Physics Class Builds Catapults

As part of their study of projectile motion, physics students have been building catapults; when they are finished, these will be judged in two categories: accuracy and distance.  The competition is cutthroat, but these science students are having fun AND applying skills they’ve learned in class, which makes all of them winners.

District Science Fair Winners

Hillcrest’s 7th through 9th graders (and a few 10th graders, as well) performed very well at the District Science Fair held last week at Porter’s Chapel Academy in Vicksburg. Congratulations to the following students who took top honors:

Class 3, Behavioral: Annellise Bell – Third place, Samantha McWilliams – First place

Class 3, Botany: Kamina Griffin – First place, Sancenia Johnson – Second place

Class 3, Chemistry: Lorien Harvey – Third place

Class 3, Earth: Beth Hammill – First place

Class 3, Engineering: Joe McAfee – Second place, Micah Parkinson – First place

Class 3, Environmental: Caitlyn McNamee – First place

Class 3, Medicine: Marie Schuff – First place

Class 3, Micro: Callie Matthews – Third place

Class 3, Physics: Austin Day – Second place

Class 4, Behavioral: Leah Wells – First place, Kaylyn Turner – Third place

Class 4, Chemistry: Trinity Powell – First place/ Best in Show Class 4

Class 4, Earth: Aliza Williams – First place

Class 4, Engineering: Taylor Williams – Second place

Class 4, Environmental: Aaliyah Newsome – First place

Class 4, Medicine: Madison Hughes – Third place, Addie Cothern – First place

Class 4, Physics: BJ Powe – Second place

Class 4, Zoology: Regan Chandler – First place, Jessica Bewley – Second place

8th-Grade Literary Concert

Recently, the 8th-grade English classes ended their study of L.M. Montgomery’s classic novel Anne of Green Gables with a literary concert. Students selected poems from the author’s book of poetry, The Watchman and Other Poems, and recited them before an audience of teachers, other classes, and peers.

Mrs. Harwell introduced the study of Anne of Green Gables with a historical and cultural background of the story’s setting, the author’s homeland: Cavendish (Avonlea), Prince Edward Island, the smallest province of Canada. Though the Cavendish settlement was rural, it was no “cultural backwater.” The Scots, who mainly settled Cavendish, ensured that their children were educated and able to express themselves well in public. To this end, children would put on “school concerts” which consisted of poetry recitation, dramatic readings, and debates. The students not only selected and practiced their poems, readings, and debate topics, but they also made the programs, arranged the seating, and decorated the community hall where the concerts were held.

To mimic this tradition, Mrs. Harwell’s students memorized their poems and rehearsed their performances, and they also made festoons of colorful tissue-paper flowers — Anne’s favorites — to decorate the classroom. Though engaging her students in the background study of the story was important, Mrs. Harwell ultimately hoped to have her students gain the numerous benefits of memorizing poetry. Many educators today are quick to dismiss rote memorization as an unnecessary exercise; however, memorization strengthens the brain for retaining more information, promotes better mental health, provides better recall, benefits the brain for episodic and spatial memory, teaches balance and symmetry, frees the mind for creative activity, improves vocabulary, and staves off cognitive decline. Furthermore, memorization has emotional and spiritual benefits. Poetry gives students a deeper appreciation for the beauty around them as they internalize poetic lines and apply those truths to their life experiences. For example, Christians know that one way to grow closer to God is through his Word, memorizing Scriptures and taking them to heart through faith and obedience: ”Your word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you” – Psalm 119:11.

While the literary concert may have seemed to be just another project to some, Mrs. Harwell had something more in mind than simply to educate; she hopes this exercise helped to prepare her students not only for college, but for an abundant life. Above all, she desires “. . .to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield” (Tennyson) when it comes to the most effective ways of teaching her students.

Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Last week, elementary students throughout the United States celebrated Read Across America Day, a nationwide reading celebration that takes place annually on March 2—Dr. Seuss’s birthday. The purpose behind this event is to remind children that reading is fun, not just another job or responsibility.

Hillcrest’s kindergarten classes joined in the celebration and participated in various activities throughout the week, including Silly Sock Day, each student sharing his or her favorite Dr Seuss book, Green Eggs and Ham Day, and Happy Birthday, Dr Seuss!