Senior Kaitlyn McBride is a relative newcomer to Hillcrest’s halls, having attended for only 3 years. However, it did not take her long at all to make new friends and fit in as a Hillcrest Cougar; Kaitlyn is a member of the National Honor Society, plays tennis and volleyball, serves as a basketball statistician, and she plays clarinet in the One Spirit One Sound band. In fact, if she were asked by someone considering transfering to HCS, she would tell that person, “HCS is an amazing school, academically and spiritually. When I got here, I knew no one, but I was immediately welcomed with open arms. After a few weeks at HCS, I already felt like I was family.”
Family and friends are important parts of Kaitlyn’s life. When she is not busy with one of several school-related activities, McBride enjoys spending time with her mom, hanging out with friends, and watching a lot of Netflix. The theme of family also plays a significant role in her favorite memory from her time at HCS: winning first overall/best band at the Copiah Marching Band Festival three years in a row as part of the band family. Kaitlyn states, “After all of the hard work, sweat, tears, bug bites and sunburns… it felt amazing. #3-peat!”
Matthew 6:34 is Kaitlyn’s favorite Bible verse: “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” This, she says, is a constant reminder that God is in control, and her worries should be left at His feet. Those words will, no doubt, help guide her in the future as well, since after graduation Kaitlyn plans to attend the University of Mississippi and take on the demanding field of pharmacy. Finally, her advice to her peers and to lower classmen as she prepares to leave Hillcrest is, “Follow your dreams, but get an education first. Stay close to God, and don’t be afraid to be yourself.”
Andrew Mitchell has been attending Hillcrest most of his life; for 13 years, beginning in K-5 and continuing through his upcoming graduation in May 2017, he has been a Cougar. Now in his senior year of high school, Andrew is a member of National Honor Society, and he plays several sports, including basketball, baseball, football, and running track. Even when he is not at school, Andrew says he enjoys “anything to do with basketball, baseball, or football.” This love of all things athletic is also greatly featured in his favorite memory from his years at Hillcrest: Mitchell recalls that during his 8th-grade year, the varsity basketball team played in the Division II State Championship. He states, “They won the game. I was in the student section, and that was the most fun I’ve had in all of my time here.”
Andrew is known among his peers for being a kind and friendly guy; in fact, he himself believes that his caring nature is his greatest personality trait. Andrew affirms, “I’m not a judgmental person at all, and I always try to give people the benefit of the doubt.” More than likely, this is a result of his own struggles with self-confidence in the past; having worked through his doubts, he now advises others his own age to “always believe in yourself.” He also credits his favorite HCS teacher, Mrs. Jessica Matthews, with helping him realize his self-worth beginning in his 5th and 6th grade years. Andrew states that not only was she “a great teacher… she always helped me with anything I needed.”
After graduation, Andrew plans to attend Hinds Community College for 2 years and then to continue his education at either Mississippi College or Ole Miss. He wants to major and work in Sports Management.
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.
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.
Katelyn Wyatt has been a Hillcrest Cougar since K-3, meaning that for 15 years, HCS has been her second home. Now in her senior year, Katelyn is a member of National Honor Society; she serves as reporter for Mu Alpha Theta, the honors organization for math; and she is the clarinet section leader for the One Spirit One Sound band. Wyatt can often be found in Hillcrest’s library, scouring the shelves for a title which is both unfamiliar and intriguing, though this is becoming rather difficult for this prolific reader. When asked about her love of reading historical fiction and fantasy, Katelyn states, “Through reading books, I can fly, time-travel, or do anything I wouldn’t normally be able to do. I enjoy learning about and exploring different places, even if they are only make believe.
When she’s not on campus, Katelyn enjoys “rocking out” to the band Skillet with her brother, scouring Pinterest, and dancing, which is yet another important aspect of her life and one which she has been practicing for as long as she can remember. She takes ballet and pointe classes two nights a week and claims, “I love how ballet is freeing, elegant, and has been around for centuries.”
Katelyn believes her imagination and her loyalty to those whom she loves to be her greatest strengths along with her positive attitude, which always leads her to try to find joy in every situation. This sense of joy is further motivated by the knowledge gained in her favorite Bible verses, Luke 23:42-43: “And he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ And He said to him, ‘Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.’” Katelyn says these verses remind her that “as a Christian, I can look forward to being with Christ in Heaven.” Wyatt also looks forward to attending Mississippi State University after graduation, and she plans to major in history.
Senior Kofi Quartey, a member of Hillcrest’s winning Envirothon team, has established his reputation of having a unique sense of style during his five years on campus. When asked why this distinction is important to him, Kofi replies, “Everyone should be proud of their individualism.” He further believes that you cannot be your own person if you’re simply going to copy everyone else.
This individuality extends into other areas of Quartey’s life, as well. He is, at various times, either quite outspoken or quietly reserved; however, his attitude is always good-natured and courteous. In fact, he considers his attitude to be his best quality. Kofi affirms, “I try to approach every situation with a positive outlook.” To that end, his favorite Bible verse explains that the best way to remain positive is through Christ-like love; Romans 13:8 states, “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” He believes this verse is always relevant, even in unforeseen circumstances, which Kofi reminds his peers to be prepared for. His advice to them is to “Expect the unexpected.”
Though he works hard at school to maintain above-average grades, in his free time Kofi likes to relax; he enjoys watching Netflix, playing video games, and hanging out with his closest friends. After graduation, he plans to major in biology in college and to study abroad for a few years. Ultimately, Kofi wants to attend medical school to become an anesthesiologist.