1st legacy students to join in the fall

Posted by Hannah Gaschler on 5/23/24 1:42 PM

Patrick Henry College welcomes its first legacy students

PHC’s first legacy students—children of alumni—will be coming to campus in the fall: Emmie Main, whose mom Joanna graduated in 2005 (Government, Public Policy) and Amelia Davis, whose parents Danny and Angela graduated in 2004 and 2003, also in Government, Public Policy. Emmie said that her mom, Joanna, never pressured her, but Joanna’s experience did affect her decision. “I can see her and the way her friends have gone in life, and that has affected how highly I think of the school and how highly I think of the people that come from it,” Emmie said.

Emmie Main's story

Emmie particularly admires the way her mom can teach so many subjects. Right now, at a private Christian school, Joanna teaches 7th and 8th grade Life Science, 9th and 10th grade Biology, 11th and 12th grade U.S. History, and British Literature. “Most people stick in their one field and they just roll with it, but she’s been able to reach out and do a lot of other things, which has one-hundred percent affected how I was looking at where I want to go,” Emmie said. She finds it comforting that she can pursue anything after PHC.

Emmie first attended a PHC open house during her sophomore year. “I got to go to a class and I was there with some of my friends, and it was honestly really great,” she said. She took five pages of notes in Dr. Robert Spinney’s U.S. History class. “That was a really big selling point for me because I was like, I really enjoy this class and I really enjoy the teachers and the people in this class,” she said. 

Learn more about Teen Camps

That summer, she attended the Strategic Intelligence Teen Camp, where she loved getting to know the professors and the counselors. The next year, she attended another open house and SI camp. “The more I went, the more I fell in love with everything, and I loved how it was really close to home and really small,” she said. She also liked the attitude of the campus. “It’s nice going to a place where people genuinely care about learning,” she said.

This year, she took four distance learning classes. Next year, she will take Western Literature and Western Civilization through PHC's distance learning offerings and come to campus for Recitation. “This allows me to grow into being an adult in a way that’s not just me moving . . .  away from my family and having to figure everything out on my own,” she said. “It’s helping me get a good education while staying close to the people I really love and care about.” 

“I feel very comfortable with her going there and being able to be encouraged and built up and challenged in thinking,” Joanna said. She thinks PHC is a good fit for Emmie because it will challenge her and provide opportunity for discussions.

Emmie chose PHC because she witnessed her mom's flexible career after college.

A lot has changed since Joanna attended PHC. At the time, the school had only three majors—Public Policy, Classical Liberal Arts, and Strategic Intelligence—and only Dr. Steve Hake, Dr. Mark Mitchell, Dr. Les Sillars, and Dr. Gordon Middleton remain of the professors. The Barbara Hodel Center did not exist, the Red Hill dorm was built while Joanna was a student, and Purcellville had only a McDonald’s, a Subway, and a Chinese restaurant. “I was one of those people who jump in with both feet and assume that everything’s gonna work out,” Joanna said. “I think everybody that came during that time period had to have that mindset, because the school’s only a year old and you don’t really know what you’re getting into.” 

However, much about PHC has remained the same, such as the 63-credit core. “Not only do you gain an understanding in some of that, but you gain confidence in being able to do some of those things,” Joanna said. Learning how to figure something out has given her flexibility as a teacher.  

Amelia Davis' story

“PHC instilled in us a desire and competence to learn, to seek truth, and to look deeper than the surface level answer,” Danny Davis said. “[Angela and I] think that has significantly enhanced our lives, not just in our work but as we navigate the challenging cultural issues of our day.” PHC also gave Danny and Angela a foundation for homeschooling their children.Why "classical liberal arts"?

Danny and Angela did not pressure Amelia to choose PHC, but they encouraged her to look at colleges with a biblical foundation, a desire to seek truth, and a solid campus atmosphere. “She had her heart set on PHC, and we’re very excited for her—we think she’ll do very well,” Danny said.

Amelia Davis familyAmelia Davis with her family

Amelia’s parents' experiences shaped her decision. “Hearing stories from their time on campus and attending various events gave PHC a sense of familiarity that made it feel more like a possible home,” she said. She had known about PHC’s distinctives, size, and high percentage of government students. “But it wasn’t until I discovered more about its Literature/English major, rich core curriculum, and close-knit community that I decided to apply,” she said.

Amelia took two distance learning classes this year, and next year she will attend in person. “I’m so excited to study subjects I love in an environment that will encourage me to find the good, true, and beautiful in each one and connect them to the truth of God’s Word,” she said.

“We are glad to see that the spirit of loving Christ and seeking Him first continues to be the foundation of all that PHC does,” Danny said. 

Why PHC offers a classical liberal arts education


 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.


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