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.
As part of our efforts to ensure that our students are well prepared not only for college, but also for the rest of their lives, Mrs. Browning’s Computer Applications I classes are currently studying a unit of curriculum entitled Foundations in Personal Finance. This program teaches young people how to avoid debt, how to budget, how to invest early, and how to build wealth so that their financial futures will be worry-free. Students watch videos hosted by finance experts Rachel Cruze and Dave Ramsey, and then they complete various computer-based activities, including math exercises, journal questions and reflections, and word problems. Students also are shown real-life case studies to further their understanding of how to practically apply financial principles.
With an ever-changing American economy, very few high-school graduates considered to be financially literate, and more than 7 million borrowers defaulted on student loans for college, it is obvious that young adults need to be better educated about money matters. Toward this end, the ultimate goal of Hillcrest’s use of this program is to empower and equip students, building their confidence in their own financial decision-making, to ensure a secure future.
HCS hosted the MAIS District Spelling Bee this past Wednesday, November 9th. Hillcrest’s participants, pictured from left to right, were Lily Thompson (6th grade), Hannah Holm (5th grade), and Kendell Davis (4th grade).
Congratulations to Lily and Hannah, who will go on to compete in the state competition on January 20th; each placed 2nd for her grade level.
Also, our One Spirit One Sound band members and director have once again been recognized for their hard work, this time from Governor Phil Bryant. He sent a letter congratulating them on their “three-peat,” having earned the title of Overall Best Band at the Copiah Marching Festival 3 years in a row.
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.
Tripp Douglas attended Hillcrest for 9 years, graduating as Valedictorian in 1996. During his time at HCS, he played football, soccer, tennis, and ran track. He was also involved in Student Council, National Honor Society, and the Yearbook staff, and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Douglas then attended Mississippi College, where he was an All-Conference goal keeper for the Choctaw soccer team. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design and graduated Summa cum Laude (with a perfect 4.0 GPA) in 2000. During his college years, Tripp became involved with Brilla Soccer Ministries and now serves on the board of that organization. This and his many other athletic achievements led to his being inducted into the Hillcrest Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.
Douglas is the owner of two businesses in the city of Ridgeland: a creative agency called Crema Design Studio and a coffee shop called Fusion. He has also enjoyed using his design skills over the years to support his high-school alma mater. While still in high school, he created the HC logo which Hillcrest still uses; then, in his college years Tripp designed the Hillcrest Christian logo as well as the Cougar mascot image which is featured on the wall in the high-school gym. Furthermore, he has designed nearly every yearbook cover for the past 15 years. And most recently he assisted the school by designing the “United” t-shirts, creating graphics for the Color Run, and setting up the Hillcrest Annual Fund website. Probably his greatest “claim to fame,” however, at least among HCS students and alumni, is that he is the son of our very own beloved Mrs. Bridges, librarian and yearbook sponsor-extraordinaire!
Tripp’s message to current Hillcrest students is the same one he tries to instill in his staff: Whatever you do (whether it’s school, athletics, or work), glorify God by doing it with excellence. He also reminds believers that Colossians 3:23 tells us to work as if we’re doing it for God Himself, not only for a teacher, coach, or boss. Douglas further states, “Glorifying God is not just for church – we as Christians are called to do it in every part of our lives. And working with that attitude will also bring you success!”
HCS is thankful to Tripp Douglas for his continued love and support for our school, and we’re so glad to call you not just an alumnus, but also part of the family (Sorry, Mrs. Bridges, but you have to share)!