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Cody Holt: Journalism Scholarship Recipient

June 21st, 2010

CONTACT:  David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
(540) 441-8722
OfficeOfCommunications@phc.edu

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Patrick Henry College sophomore Cody Holt

As an incoming freshman last fall, Cody Holt credited God with the high-school journalism opportunities that qualified him for the 2009 Samuel Adams Scholarship for Journalism from Patrick Henry College. In more than one instance, he said, he found himself in the right place at the right time, standing in front of an open door—and, often, when he was not looking for it.

“For example,” Holt says. “our student newspaper’s editor graduated my junior year, opening up the position for me to take over in my senior year.”

The same time as he edited this paper for the umbrella school that serviced a few hundred homeschooled students in southern California, Holt applied for an internship with his local paper, the Sentinel Weekly News. Strangely enough, he relates, his mother “found the paper while looking for something completely unrelated in the phone book.” The listing caught both their attention, so he filled out an application for an internship. After a few weeks without response, he took the initiative to call the paper’s owner.

“I haven’t actually read your application,” admitted the owner, “but I gather you’re a high school student with some creative writing experience who wants a byline?”

Apparently, he had just laid off a full-time reporter because of lack of funds. Holt gladly stepped in. Soon, instead of sweeping and making coffee as he had expected, he found himself writing a story that, he says, “made the front page of the little paper the next week.”

“For the next year,” Holt says, “God kept opening up a variety of opportunities through the internship to learn more about interviewing, writing, researching, and reporting while on the job, gaining invaluable, hands-on experience.”

When college applications rolled around, Holt knew where he wanted to go. He had followed PHC’s progress since he was in fifth grade, and had always been interested in politics, “even before [he] understood it.” He says he applied to one other college, a “distant second.”

Holt’s interests are many: he calls himself “very pro-life,” and notes his interest “in the issue of welfare. An important role of the church is to serve the poor.” And after a year in PHC’s journalism program, Holt’s pro-life passion led this summer to a coveted by-line in World Magazine. In the piece, entitled “Life Over Death,” Holt chronicled the testimonies of five women who gave birth in spite of the medical profession’s pressure to abort.

“Many mothers abort but some don't,” he wrote in his World lead, “not knowing whether their children will lead fairly normal lives, live with serious illnesses, or die soon after birth. Despite the uncertainty and fear, these mothers often have no regrets that they chose life for their children, no matter how brief. Here are the stories of five who continued their pregnancies despite medical advice to the contrary.”

According to Les Sillars, director of the College’s journalism program, “Cody's first year has gone very well. He came to PHC with a pretty good grasp of many of the basic worldview issues for a Christian in journalism, but he's clearly deepened his understanding this last year. I've also been pleased at how well his reporting skills have developed. I'm looking for good things from Cody in the next few years.

“I'm especially pleased that WORLD is running his article,” Sillars added. “It was a lot of work but he threw himself into it and came up with a really good piece.”

Of his first year at PHC, Colt observes, “The student body here is amazing. Here, I can find people to push me toward my goals.”

For Fall 2010, three Samuel Adams Journalism scholarships are available for qualified candidates—one $10,000 award and two for $5,000. For more information, visit the scholarship page on the PHC website.