Hillcrest Christian School is proud to claim these 3 young men as our own. Stephen Dooley and JoJo Moss recently achieved the rank of Eagle Scout within the Boy Scouts of America, and Preston Vaughan is in the process of being awarded this honor. (Read about his Eagle Scout project in the article, “Nursing students lend artistic hand to scout’s project.”) And while many of us realize that this is an impressive achievement, we don’t completely understand why.
A young man does not become an Eagle Scout within a few months; it takes years, and only about 5 percent of Boy Scouts complete the work to earn this highest level in Scouting. According to the National Eagle Scout Association, candidates must first advance through the ranks—Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, and Life, by passing specific tests which are organized by requirements and merit badges, demonstrating proficiency in the areas of leadership, service, and outdoor skills. Of the more-than-130 merit badges available, 21 must be earned to qualify for Eagle Scout, 13 of which are required in areas including First Aid, Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, Communications, Cooking, Environmental Science, Personal Fitness, Personal Management, Camping, and Family Life. In addition, a Scout has a choice between Emergency Preparedness and Lifesaving and a choice among Cycling, Hiking, and Swimming.
Furthermore, at each of his rank advancements, a Scout must conference with his Scoutmaster in order to set goals in line with his talents and abilities and in order that the Scoutmaster may evaluate how well he accomplished his present goal. Also, at each level after First Class, the Scout must demonstrate leadership by holding positions of responsibility in his patrol and/or troop. The skills learned in Scouting—citizenship training, character development, and personal fitness—benefit these young men for the rest of their lives, as they enter college and careers, and in understanding the importance of community service.
The Hillcrest family could not be more proud of these 3 juniors and of their achievements!
B.C. Forbes further explains, “….It moves us to think of others rather than of ourselves. It directs our thoughts to giving.” Today is unofficially recognized as the first official day of the Christmas Season. Stores are full of “perfect gifts” trimmed in red and green; ads for jewelry, perfumes, the latest technology, and toys flood the airwaves; and in malls across America, children can be found sitting with Santa and telling him what they hope to find when they wake up on Christmas morning. It’s impossible to miss the theme: Christmas is a time for giving.
Many families have changed their traditions so that gift-giving is no longer the primary focus of this time of year, as some feel that the holiday meant to celebrate the birth of our Savior has become too commercialized; however, giving gifts can be a pure expression of our love for others. In fact, God himself gave humankind the greatest gift of all: God in human form, the only perfect person ever to walk the earth, whose sole purpose was to die so that we might live.
Gift giving can also “open doors” so that Christians might share this good news. For children who don’t always have daily necessities, much less extras such as presents, receiving a gift shows that there are people in the world who love them, even if they’ve never met. This often makes them more receptive to hearing about Jesus, another man they haven’t met face-to-face, but who loves them enough to have died for them. To this end, Hillcrest’s Upper School students donated enough toys and candy to fill approximately 200 stockings, which will allow the staff and congregation of City Church to minister to local needy children.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” – Luke 6:38
Ready or not, Christmas is almost upon us. ‘Tis the season for joy and goodwill for most people of the world, but especially for those of us who are believers in Christ. It is up to Christians to remember and promote the real “reason for the season”: the birth of our Savior, and the peace which knowing Him brings. Christmas should be a time of peace for the believer; however, we often fall prey to the worldly view of Christmas — all about giving and receiving — which competes with and pushes us away from the peace which we so desperately need, and which only He can provide.
Hillcrest is working to keep the proper focus on Christmas by sponsoring two giving projects — one among Lower School students, and another in the Upper School — for children who may not otherwise have any gifts to open on Christmas morning.
The Lower School has already fulfilled the needs for their Giving Tree — wow! However, we still need Upper School students to bring a bag of candy and 5 one-dollar toys in order to fill stockings for approximately 80 needy children (between the ages of 3 and 10) who live in the metro area. The deadline for these items is Thursday by 8:30 AM. Parents, please encourage your children to get involved and to make a difference in some child’s life. It truly is better to give than to receive!
Last Friday, Hillcrest’s Lower School hosted a special program to honor Veterans of our nation’s armed services. As part of the festivities, some of the classes sang to these special men and women: the 1st grade sang “March of the Wee Americans,” the 5th grade sang “All American Me and You” and played a few American standards on the tone chimes, and then the 6th grade sang “This Flag We Fly,” featuring the following student voices: Avery Mitchell, Ally Noone, Lily Thompson, Lona Coleman, Macy McWilliams, Sadie Peoples, and Tiffany Price.
Another feature of this celebration of our veterans was a writing contest. Livi Wright in 6th grade took the prize for poetry and recited her winning poem as part of Friday’s program; Darren Dale, a 4th grader, won the essay portion of the writing contest and read his work in the program as well.
According to Mrs. Laureen McDonald, Lower-School music teacher, more veterans came to take part in the program than in any other past year. The highlight of this celebration came as the program ended, with the veterans lining up, and elementary students and teachers proceeding down the line to shake hands with each brave man and woman as the children left the gym to return to class.