Seniors Jaylan Brown and Bruce Reed are well-loved among their classmates and peers, as was evidenced by their being voted as Prom Queen and King this year. These two members of the Class of 2018 are not only likable, however; they have big plans for the future and are willing to work hard in order to achieve their goals.
Jaylan Brown is finishing her second year at HCS; she has been a cheerleader and joined with other members of her class to promote Black History Month recognition. Outside of school, Jaylan enjoys baking, spending time with family and friends, choreographing for the praise dance ministry at her church, and singing. She has shared her talents for singing and dancing during Upper School chapels. The fact that Hillcrest has given her opportunities to do so is part of what she loves about this school; Jaylan states, “It is a different environment all together. In public schools, you are on your own. During my time at Hillcrest, I have grown academically, spiritually, and socially. I didn’t expect to come here and fit right in and meet amazing people.” And Jaylan certainly has fit in, which led to her being voted as Prom Queen, her favorite memory of her time here; she says, “I didn’t expect it or anyone to really vote for me but Isaiah [her boyfriend], and it made the night 100 times better for me. It was a night to remember.”
Jaylan believes her greatest strength is her work ethic; she says she always tries to give her best efforts in everything she does, whether school work or other activities. At the same time, she realizes that “if it doesn’t work out, then it is not in God’s plan for me.” Her favorite Bible verse, Jeremiah 29:11, reflects this, as it states, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jaylan says these words reassure her that her life is in God’s hands, that even though she makes decisions, God has the ultimate say-so and will lead her. This verse will definitely help her to follow her own advice to “take everything one day at a time,” as Jaylan plans to attend Louisiana’s Xavier University in the fall, where she will major in Biology and Pre-Med with the ultimate goal of becoming a dermatologist.
Bruce Reed began attending Hillcrest 10 years ago; he is a long-standing member of National Honor Society, and he has been a member of both the football and basketball teams. Athletics led to Bruce’s favorite memory from his school years; he recalls the basketball team’s winning the State Championship during his junior year as something he is proud to have been a part of. He says, “I will never forget the sight of the HCS student section running onto the court after we won the game.”
But Bruce is more than an outstanding athlete; his honesty, patience, respect for others, and self discipline — the qualities which he believes to be his strengths — are evident in everything he does. For instance, he feels that he struggled in the past when it came to academic writing, but with the help of his favorite teacher, Mrs. Massey, and the application of those qualities, Bruce has improved and excelled in the classroom as well. He took on the challenge of dual enrollment/college classes this year and earned A’s in both English Composition I and II. Bruce has the following advice for his peers who want to experience the same successes: “Always keep God first in your life. Don’t put yourself above anyone else, and continue to work hard every day.”
Finally, as Bruce grows ever closer to high school graduation and moving on to a career in pharmacy — he has been accepted to the early entry program at the University of Mississippi — he will carry the words from his favorite Bible verse with him. Philippians 2:14-15 states, “Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” He knows the road ahead will be difficult at times, but those words, “God telling me to do everything in my life without complaining and grumbling,” will keep Bruce at the top of his game.