With four sisters and two brothers, Patricia grew up with a clear example of what it means to live in a gospel-centered community. “My father is the most hilarious person you’ll ever meet,” she says, “he loves doing things as a family, so we always eat meals together, and at breakfast he always reads the Bible to us.”
All of Patricia’s older siblings have graduated from AFA, and she couldn’t wait to
start going to “real school” when her turn came in 6th grade. Remembering her first year at AFA she says, “I was much more quiet then. I remember looking up to the older students, but now the younger students are looking up to us.” This is a cycle she doesn’t take lightly. As an upperclassman, she intentionally spends time with younger students. “I remember when I was younger and juniors or seniors let me sit with them at lunch and I loved that. So now I try to hang out with the younger students too. But that’s not the only reason — they’re fun!”
Now in her seventh year at Ad Fontes, Patricia has been able to see AFA from many
angles. “The community is like a little family. You’re forced to get know people you wouldn’t normally get to know. At other schools you can have a grudge against someone and just avoid them, but at AFA you’re forced to deal with it.”
Patricia says she can see this growth in her own class most clearly when playing Mr. Mathwin’s history games. The games typically involve the entire upper school, and feature a special role for the senior class. “We’ve been forced to work together as a class, and I’ve really enjoyed it,” Patricia says. “Everyone is really funny, and that comes out even more during the games.”
Patricia is passionate about people, and this determines how she spends much of her time. Over the years Patricia has been involved in several sports, Mock Trial, Student Council, drama, and volunteering at the fire department, all while taking a full class load at Ad Fontes. At the end of her junior year, Patricia was thriving. All of her involvement was put on hold, however, when she found out she would need to undergo a serious back surgery in order to correct her worsening scoliosis. Recovery would be slow, and Patricia soon found herself clearing her entire summer schedule.
The surgery itself, while intimidating, was a source of excitement for Patricia. She became fascinated by the science behind the procedure, bombarding her doctors with questions and researching other details on her own. This growing passion worked to confirm Patricia’s vocation: to become a nurse. Even the bustling environment of the hospital enchanted her. “Through the process of my surgery, I realized a lot of things: one thing was that hospitals are really cool – I knew I wanted to be a nurse and it was so exciting to see the nurses around me and think ‘I’ll be you!’”
By God’s grace, the surgery went smoothly, and once again, family and friends played a central role in Patricia’s life. “When I woke up from surgery, my family was waiting for me, even though they weren’t supposed to be there. Everyone caring for me helped the pain not to matter.”
Looking back on the surgery, God’s providence is evident to Patricia: “Afterwards I realized how important it is not to pack your life with activities. I wasn’t just physically recovering, but emotionally recovering from doing so many things the year before. I didn’t realize it was going to be like that. I didn’t realize I needed that.”
After a refreshing hiatus from her busy life, Patricia was able to see her priorities more clearly and say no when necessary – an important lesson, she thinks, for any Ad Fontes student. Next year, Patricia will continue to develop her passion for medicine and helping others by studying nursing at George Mason University.