And now… Dun, dun, DUNNNNN, Here’s what you need to know about Summer Reading for the Upper School (grades 7 – 12): Students — both current and new — are required to complete the following assignments during the summer. Tests on the assigned novels will be administered on Monday, August 13, (and Monday, August 20, if two novels are required) after school resumes on August 8, 2018.

* CP means College Preparatory, standard courses at Hillcrest

Student Spotlight – Joseph Moss, Valedictorian

Joseph Moss — known as “JoJo” among his peers — has been a Cougar since ninth grade; in his 4 years at Hillcrest, he has been active in a wide range of clubs and athletics. JoJo has played football, basketball, soccer, tennis, baseball, and he has been on the track and field team. He has also been a member of National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, Quiz Bowl and Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). Outside of school, JoJo still finds time for other activities he enjoys, such as hunting and playing guitar. He feels it is important to be optimistic and a leader in everything he does so that he can “lead others to accomplish great things too and to better themselves.”

Throughout his relatively short time at Hillcrest, Moss has had many opportunities for making memories; going to the playoffs with the football team during his sophomore year was a favorite for him. His favorite teacher, Coach Horner, has also added to JoJo’s memories, because in every class and every occasion, he has shown that “He loves us students and wants so badly for us to know God’s love for us.” Showing God’s love to others is important to JoJo too; his advice to his peers is, “Never look for your satisfaction in anything in this world. The world is temporary, but God is eternal.” His favorite Bible verse, 2 Corinthians 4:18, reflects this same theme: ” So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” Moss loves these words because they “remind us that the bad things in this world won’t last, and the good things are outdone by God’s glory.”

JoJo has been accepted to Mississippi State University, where he intends to major in biochemistry. After that, he hopes to attend the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine, and then eventually to open his own veterinary clinic.

Student Spotlight – Amber Speegle, Salutatorian

Amber Speegle has attended Hillcrest for 14 years, starting in K-4, and she has just finished her last days of high school here as well. HCS has been home to many of Amber’s accomplishments — such as being named Salutatorian of her graduating class — along with numerous fond memories. For instance, she recalls winning Homecoming Queen this past year as a memory she will treasure. Amber states, “I loved that I was voted for by my peers and represented the school in that way.” Beyond that, she created even more memories as she participated in several extra-curricular activities: Amber is a member of National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, and the tennis team. She also has held leadership positions in several organizations: Amber was this year’s One Spirit One Sound drum major, she was President of the senior class and of the student body, and she was a lead team member for FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes). Without a doubt, her intelligence and leadership abilities have helped her succeed in each of these areas.

Amber credits former band director Todd Taylor and her involvement in band with allowing her “to find [her] niche at Hillcrest.” This also helped her gain the confidence to try those other activities. And while she recognizes the value of hard work and taking on responsibility, Amber has the following advice for younger classmen: “Do not let trying to make perfect grades and trying to be the perfect student take your focus off your relationship with Christ. It is important to have a balance and to prioritize.” One way she maintains balance is to give herself some down time, watching Netflix and snuggling with her cat Kali, playing tennis with friends, and shopping.

As she leaves HCS, she realizes that down time is going to be harder to come by. Amber is headed to Mississippi State in the fall, where she plans to major in biochemistry with a pre-med concentration; eventually, she hopes to attend the University of Mississippi Medical Center and to become an obstetrician. And though the road ahead will certainly be difficult at times, Amber says she has “no reason to be discouraged or afraid; God is with me always.” She is certain of this because of her favorite Bible verse, Joshua 1:9, which states, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”


“Champions are propelled by desire, not compelled by fear.”
Denis Waitley, The Psychology of Winning

Congratulations to our Varsity Girls’ Track Team, Class AAA overall champs! These ladies also set 2 new records for MAIS in the 4×2 relay and the 4×4 relay!