Patriot’s Day 2018

Adults may find it difficult to believe that 17 years have passed since 9/11 — the single deadliest attack on American soil in our nation’s history. Most members of Hillcrest’s senior class were born that year; as a result, many of our students do not understand the impact that day — on which nearly 3,000 people lost their lives when terrorists hijacked 4 commercial airplanes — had on Americans, even those who were not directly affected by losing a loved one.

In a news article entitled “7 Ways to Remember 9/11,” reporter Cillian Zeal states, “Life in this country has changed immeasurably in those 17 years. We’re now more conscious of what it takes to keep our country secure from similar incidents. We’ve seen amazing patriotism blossom from unbelievable tragedy. And every year, we find new ways of remembering 9/11 — both the incredible destruction caused and those who were left behind.”

In an effort to ensure that our students never forget the sacrifices made on that day and every day since, 11th-and-12th-grade history teacher Ms. Gail Flemmons spoke with our 5th-and-6th-grade students today about 9/11. She shared events of that day, stories of those who willingly worked to save others, and some of the more iconic pictures of the Twin Towers and other affected areas. Ms. Flemmons also made time at the end of her presentation for students to ask questions, and she says that they had plenty of them.

Every HCS teacher (of our older students who are able to understand and not to be unnecessarily scared) has been encouraged to discuss 9/11 as part of their lessons today and to encourage our students not only to remember, but to celebrate first responders and to serve others as a way to honor those who needlessly died that day. This is our duty as Christians, as Psalm 82:3-4 states, “Defend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy; rescue them out of the hand of the wicked.”

ACT and PSAT for Seniors and Juniors

Did you know that the ACT is taken more than any other college entrance exam in the nation, and that it is accepted by all US colleges and universities? However, the ACT is more than just a test to determine if students are ready for college, as it also includes a career planning component. Furthermore, Hillcrest requires all seniors to be accepted to a college before they receive their diplomas; this means that taking the ACT is a must for our graduates. These are just a few of the reasons HCS is beginning a school-wide push to promote improvement on this increasingly important exam. First, we have created an ACT-Prep class this year, which we hope to offer to all high-school students as the program grows. Next, upper-school teachers are incorporating more ACT practice into their regular classwork. Even much of the lower school will be focusing on ACT, using the data from our annual Aspire testing to determine the skills which need to be worked on so that they will make their best scores once they reach high school and begin taking the exam.

One step which Hillcrest has taken for many years is to require students in the upper grades to take the ACT during both the fall and spring weekday testing dates. Seniors and Juniors will take the ACT on Tuesday, October 2nd. There is no need for students to register on the ACT website for this testing date, as HCS has already taken care of that process. However, each 11th and 12th-grade student must still pay for the exam; please send payment — $46.00, checks may be made out to HCS — no later than Monday, October 1st.

Also, our Juniors will be taking the PSAT on Wednesday, October 10th. This is not used for college admissions; however, it does allow students to practice for the SAT and provides numerous scholarship opportunities. The PSAT is given to 11th-graders during a mandatory weekday testing date; again, Hillcrest takes care of the registration, but we need parents to pay for the exam. Please send $16.00 for this no later than Friday, October 5th, and if you would like to write only one check for both exams, the total will be $62.00.

Student-Centered Science

Mr. Russell has been promoting Student-Centered Learning in his upper-level courses, Physics and Advanced Placement Chemistry. According to a 2015 article on Edutopia, “Student-centered classrooms include students in planning, implementation, and assessments. Involving the learners in these decisions will place more work on them, which can be a good thing. Teachers…. ‘share’ power by empowering learners.”

Above, Physics students are conducting an experiment to measure the distance and speed of a golf ball rolling down an inclined ramp in order to calculate acceleration. Senior Cullen Wood (seated, right) also built the ramp and earned extra credit for his efforts.

Above, Senior Sarah Grace Brownlee explains how electrons occupy orbitals for her A.P. Chemistry classmates.

Hillcrest Welcomes New Faculty

Hillcrest is proud to welcome the following new faces to our faculty this year; they are able and ready to deliver wisdom and energy to our Cougar students!

BACK ROW, from L to R: Nolan Jones – Band Director and Music teacher; Marietta Hall – Sixth Grade; Mary Beth Davis – English and Jr. High Bible; Chris Halbach – High School Bible and Football Coach; Anna Simmons – Fourth Grade; Brett Warren – Football Coach and History; Kelsey Hanson – K5; Sarah Clark – Art   FRONT ROW, L to R: Libby Davis – Sixth Grade; and Carla Beard – K3

Upper School Schedule Information

Students in grades 7 through 12 will pick up their class schedules for the school year Tuesday morning, August 7th, from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM. This will coincide with New Student Orientation at the Upper School beginning at 10:00 AM and will give students a chance to find their classes and lockers, and to greet their teachers. Student Council members will be stationed at tables in the front foyer of the administration building that morning to pass schedules out.

The school counselor has spent a great many hours during the summer break consulting faculty, checking transcripts, and ensuring that each of our students is on track to meet all requirements for graduation, along with standards set forth by our accreditation bodies and by NCAA (for those planning to play sports at the college level). At the same time, every effort has been made to accommodate student course choices; remember, however, that Hillcrest is a small private school, and classes may not exactly reflect expectations, but they will always work toward the goal of preparing our students for college and career. As a result, please be aware that the master schedule has been set — books are ordered, teachers have studied and prepared — so there will be no schedule changes (per administrative direction), other than for the following exceptions:

  • Student has been placed into a class which he/she has already taken
  • Student wishes to drop or add an extracurricular activity — athletics or band — which meets during a specific class period

These changes may only take place within the first week after school has begun, and students must fill out a request.

We look forward to seeing everyone on Tuesday, August 7th, and then to kick off another great school year bright and early on Wednesday, August 8th!