Student Spotlight – Emily Walker

Emily Walker has been a Hillcrest Cougar since second grade; in her eleventh and final year at HCS, she serves as co-section leader of the trumpets and chaplain of the One Spirit One Sound band, and she is a member of the tennis team.  When she’s not at school, she enjoys participating in fellowship activities with the youth of Country Woods Baptist Church and meeting with her discipleship mentor Amanda Wilson.  In fact, her positive experiences with her discipler have influenced Emily to advise her peers at Hillcrest “to find somebody that you trust; having someone to fellowship with is one of the most important things.”


One of Emily’s favorite memories from her years at HCS happened only a month ago, when the band took top honors at the Copiah Competition for the third year in a row.  She says that at times, “We had a pretty rough marching season, so when I heard the announcer say that our band won first place, I was extremely shocked.”  She further states that their victory helped the band remember that they are a family; “we were finally One Spirit, One Sound again.”  This special memory no doubt was due in part to the efforts of Emily’s favorite teacher, band director Joshua Landrum.  She reflects, “I’ve had so many wonderful teachers who have helped shape me into who I am today, but… Mr. Landrum always has a smile on his face and does everything he can to help us improve.”  Perhaps Mr. Landrum is her favorite because they have something in common: Emily believes that one of her best qualities is that she loves to make people smile.

Emily met Pierson Fode on the set of the upcoming movie It’s Time.

Another of Walker’s strengths is her ability to trust God completely when it comes to meeting her needs. As a result, she is not worried about the future.  After she graduates in May, Emily plans to attend a community college for two years and to allow God to lead her into the career path he has planned for her.

Where Are They Now? – Caitlin Bingham

Caitlin Bingham began attending Hillcrest in the third grade and stayed until her graduation in 2009. During her years at HCS, she was involved in Honor Society, Student Council, Honor Council, HCTV, and Yearbook, and she was a cheerleader in her senior year. She met Josh Childs, another graduate of the Class of 2009, at the 2008 Homecoming dance. They started dating right before Christmas. Both then went to Hinds Community College, graduating in 2012; they married in the fall of 2014.


Caitlin worked for a time as a cosmetologist, but her dream was to become the proud owner of a business which would allow her to do what she truly loves.  After much research and hard work, she opened All That It Seams, LLC, which features her hand-knit and hand-sewn accessories for women, and every purchase benefits shelter animals.  She is most excited to have launched her business website — — just yesterday, November 1st.  Childs states, “I never quite realized how much of a foundation Hillcrest had given me until I began my journey as an entrepreneur. It’s so much more than knitting and sewing, I had to learn the ins and out of how the business world operates. Hillcrest gave me the capacity to learn and the tools to expand my knowledge on my own. The teachers at Hillcrest gave me more than just a typical high school education, they taught me how to continue to educate myself.”


With all that she has learned in pursuit of her goals, Caitlin has some sage advice to offer to the current students of Hillcrest: “Make the most of your education, especially if you’re intending on pursuing a career in business. History is important for learning from others and learning from the past. No business would be able to function successfully without math, you have to know your numbers. English may be the most important of all. Whether it’s using proper grammar and spelling, or researching, your business will NOT be professional without knowing all of the facets that a high school English class will teach you. Find the learning style that works best for you and never stop learning because knowledge truly is power.”

Caitlin Childs proves that a strong educational foundation, lifelong learning, and hard work are the keys to living out your dreams.  The Hillcrest family is proud to support her and wishes her continued success as her business grows.

Loose Ends

It’s hard to believe that we’re already thirteen weeks into the school year, and the time is showing no sign of slowing down as we count down the remaining days until the end of 2016.  As always, our students are staying plenty busy with studies, sports, clubs and activities, and friends.  As a result, there are a few “loose ends”  — a variety of news tidbits — to share with the HCS family.  Here goes…

Last week, the 4th grade classes held and participated in their annual Hoedown, a long-standing Hillcrest tradition and a fun time to show parents and friends how all their hard work has paid off.


In other (good!) news, Christmas break has been extended by one day.  Originally, students, faculty and staff were scheduled to return from Christmas break on Monday, January 2nd; however, since that day is the federally recognized holiday for New Year’s, we will start back to school on Tuesday, January 3rd. No further changes to the academic schedule will be required to make up for this extra holiday, so mark your calendars and make your plans.

Next, the Cougar baseball team needs your help!  We’re looking for Cougar Supporters to buy field banners which will help provide our young athletes with essential, quality equipment such as baseballs, new bases, deck mats, screens, mound clay, and other items and expenditures necessary to prepare for a successful 2017 season.  Not only is this a great way to support our baseball team, it is also excellent advertisement for businesses.  If interested, please click on the link provided under the ATHLETICS tab and the Baseball heading, or call Athletic Director Todd Montgomery.

Finally, don’t forget that the uniform resale store will be open this Thursday, and now would be a great time to stock up on your students’ uniform needs for the cooler weather… should it decide to show up, that is!  Also, if you need to turn any outgrown items in for resale, please click on the link found under the UNIFORMS tab, and fill out the required form ahead of time.

Vocabulary Matters

One of the critical skills taught regularly, and at nearly all grade levels, at Hillcrest is vocabulary knowledge.  While students often complain that vocabulary is “just busy work” or is “just a way to get grades in STI, teachers of all subject areas know that in order to comprehend what they read and learn, students must first understand what words mean, both individually and when placed together.  This skill is crucial not only in school, but also in the work force, where employers value educated employees who can make informed decisions on their own.


For many decades, vocabulary instruction was rarely a planned part of classroom instruction; instead, student questions often led to “teachable moments,” after which students were directed to a book’s glossary or a dictionary.  Numerous studies have shown that this “method” did not result in long-term retention.  People of all ages need multiple exposures to words in a variety of contexts before they understand, remember, and apply them.  According to, “Vocabulary is critical to reading success for three reasons:
1.  Comprehension improves when you know what the words mean. Since comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading, you cannot overestimate the importance of vocabulary development.
2.  Words are the currency of communication. A robust vocabulary improves all areas of communication — listening, speaking, reading and writing.
3.  ….When children and adolescents improve their vocabulary, their academic and social confidence and competence improve, too.


For these reasons, Hillcrest teachers will continue to promote the regular learning of vocabulary at every level: elementary, middle school, junior high, and high school.  Furthermore, teachers of all subject areas — not only English and language — will use a variety of instructional methods to improve students’ vocabulary knowledge so that when they leave HCS, they will be prepared and successful, no matter where life leads them.

Team Work Makes the Dream Work

The weather may not reflect it, but it’s almost time for winter sports to begin!  Last night Hillcrest hosted Meet the Cougars in the high school gym and previewed our basketball and soccer athletes.


Basketball season begins Tuesday, November 1 for both the JV and Varsity girls’ teams, who will play in a pre-season tournament at MRA beginning at 5:15 PM and 6:30 PM, respectively.  The boys’ teams will play their first games at home versus West Memphis on Saturday, November 5; games will begin at 1:00 PM that day with the JV girls’ team.


Soccer season begins the following week on Monday, November 7, at Porter’s Chapel beginning at 5:30 PM.  The soccer team’s first home game will take place on Thursday, November 17, versus Copiah; kickoff is at 4:30 PM that day.

Schedules for all teams (5th & 6th, 7th & 8th, Junior Varsity, and Varsity) can be found by clicking on the “ATHLETICS” tab above.  Please make plans to support all of our hard-working Cougar athletes!