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Great Accomplishments for a Young College

  • Mike Farris, Esq. President of Patrick Henry College
  • 2002 7 May
Great Accomplishments for a Young College
Patrick Henry Graduates Headed for Law School

Three members of PHC's inaugural graduating class have been accepted to law schools for the upcoming fall semester. Without even waiting for a final determination of PHC's accreditation status, several competitive first and second tier law schools have offered admission slots to these well-prepared seniors. David McKennett has been accepted at William and Mary College, George Mason University, and American University. David is still waiting to hear from the University of Virginia Law School. California native Jeremy Purves will be attending George Mason University Law School this fall. And Rebecca Durnell will be returning to her home state to attend the law school of Indiana University at Indianapolis. Rebecca will participate in a four-year evening program while working full-time at the state capital. "We are pleased that a number of first rate law schools have recognized our graduates' distinctive talents," said Dr. Robert D. Stacey, Chairman of the Department of Government and Pre-Law Advisor. "It is even more gratifying that we can say we have a 100% placement rate, since all three of our law school-bound seniors have been admitted to excellent schools."

Debate Team Wins National Championship Tournament

At the National Educational Debate Association (NEDA) National Championship Tournament in Kankakee, Illinois in April, debating the resolution "that the United States should substantially expand its efforts to prevent terrorism," Patrick Henry College won its greatest victory to date. In just its second year, Patrick Henry swept the tournament in both the open and novice divisions, earning the title of national champions.

In the open division, Katie Jackson, a freshman from Clovis, California, and her teammate Laurie Wilson, a sophomore from Round Hill, Virginia, won three straight elimination rounds to claim the national championship. In the final round, Katie and Laurie overcame a previously undefeated team from Cedarville University and ultimately defeated Sam Bray and Bob Chest of Bob Jones University, formerly considered the league's top team. One of the highlights of the tournament for the audience was watching 5-feet-2-inches tall Laurie Wilson stand up against the 6-foot-2 Sam Bray during cross-examination. Laurie never lost her sense of composure or command. Despite being seeded last entering the elimination rounds, these unassuming, petite but tenacious girls shocked competitors and spectators alike by decisively defeating the Bob Jones University team, gaining five of seven judges' votes.

Meanwhile, in the novice division, returning national champions, Nick Higgins, a sophomore from Jupiter, Florida, and Matthew du Mee, a freshman from Peoria, Arizona, successfully defended their title against Southeastern Missouri State University. Debating an unfamiliar case, Matthew and Nick showed the flaws in their opponents' argument by using logic and historical analysis. The highlight of the round came when Nick focused the judge's attention on a large bulletin board behind them with a pithy quote that summed up the negative case, "We must actively stop rebellion, or rebellion will stop us."

But the national championships weren't the only awards taken home by Patrick Henry College. Matthew du Mee won first-place speaker for the third consecutive tournament. Also, in the novice division, the team of Katie Smith, a sophomore from Greencaste, Indiana, and Layla Wilder, a sophomore from Tensed, Idaho, placed eighth. They also won the fifth and sixth speaker awards respectively. In the open division, Missy Hurter, a sophomore from Honey Brook, Pennsylvania, took fifth place, closely followed by Tim Moughon, a freshman from Erwin, Tennessee, who finished sixth. Missy and her partner, David McKennet, a senior from Port Alsworth, Alaska, also placed sixth in the team competition.

Despite these individual accomplishments, Laurie Wilson summed up the sentiments of the team as a whole when she said, "The best part of the debate was being on the team at Patrick Henry College. The final win was a team effort. Katie and I could not have won without the encouragement, support, and advice of our teammates."

The other members of the team who assisted the winners were: David Shaw (freshman, Arlington Heights, Illinois), Joel Moughon (freshman, Erwin, Tennessee), Kyle Pousson (freshman, Purcellville, Virginia), Matt Thornton (sophomore, Warner Robins, Georgia), and Rayel Papke (freshman, Merritt Island, Florida).

Mike Farris is the president of Patrick Henry College ( and chairman of the board of Home School Legal Defense Association (