Youngest Miss America in 70+ years finds a home at tiny, conservative college

By Matthew Barakat

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, Sept. 7 2013 10:57 a.m. MDT

The school's founder and chancellor, Mike Farris, also said he received sporadic complaints that Scanlan's status as a Miss America was supposedly contrary to the school's code and values.

"I don't view getting into the pageant world to be incompatible with Christian values," said Farris — who made his name as a lawyer defending homeschooler families.

Farris never had any doubts that Scanlan would be a good ambassador for the school. Farris sensed she could be a starter on Patrick Henry's Moot Court team, which Farris coaches and regularly wins national championships.

"She's very bright, a great communicator," Farris said, noting she placed third in a regional in Moot Court championships as a freshman. "Yeah, no doubt I expect a national championship out of her."

Kira Clark, a Moot Court teammate of Scanlan's and now a roommate, described Scanlan as "a caring, incredibly ambitious, smart, compassionate person who puts her friends first."

On the small campus, she said students don't dwell on the fact that Scanlan was Miss America.

"We see her as a sister we can be proud of, rather than a celebrity we can be taking advantage of," Clark said.

Despite her plans to reduce stress, Scanlan remains ambitious. On her LinkedIn profile, she lists herself, among other things, as "2028 presidential candidate." She would be 35, the constitutional minimum to serve as president.

Farris, who designed the school with the idea of launching Christian conservatives into the public sphere, said Scanlan and many other Patrick Henry students set such goals and he encourages them to aim high.

"If they mess up and only get to be governors and senators, I'll live with it," Farris said.

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