For six years Mayowa “Mario” Asagunla’s smile has been one of the most recognizable all over the Hillcrest campus, and not just because his height (6′ 6″) makes him stand out in a crowd. Whether he’s playing a sport — Mario excels in football, basketball, baseball, and track — or speaking in chapel, Asagunla inspires people and makes friends easily. His talents also extend into the classroom; Mario’s above-average grades led to his becoming a member of Honor Society in ninth grade, and he served as chaplain last year. He is one of the first members of the HCS chapter of Mu Alpha Theta as well.
Mario believes his greatest strength is communicating and interacting with people, and anyone who has met him would definitely agree. These skills recently helped him when he attended Super Summer at Mississippi College, a camp focused on worship, community service, and building leadership skills for teens from Baptist churches across the state. Mario says this experience taught him more about showing the love of Christ without fear of embarrassment. Along those same lines, his advice to his peers is to stand and know what you believe. It is evident that Mario believes the words of his favorite Bible verse, Philippians 2:3-4, which states, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” His concern for people of all backgrounds and ages, which is based in his love for God, shows in everything he does.
As his high school career draws to a close, Mario continues to set high goals for himself. He looks forward to continuing to play sports in college, and he plans to major in mechanical engineering.
Madelyn Banks is a senior who has been attending Hillcrest since fifth grade; she is a member of Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta, as well as captain of the color guard. Outside of school, Madelyn is active in her church youth group at First Baptist – Terry, where she enjoys participating in the prayer partners program. This past summer, she attended Camp Generate in Daytona, Florida, where she not only worshiped but also served at the local Boys and Girls Club. Madelyn enjoyed acting in a play as part of her service and says that since then she has felt God leading her to speak, to share her testimony and to tell others how the Lord is working in her life. Her fear of public speaking has overwhelmed Madelyn in the past, but she is determined to be obedient and to overcome her anxiety.
Madelyn feels certain that HCS is exactly where she is supposed to be, and she believes that God has great things in store for our school. She is inspired by the song “I Am Yours” by Lauren Daigle, which proclaims, “It’s all in Your hands / I see the evidence / Leaving nothing to chance / The world’s in Your hands.” Her personal goal for the year is to leave her mark on the school, and she knows that the best way to do that is to help every student find his or her meaning in Christ. For her fellow members of the Class of 2017, she trusts that they will continue to grow in their friendship, which has felt more like a family, throughout the year and even after graduation she hopes they won’t drift apart.
After high school, Madelyn plans to attend Hinds Community College before transferring (most likely) to the University of Mississippi. Though she has not specifically chosen a major, she knows that she wants to work in the field of medicine.
Sweet baby Cougars on their first day of K-3 / Preschool in Mrs. Dottie’s class