Patrick Rochford likes to talk, and he’s spectacularly good at it. During his first year at NMH, Patrick’s verbal prowess took him all the way to South Africa for the World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships. He qualified again this year, was named one of the finalists, and ended ranked sixth in the world in extemporaneous debate. Overall, he finished 20th in the world out of 160 competitors in Toronto.

Patrick’s not interested in talking just for the sake of talking; he aims to influence public policy someday as an elected political official. “I’m very interested in public service, and I appreciate that NMH has a similar commitment to something larger than learning alone,” he says. “The school’s mission to act with the head, heart, and hand resonates with me.”

The NMH Debate Society honed Patrick’s previous skills and exposed him to new types of public speaking — not only debate, but also persuasive speaking, interpretive reading, after-dinner speaking, and his favorite, impromptu speaking. 

In competitions, class discussions, and casual conversations, Patrick has something substantive to say about many topics. And his course choices reflect these wide-ranging interests. “At NMH, I’ve had a lot of leeway to take classes in whatever interested me, and the variety of courses offered made that possible,” he says. Having taken the standard sciences before coming to NMH, Patrick’s senior-year courses included Ethics, AP English, AP Economics, and The Evolution of Hip-Hop and Its Role in Documenting Social Commentary. “I’m a big hip-hop fan, and it was incredibly enriching to get an academic perspective on it,” he says. “There’s really something for everyone here.”

“At NMH, you can explore all of your interests all of the time,” he adds. Patrick’s non-classroom activities include playing guitar with the NMH Stage Band and serving on the school’s Judicial Board and Academic Committee. “You have the opportunity to find yourself here, and I’m grateful for that,” he says. “NMH has given me so much in a short amount of time.”