The Home School Court Report
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Cover Story
Can they get a job?

Home school entrepreneurs

Home schooler youngest Geography Bee winner ever

Ending college discrimination

Special Insert
Trumpet of Liberty

Regular Features
Active cases

Freedom watch

Notes to members

A Contrario Sensu

Prayer and praise

President's page

HSLDA social services contact policy

Across the States
State by State

P R E S I D E N T ’ S   P A G E

J. Michael Smith, PresidentGraduation at Patrick Henry College

On February 22, 1997, the Home School Legal Defense Association board of directors authorized the purchase of 29 acres in Purcellville, Virginia, near our office at that time. The land was purchased in hopes it would be a future site for HSLDA and a college that would reflect the apprenticeship model which permeates the home education experience.

On September 11, 2000, HSLDA and Patrick Henry College took occupancy on that initial 29-acre purchase. And the college began.

While HSLDA launched PHC as a separate entity and HSLDA board members are no longer involved in running the college, we continue to be highly interested in its continued success. HSLDA continues to support PHC by contributing the net sales from our books and by promoting PHC's summer teen leadership camps. We also contribute a portion of our shared staff and occupancy costs.

"Changing our culture starts one person at a time," Heather Herrick, summa cum laude, told about 500 students, faculty, staff, parents, and friends gathered for PHC's first graduation ceremony in May.
I went back to look at the minutes of the August 1997 board meeting where we laid out our vision for the future college. It was at that meeting that we settled on the name "Patrick Henry College." Our initial thrust was to establish an apprenticeship-type college for the training of young men and women to participate in public policy on both the federal and state levels. Classroom based training would be combined with an emphasis on the apprenticeship model: students could get "hands-on" experience working on Capitol Hill while taking courses. Along with equipping leaders for tomorrow, we wanted the college to have a philosophy and ideological basis with which home school families could feel comfortable.

Five years later, on May 25, 2002, our dream came true when PHC graduated its first class of 14 students.

Although many feel that college is only about higher education, my main concern as a parent is the spiritual life of my child. I like to say that God didn't call us to prepare our children for Harvard; He did call us to prepare our children for Heaven.

When I heard the address given by student Heather Herrick at the PHC graduation ceremony, I was encouraged that this school is both an outstanding academic institution and a place where a student's spiritual welfare is nurtured. Here are excerpts from that speech:

Our desire is to go from Patrick Henry to serve the Lord with all He has given us. Indeed, this is why we are attracted to Patrick Henry College in the first place; we came here because of the school's vision of equipping students to bring Christ and liberty to our culture. Though we came here to equip ourselves to become leaders in changing our culture, we leave here with the realization that there is only one way to bring true change to our nation. The only source of permanent social and political liberty must be spiritual liberty.

It is upon the foundation of biblical truth that America's strong tradition of freedom is built. But it is a foundation we have abandoned as a culture. Social and political freedom cannot last long in a world without truth. Without standards of right and wrong, the legislator has no guide by which to rule but his own self-interest. Without moral absolutes, the citizen soon changes his liberty to license. Without the hope of truth and obtaining personal meaning, our society plunges into despair and self-destruction. . . .

Thus, our goal as the first class of Patrick Henry College, is to bring hope, and truth and the liberty of Christ to our culture. We dream of doing this through national leadership, but we understand that changing our culture starts one person at a time with personal relationships with those in our daily lives.

Heather Herrick articulated solid convictions shared by PHC students, faculty, and staff. And she demonstrated the powerful impact home schooling parents and PHC have had on these students' lives. We, as an HSLDA board, can say without a shadow of doubt that the current Patrick Henry College board is carrying on the torch in a way that honors our original intent. The proof is in the high caliber of the graduates.

I hope that one day your children will consider attending PHC, and in the meantime, please pray for the needs of this unique institution so that it can continue fulfilling its vision for many generations to come. Enclosed in this issue of the Court Report, you will find an update on Patrick Henry College and information on how you can become involved.