Alumni News & Publications

Alumni Spotlight: Emily Patrick '08

Tell us what you have been doing since graduating from Rabun Gap?
After graduating from Rabun Gap, I attended the University of Georgia. I graduated with a Master's degree in English in 2012 and began my career as a journalist in Asheville. During that time, I also spent six months in the Caribbean writing for small newspapers and traveling. In 2016, I started my flower farm and floristry business, Carolina Flowers. Our mission is to create careers in agriculture in Appalachia while practicing regenerative farming, which means we improve the land as we cultivate it. The business has grown to about 12 employees, and we bring fresh flowers to events throughout Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina. We grow beautiful blooms while also keeping pace with the most interesting and creative design techniques.

What is something interesting about you that we wouldn't find on your resume?
I really love unplugged activities like cooking, hiking, running and walking and gardening, of course. Although my business has a strong social media presence, I prefer privacy and getting away from everything that happens on the internet. I think an offline life is very important!
How did Rabun Gap help to prepare you or influence your future goals?
At Rabun Gap, I developed a strong group of friends who are like siblings to me now. The people I stayed close with after graduating have been with me for more than half my life now, and they provide incredible perspective and support! I am most grateful for the relationships I developed at Rabun Gap.

Do you have a favorite memory from your time at Rabun Gap?
When I think about Rabun Gap, I think about trekking up the hill from the dining hall to the high school in all kinds of weather, walking as fast as possible in the winter, and stopping to sit in the grass during the spring. I also think about the time Madame Shook helped me paint my feet orange for French Club, although I don't exactly remember why we did this. I also have fond memories of advisory dinners. And of course, I was inspired by the beautiful setting.
Is there a specific faculty member, dorm parent, or coach who had a particularly important impact on you?
At various times during my life, I would have answered this question differently. I think at various stages of growing up, you value different capacities in people more. Sometimes I have thought more about the smartest teacher or the coolest teacher. But the person who always remains very special in my mind is Ms. Pat, who was my dorm parent during tenth and eleventh grade. I was sad to hear about her passing last year, and I think of her often. I also have a deep fondness for Deedee Anderson, who taught BC Calculus and pushed me to the top of the class. I wish I had spent more time with her, and I think there should be as much support as possible for women who lead stem fields at Rabun Gap, both teachers and students. For years after graduating, I thought of Mrs. Anderson as scary, but as you get older, you see deep value in sharp, perceptive, hardworking people who tell you the truth!

What advice do you have for current Rabun Gap students that you wish someone had told you during your time at school?
While at Rabun Gap, I wish someone had told me that intelligence is overrated. I spent a lot of time earning really good grades, but I didn't spend as much time thinking about what I wanted to do with those grades! To figure out who you want to be and what you want to do, I think it's important to look deeply at what people are doing in other places — other cities and other countries. How they live, how they earn a living, what qualities make a well-rounded person, not just an intelligent person. I think it's important to have passions outside the classroom. Who inspires you from the great big world, and how can you do something similar to them now, even in high school?
Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School is a private, coeducational day and boarding school for grades Pre-K through 12. Centrally located between Atlanta, GA, Greenville, SC, and Asheville, NC, we prepare young people for college, career, and a lifetime of leadership and service.