While she waited for her name to be announced, Haley Bock paced behind the curtain reciting Scripture to herself. “I remember feeling … so incredibly human, and calling out to God and praying,” she recalled. This was the moment before she began her winning speech at the American Legion's 84th National High School Oratorical Contest.
“I felt the closeness of the Holy Spirit and the lightness of His presence. I still felt that fear, but I was thankful for it because I so needed Him, as I always do.”
Bock won first place at the competition, the same competition in which her brothers, who also went to PHC, had participated previously. She recalled knowing about the competition from around age nine when her oldest brother first competed. Bock herself entered the competition at age fourteen but took a break while she competed in mock trial.
The competition consists of two speeches, a prepared speech and a speech on an assigned topic. Bock’s prepared speech addressed the problem of voting rights for American Territories. While doing some research for a law and history class on the territories and voting rights, Bock recalled, “I came across some articles that had to do with the Equally American Project and different Supreme Court cases in the past six years, with people who are trying to get voting rights, specifically in Puerto Rico.” This spurred her to question whether voting rights were an isolated issue or in all U.S. Territories. During her research, she discovered that the law was created based on selfish reasons and racial stereotypes. “As a Christian, and then also an American, this law shouldn’t exist,” Bock stated.
Something that Bock had on her heart during her speech was the overarching theme of people who can’t speak for themselves: “I think of the Puerto Ricans, I think of the minorities that are in these different territories, but I also think of the unborn children. … They don’t have a voice.”
Bock will begin her time at PHC in the fall. She did not base her college decision on what she wanted her college experience to be but on what she knew God wanted for her and what she needed. She found the answer in PHC, where academic rigor and a foundation in Christ would continue to lead her down the path God has chosen for her. But there was something else. She knows how the leadership will love and cherish her and who she is. “[They will not be] pushing me to be someone [or] to become someone but to just grow and be who Christ says that I am and who He has already made me to be.”
Bock hopes that at the end of freshman year that she will come away with a better understanding of the world. “I want to learn more about the outside world and … other worldviews and just get a better glimpse.”
While Bock understands that she most definitely will be challenged and stretched, she is constantly reminded, as at the competition, that the Lord has it all under control. “God’s got it. He’s brought me this far.” Bock appreciates the Scriptural reminder that if you humble yourself, the Lord will exalt you. “God has never failed to show up.”
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Patrick Henry College exists to glorify God by challenging the status quo in higher education, lifting high both faith and reason within a rigorous academic environment; thereby preserving for posterity the ideals behind the "noble experiment in ordered liberty" that is the foundation of America.