“And the Correct Answer Is…”

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From Left to Right: Sarah Grace Brownlee, Gage Mitchell, Jared Bewley, and Amber Speegle; Back Row: JoJo Moss, Spurgeon Sanders, Anna Grace Browning, and Connor McDavid

This is a seriously dedicated group of scholars; practice begins at 7:30 in the morning and takes place two or three times each week.  No doubt, though, it’s worth it to these students.  Each member of the Quiz Bowl team hones his or her “mental muscle” in a variety of subject areas in order to show rival schools from the area that Hillcrest students are hard to beat when it comes to general knowledge.

According to National Academic Quiz Tournaments (NAQT), “At the high school level, quiz bowl is a competitive, academic, interscholastic activity for which players attend periodic practices and then represent their school at varsity tournaments based on the school’s athletic conference, district, county, or state.  Quiz bowl questions range over the entire spectrum of a high school curriculum and also include a certain amount of current events, sports, and popular culture. The matches feature a blend of individual competition and team collaboration, since no individual player is likely to be an expert in all subject areas. Quiz bowl can reinforce classroom lessons and also encourage players to go beyond their assignments to master other areas as well.”

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Community Service Bulletin Board

” Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2

Hillcrest Christian School is committed to being Christ-centered, rooted in unchanging Biblical truths, and to leading students to view life from a Christian perspective.  Because of this, one of the goals of our school is to give our time and efforts to help those who may not have as many blessings as the majority of us do.  Therefore, one of the requirements for receiving a diploma from HCS is for each student to complete at least 10 community service hours for each year of grades 9 through 12.

Many of our students have trouble knowing where to look for opportunities to serve others.  Often, they are not aware that any service they do for which they do not receive compensation and which is not done for family or close friends counts as community service.  Numerous opportunities may be found on the Hillcrest campus.  For example, teachers usually welcome help with filing papers, moving heavy objects, and so much more.  Furthermore, students who serve at their churches have already accumulated community service hours; activities such as Vacation Bible School and welcoming guests at a reception desk definitely count, and students need only to fill out the Service Verification Form and get the required signature, then turn that form in to the school counselor (or to Mrs. Massey if they are Honor Society members).

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However, for those who still need help finding places and times to serve, a bulletin board has been set up in the main hall of the Upper School administration building where students may see how they might help others.  If they fail to find an option there, they may also search on the Volunteer Mississippi website.

Hillcrest family, we also need your help!  If you know of any organizations or activities which would benefit from our students’ efforts, please contact the school, and we will add them to the bulletin board and to our daily announcements.

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!”

Where Are They Now? – Adam McWilliams

WAPT meteorologist Adam McWilliams, HCS Class of 2007, recently took time from his busy schedule to write about his years at Hillcrest Christian School and what he’s been doing since then:

I attended Hillcrest from K4 through to graduation. My love for the weather started at about 4 or 5 years old, although my parents say I was still in a walker watching the Weather Channel. When I was at Hillcrest, I quickly earned the nickname “ The Weatherman,” and my reputation proceeded me throughout my entire school career there. Usually, it’s a bad thing when teachers know your name before you step in their classroom, but not in my case! All the teachers would talk, and let the next grade’s teachers know that if they had me I would do the weather.

I wasn’t involved in any sports throughout high school; I was too busy either with schoolwork or interning with 16 WAPT chief meteorologist David Hartman. I actually met David at Hillcrest. My 10th grade Chemistry teacher, Mrs. Jennifer McAdory, had David surprise me during class one day. It was quite a shock when David walked into my classroom; my eyes must have been the size of saucers! A year later, I started an internship with him that lasted until I went to Mississippi State.

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And then in my junior year, Mrs. Sandra Bridges asked me if I would like to do the weather for the morning announcements on HCTV. I quickly accepted and had a blast doing it. I remember forecasting Hurricanes Katrina & Rita  in 2005 on HCTV before they hit the Gulf Coast.  I tell people Mrs. Bridges is the reason I’m in TV today, she gave me my first on-air job doing the weather. I really believe doing HCTV got rid of my TV jitters. I will always be indebted to Mrs. Bridges for doing that for me. It really was a confidence booster at a time when I didn’t have a lot of it. She gave me something to look forward to, and she will always have a special place in my heart for that.

After I graduated Hillcrest in 2007, I went to Hinds Community College for a couple of years, and then I transferred to Mississippi State University in 2009 (Hail State!) and earned a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Meteorology in 2012. During my time at MSU, I anchored the school’s Campus Connect Forecast on the university TV station. My last semester there, I won the 2012 Associated Press Award for Best College TV Weathercaster in the state of Mississippi. My biggest memory at MSU was chasing the monster tornadoes that rolled across Mississippi and Alabama on April 27, 2011, the Dixie Alley Super Outbreak. That day, 2 EF-5, tornadoes came within 50 miles of the MSU campus. Seeing the destruction first-hand changed me and solidified my resolve to keep people safe during severe weather.

I graduated MSU with a 3.2 GPA and had a job before graduation at WXVT-TV 15 in Greenville, doing the weekend weather.

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Then in July of 2013, I accepted the job at WAPT as the weekend morning meteorologist. It is surreal sometimes [to realize that] I’m working with the man I looked up to as a kid. I learn so much from David everyday, and I quickly realized why he is the most trusted weatherman in Central Mississippi. His calm during severe weather is something I hope to learn as I progress throughout my career.

Hillcrest has some of the best teachers in this state who really take a vested interest in their students. I had so many teachers who loved me and supported me in what I wanted to do, and they created an environment where I could flourish. The teachers there truly love God and show Christ to students each and every day.

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If I could give any advice to the students there now, it would be chase your dreams no matter how big they may be. My grandfather always used to tell me, “Find your passion and then find out a way to get paid for it, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” I did that, and it’s 100% true. I don’t dread going to work like most people do. I’m so thankful to the good Lord that he has blessed me with a job where I can do my passion for the weather and get paid for it! I couldn’t be luckier and am truly blessed.

Thank you so much, Adam, for sharing about Hillcrest’s impact on your life, about following your passion, and about God’s blessing your efforts.  HCS will forever be proud to call you one of our own.