Where Are They Now? – Kayla Thornton

Kayla Thornton is a 2010 graduate of Hillcrest who played in the One Spirit, One Sound band and served as drum major in her final year at HCS; she also was a member of Envirothon, Quiz Bowl, and Honor Society during her high school career.  Kayla was voted as Most Talented by the upper school student body and graduated as Salutatorian of her class, earning numerous scholarships toward the college of her choice.

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Kayla accepted a vocal scholarship to Delta State University and was a member of both the Delta State Chorale and the Delta Singers during her time there.  She was also active in numerous other areas of campus life, including Kappa Delta sorority, Omicron Delta Kappa (a national leadership honor society for college juniors or seniors who rank in the upper 35 percent of their class), Alpha Epsilon Delta (the national health pre-professional honor society), and she was a staff member of The Broom, Delta State’s yearbook, serving as Editor-in-Chief during her senior year.  Thornton graduated with cum laude honors in 2014, having earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry.

At present, Kayla is a Pharm.D. candidate at Union University’s School of Pharmacy in Jackson, Tennessee.  Despite the amount of time required for study and keeping necessary certifications up-to-date in this very demanding field, she continues to take part in numerous community service projects, and she is a member of several professional pharmaceutical organizations, such as the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP), the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), and Christian Pharmacists Fellowship International (CPFI).  Thornton currently serves as president of Union’s chapter of Phi Lambda Sigma, the pharmacy leadership society, and she was recently awarded the Walgreens Diversity and Inclusion Excellence Scholarship.

If her past is any indication of her future, Kayla Thornton is nowhere near finished adding to her already long list of accomplishments and honors, and Hillcrest continues to be proud to call her one of its most distinguished alumni.

Cougar Patrol

Part of the mission statement of Hillcrest Christian School is to “cultivate an atmosphere of joyful thanksgiving” (Colossians 1:12).  One of the best ways for believers to raise personal awareness of how much we have to be thankful for is to serve others.  For this reason, Hillcrest teaches its students from a young age that there are a multitude of ways to help not only those who are struggling, but even to “lend a hand” or to say a kind word to anyone who seems to have a need.

One of the many ways HCS promotes this idea is with Cougar Patrol; this is a service in which fifth and sixth-grade lower school students may participate.  Their job is to help hurried (and maybe even harried!) parents get their elementary students out of the car in an organized manner in the mornings before school and then to make sure those children get into the school building safely.

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“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”


Students Collaborate in Class

Collaborative learning (also called group work or peer learning) has students working in pairs or small groups to discuss ideas or to find solutions to problems after having been introduced to new material. Similar to the idea that “two heads are better than one,” many instructors find that students teach each other and address misunderstandings or clear up misconceptions in ways that might be easier for their classmates to comprehend.

Research from the Cornell University Center for Teaching Excellence shows that some of the benefits of collaborative learning include the following:

  • Development of higher-level thinking, oral communication, self-management, and leadership skills.
  • Increase in student retention, self-esteem, and responsibility.
  • Exposure to and an increase in understanding of diverse perspectives.
  • Preparation for real life social and employment situations.

Encouraging students to work together to find solutions is only one of many methods used at Hillcrest to create tomorrow’s thinkers and leaders.

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Sophomores in Writing Skills work to put mixed-up essays back in logical order.

JV: One Team, One Goal

The HCS Junior Varsity football team took home a win in its first game last night against the Wayne Academy Jaguars.  Our junior varsity players represent the future of the Hillcrest football program, and Cougar fans are proud of them.  Congratulations, guys!

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Student Spotlight – Mayowa Asagunla

For six years Mayowa “Mario” Asagunla’s smile has been one of the most recognizable all over the Hillcrest campus, and not just because his height (6′ 6″) makes him stand out in a crowd.  Whether he’s playing a sport — Mario excels in football, basketball, baseball, and track — or speaking in chapel, Asagunla inspires people and makes friends easily.  His talents also extend into the classroom; Mario’s above-average grades led to his becoming a member of Honor Society in ninth grade, and he served as chaplain last year.  He is one of the first members of the HCS chapter of Mu Alpha Theta as well.


Mario believes his greatest strength is communicating and interacting with people, and anyone who has met him would definitely agree.  These skills recently helped him when he attended Super Summer at Mississippi College, a camp focused on worship, community service, and building leadership skills for teens from Baptist churches across the state.  Mario says this experience taught him more about showing the love of Christ without fear of embarrassment.  Along those same lines, his advice to his peers is to stand and know what you believe.  It is evident that Mario believes the words of his favorite Bible verse, Philippians 2:3-4, which states, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” His concern for people of all backgrounds and ages, which is based in his love for God, shows in everything he does.


As his high school career draws to a close, Mario continues to set high goals for himself.  He looks forward to continuing to play sports in college, and he plans to major in mechanical engineering.