Student Spotlight – Katelyn Wyatt

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.

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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.”

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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.

Student Spotlight – Kofi Quartey

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.

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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.”

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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.

Student Spotlight – Thomas Wilson

Thomas Wilson has spent the majority of his life at Hillcrest Christian School; this senior has been attending HCS for 13 years, since he began K-5.  Thomas is a member of Envirothon and Honor Society, and he plays football, basketball, and baseball, and runs track.  Not only does he stay busy at school, beyond the HCS halls Thomas enjoys hunting, fishing, biking, spending time with family, hanging out with friends, and going to church.  Furthermore, he has a long-standing job helping his family maintain their farm and land, caring for animals, gardening, and working in the yard.  Above all, however, Thomas says his parents make sure that his school work always comes first.

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Thomas believes his best characteristics are his positive attitude, his love for people, his ability to forgive, and his encouraging nature.  He counts his Christian faith, however, as his greatest strength. His advice to his peers reflects that: “First and foremost, they need to get their lives straight with Christ.  Secondly, give your very best to your academics, THEN sports.  Thirdly, see your failures as a chance to learn, grow, and eventually succeed.”  The secret to his own success is Philippians 4:6-7, his favorite Bible verse; it states, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Thomas says this takes pressure off him and puts all the focus on God.  “I don’t have to worry; I don’t have to hurry.  All I have to do is pray, give it all to God, and the peace comes.”

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Perhaps this reliance on the peace God provides is a reason for Wilson’s not knowing for certain what he wants to do once he graduates in May.  He plans to attend Hinds Community College to give himself a little more time to decide; however, he says he’s interested in athletic training, nursing, working with animals, or engineering.

Student Spotlight – Tori McCray

Senior Tori McCray has been attending Hillcrest for nine years; she is a member of Honor Society, and plays on the Cougar softball, basketball, and tennis teams.  Tori also runs for the track team. Outside of school, this busy young lady is an active member of the Girl Scouts of Mississippi; she always becomes one of the most popular people on campus during Cookie sales time each year. When she (rarely) has free time, Tori enjoys playing tennis with her parents on the weekends.  More than anything, however, she loves to read and to write fiction.  In fact, the back of her senior jersey read, “Books > People.”

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Tori admits that her extremely competitive nature — while useful when playing sports — is often a weakness; on the other hand, she believes that her greatest strength is the ability to see what is ahead of her, rather than only focusing on the here and now.  This characteristic has led her to make large-scale plans for her future: Tori wants to attend Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina, and to major in Intelligence and National Security Studies.  After that, she plans to go to law school. These goals fit well with the motto that drives her: “Be better and do better than you did yesterday.”

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In her advice to underclassmen at Hillcrest, Tori states, “Never take what you have for granted.  Sooner than you realize, you will be a senior in high school, preparing for the next chapter.  Don’t be dependent upon friends or even on parents; they won’t be there throughout your life, but Jesus will be.”  Finally, her favorite Bible verse further illustrates this bit of wisdom; Psalm 40:4 states, “Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!”

Student Spotlight – Connor McDavid

Connor McDavid is making the most of his ninth and final year at Hillcrest. His love of history has made him a valuable member of the Quiz Bowl team, and his size and determination are assets on both the offensive and defensive lines of the Cougar football team.  He is a member of the golf team as well. Outside of school, Connor enjoys hunting, fishing, and riding.

Connor’s advice to lower classmen at HCS is to “live for today because you are not promised tomorrow.” Connor himself takes this advice to heart, and he believes his greatest strength lies in his drive not to let anything stop him or slow him down.  This is most evident in the struggles he has overcome with his health since the age of 10.  Since that time, he has undergone numerous surgeries and has re-learned how to walk four times.  And as if that weren’t enough to convince many people to give up, Connor was diagnosed with occular melanoma, a rare form of skin cancer of the eye, when he was 13 years of age. He recalls, “Everyone told me I could quit football, and it would be okay because I had a reason to quit, but I continued to play because I wanted to prove that I wasn’t going to let anything ever stop me.”

McDavid has been impacted in more ways than one by the sports in which he has participated at Hillcrest; he credits his coaches not only with making him a better athlete, but also with bringing him closer to the Lord.  Perhaps this has led to his decision to attend Mississippi College after graduation in order to pursue a career in teaching and coaching football.  No doubt, his story of perseverance in the face of seemingly overwhelming obstacles will be an inspiring one to the next generation of gridiron athletes.