When the words “nothing compares to a Christian education” came out of the mouth of a 17-year-old high school graduate, I knew I was in for a great interview.
Change of Plans
Adam Kearney ’16 is ambitious, well-read, and just the kind of leader Fredericksburg Christian School has the ability to foster. Though he was accepted to several schools, Adam had to make a difficult decision: attend Virginia Tech for engineering or William & Mary for something else completely.
“For the entirety of my life I was dead-set on doing engineering,” explains Adam. “My Dad is in the Navy, and his dad was in the Navy. But, I only have one kidney; that wasn’t an option for me.” Following in the footsteps of his father’s career in engineering is what Adam always thought he’d do.
Hoping to experience real-world engineering, Adam accompanied his father on a business trip to Pittsburg. “When I was there—it was so cool—but it was nothing that I wanted to do for the rest of my life. My brain thinks more along the lines of government and politics; that’s really what I enjoy,” says Adam. “I had been telling myself that I had to do engineering if I wanted a job, but of course, that’s false,” says Adam. He sought further advice from a mentor on the worship team at his church (who chose to study engineering over his passion.) “He said he’d gladly sacrifice income for a job he actually enjoys,” explains Adam. The final question remained: what’s best for Adam Kearney?
A Servant-Leader in the Making
“When I was a sophomore at FCS I went to Guatemala on a missions trip. That made me realize I wanted to do something that served people with my life,” says Adam. “I didn’t realize the power that the Gospel had until that trip.” Wanting to use his skills for people and government, he chose to take a risk and study political science rather than Engineering. While attending the College of William & Mary, Adam will not only work toward a degree in International Relations (with a Minor in Economics). He’ll also be part of their prestigious Monroe Scholar Program, a $3,000 research grant which will allow him to study a topic of his choosing. “You can study whatever the heck you want,” explains Adam. “I may study how non-profits interact with government to get funding.” But, for a guy who scored 2330 on his SATs (and is entering college with one and a half semesters worth of credit), there is more to be done than earning a degree. “The current college culture is very liberal; that’s kind of fun for me [as a conservative]. Campuses shut down free speech when you’re talking about a perspective they don’t like,” says Adam.
“I want to make William & Mary a lot more open for free speech. My motto is: ‘if you don’t like our leaders, get involved yourself.’ ”
The Foundation of It All
With his sights set on politics, non-profit work, and conservative activism, it’s no wonder that Adam took advantage of his Biblical education at FCS. “I’m totally the person I am today because of FCS. Apologetics is the best class they have,” says Adam. “I can back how I view the world and I feel much more grounded in my faith.” Among teachers that helped shape his worldview, Adam cited Mr. Shaeffer. “He is so knowledgeable,” says Adam. “And, if he doesn’t know, he’s not afraid to admit it. I think that’s something to be admired.”
In the coming years you’ll see Adam on the campaign trail with Rep Rob Wittman; learning to take better photographs; interning for the CIA; maybe entering Foreign Service as a diplomat. And, one day, he may just end up on your ballot. All I can say is, I’d vote for him.