By David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
Families converge on Patrick Henry College campus for Orientation 2009
“We’re so excited,” said the father of an incoming freshman from St. Louis. “It was a long drive, but we’re happy to be here. Our daughter made her decision to come to Patrick Henry last spring, and we’ve all been imagining this day for months.”
“We’re tired but joyful,” said the mother of another freshman from west Texas. “We drove 26 hours straight to get here. It’s going to be sad to say goodbye to our daughter, but we’re blessed to know that this is the college God chose for her.”
A mother and father from Southern California, who run a Christian camp for teens, were still marveling at the unlikely sequence of events that they believed God orchestrated to allow their daughter to be standing in the IT check-in line.
“We’re basically Christian missionaries,” she said, “and we weren’t sure how this could happen. But God performed so many amazing miracles to allow our daughter to be here today, including people who helped us with tuition and complete strangers who provided new clothes, supplies, and business attire. It’s going to be a tearful good-bye, but how can we be sad when we absolutely know that God orchestrated this entire experience.”
The class of incoming freshmen also looks to be among the largest in recent years, said Director of Admissions Becky Knable, who was busy Tuesday morning running from table to table at Town Hall, assisting the new arrivals as they cycled through various check-in stations, getting photos taken for student IDs, registering with accounting, and signing up for laptops and Internet access.
Brooks family prepare to leave son Michael (R) at PHC for the 2009-2010 school year
Added Admissions Associate Colten Wilson, who has been busy recruiting many of the new arrivals: “It’s great to finally be able to put a name with a face, as I’ve had the chance to speak frequently and in-depth with many of them. It looks to be the largest class in the last three years, and, as usual, they’re a special, talented group.”
At one side of Town Hall, waiting for their son, Michael, to get his student ID, were Doug and Susan Brooks from Benton, Maine. The Brooks have homeschooled all of their children and could be considered as homeschooling pioneers in South Africa, where more than a decade ago they lived for five years, at the height of the collapse of apartheid and the election of Nelson Mandela. Their many letters to high-level South African government officials in that time, requesting the right to homeschool their children, coincided interestingly with sudden, unexpected new policies paving the way for what is now a growing homeschooling movement, recalled Doug Brooks.
Parents and new students meet and greet during initial check-in
Just then their son, Michael, strolled over, smiled, and flashed his new student ID.
The proud father smiled in turn, and said, “This is a big day for us. It’s been quite a journey, but we all feel that he’s exactly where God wants him to be.”