David Franklin attended Hillcrest for 13 years, beginning in 5-year-old kindergarten in 2000 and continuing through 12th grade, graduating as part of the Class of 2013. “Big Dave,” as he was known around campus, states, “I was not a sports guy,” but he was active on campus and well-known among his peers. First, David joined the One Spirit, One Sound band as a sixth grader, and he served as drum major during his senior year. (He even wore a kilt for the show!) He further served as Senior Class President, as the Youth and Government Club President, President Pro-Tempore for Mississippi Youth Legislature, and Honor Society Vice President for MAIS during his senior year. These leadership roles, along with several others, led to his being inducted into the Hillcrest Hall of Fame upon graduation.
After leaving HCS, he attended Mississippi College, graduating in 2017 with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. During those years at MC, he was an active member of the Baptist Student Union, which led to his spending a summer in Greece, serving as a Humanitarian Intern/Summer Missionary. David now works in sales at Taylor Power Systems in Clinton. He recently became engaged to Abby Hicks, whom he met at Mississippi College, and they will be married in March.
David’s best advice for current Hillcrest students is, “Find your strengths, and use them to your advantage, but also be just as aware — or more aware — of your weaknesses.” He states that “knowing where you fall short helps you identify areas in which you can strive for better results. This, in turn, will make you a stronger and more well-rounded individual in the long run.” Finally, he encourages HCS students not to “be afraid of not knowing how to do something, because then your learning will never cease.”
Jesse Bingham, Valedictorian of the Class of 2014, took the title of first runner-up at the Miss Mississippi College Pageant in February of this year. After putting in a great deal of hard work to become Miss MC, she was disappointed in coming so close to achieving her goal; but when the pageant’s winner made the decision to transfer to another university, Jesse inherited the title of reigning Miss Mississippi College 2017.
During her time as Miss MC, Jesse will be a university ambassador; she has served as a Welcome Week student leader, plays a visible role and greets fans at all Choctaws football games, and she recently rode in the college’s Homecoming Parade, among other duties.
Congratulations on your accomplishment, Jesse!
Congratulations to Class of 2017 graduate and “Spirit of HCS” award winner Alana Price! The freshman history and education major has been accepted into an honors class for social and behavioral sciences at Holmes Community College.
In her social media post about this impressive achievement, Alana stated, “They only take 30 people!!! #thanksHCS.” We were happy to be part of your educational experience, Alana, and we love our Cougar alumni!
Meredith Parker, a graduate of the Class of 2013, was one of Hillcrest’s most active students during her 14 years as a Cougar, trying her hand (and succeeding) at seemingly every activity offered. Not only was she in the top 5 percent of her class academically, Meredith was a cheerleader, a member of the Envirothon and Quiz Bowl teams, a Student Council officer, President of both Honor Society and the Student Body, a participant in Youth Legislature, and more. Her achievements were recognized and rewarded during her senior year when she was elected as Most Likely to Succeed by her peers, selected as Hillcrest’s recipient of the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award, AND chosen by the faculty and administration to be a member of the Hillcrest Hall of Fame. These accomplishments led to her receiving a scholarship to Ole Miss, where she graduated Cum Laude this past May with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and English.
During her time in college, Meredith worked as a reporter and producer at NewsWatch Ole Miss, and wrote for both the Meek School Magazine and the Daily Mississippian. She also interned at the CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia, with HLN’s Weekend Express. Parker may be most recognizable, however, as one of the newest faces to join 16 WAPT News, where she is a morning and weekend reporter covering Jackson and Central Mississippi.
The message Meredith has for current HCS students is a quote which she says has stuck with her “for a while now: ‘You can grow up to be anything, so grow up to be happy and kind.'”
With the exception of a short span of time when she was in 2nd -grade and another year-and-a-half when she lived in Kentucky during her junior high years, Cheryl Gladney attended Hillcrest from 1st grade throughout her senior year of high school. Before her graduation in 1989, she was a member of the Beta Club, yearbook staff, band and flag corp, as well as the drill team. She then attended Mississippi College, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology in 1993. Afterward, she went to the University of Mississippi Medical Center and received her MD degree in 1997, then completed residency in 2000, specializing in internal medicine. Dr. Gladney worked for Premier Medical Group from 2000 until 2011 and then began working at King’s Daughters Medical Center in Brookhaven, where she has been employed as a hospitalist for the past 17 years. She calls her career choice “very rewarding.”
Cheryl married David Kirk in 2001, and she has 2 step-children. She also is an avid outdoorswoman who loves to hunt and fish.
The message Dr. Gladney wants to relay to current HCS students is as follows: “Keep an eye on your goals, and keep God in your heart. He will help you achieve whatever you set your mind to. And always be kind to your fellow man. Also, another word… Always treasure the friendships that you make during high school because those friends will be with you throughout your lifetime.”