and allow you to feel empowered, to develop your self-esteem, to be your own boss.”
A Christian who attends Shepherd of the Hills Church in the San Fernando Valley, Alladia has “tremendous respect and appreciation” for the Catholic faith and environment in which she attends class. “We all believe in Jesus as our savior,” she says.
Post-graduation, her goal is to compete in the Olympics, but she also is anxious to pursue her career goal: becoming a psychologist. She will intern with Dr. Susan Guman at the Center for Autism this summer, and then begin studies at Yale which, she says, seems like a perfect fit.
“I just fell in love with Yale when I visited the campus,” she says, “and they told me that being on the track team won’t interfere with school work. So I am ready, even if it’s going to be colder than I’m used to,” she adds with a chuckle. “Just buy a parka, and I’ll be set.”
It will be different, she admits, living away from home and her parents. But her mother, an author and screenplay writer, long ago instilled in Alladia a strong sense of self and independence.
“My mom, as a writer, is given to flowery speeches,” she grins. “But her advice is solid: be the boss of your own self, set your own goals and don’t let negative voices from the outside drag you down. And I don’t. It’s much better to be positive.”