The Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland takes pride in educating each of its Head Start students. The lessons learned in the classrooms go much further than arithmetic and literature – each student has the opportunity to discover their likes and dislikes through social and emotional learning alongside classmates. The goal is to get the kids to learn more about themselves and ultimately figure out who they want to be.

Winter Lakota Patterson-Cottingham knows exactly what she wants to do – work the catwalk.

She attended Lakeview Terrace Head Start Center and has since moved on to the Newton D Baker School of Arts. According to the Lakeview Site Administrator, Fatu Saleem, Winter’s always been a socialite.

“I can definitely see her modeling; she’s a social butterfly,” said Saleem. “She can be shy at times, but once she overcomes the shyness and gets comfortable in her environment, she’s a good communicator and very lively.”

Winter recently participated in the B’Elite Beauty Pageant for Tots. Young ladies from ages 3-6 compete against other participants to build self-esteem and self-confidence by exposing them to basic pageantry. She competed in all categories which included, Miss Model, Miss Talent, Theme Wear, Casual Wear, and Formal Wear.

This time Winter wasn’t one of the finalists in the competition but she made the whole agency proud with her willingness to compete and show off her talents. No one was more proud than her mother, Calista Cottingham, CEOGC’s recruitment coordinator.

Pictured is Winter and mom, Calista Cottingham

“I was very proud of my baby for her confidence; she was a true star up there,” said Cottingham. “I told her she showed amazing courage to get on that platform and rip the runway. She’s got a bright future in whatever she does.”

Winter is excited to begin cheerleading next year and plans to audition for the baby Cavaliers Dance Team when she turns six.

If you’re interested in finding out how to enroll in one of our amazing Head Start programs, click here now!