Writing Is Fundamental

One of the courses required for graduation from Hillcrest is Writing Skills.  This is a semester course taken first when students are in 8th grade, and again in 10th grade (when the class counts as .5 elective credit).  It was added years ago as part of the curriculum to ensure that students are prepared for college-level writing.  Because a number of skills are taught in the typical English class — literature, grammar, vocabulary and spelling, and writing –there are times when one or more of those skills does not receive the amount of time and attention truly necessary for mastery.  And because effective writing is essential not only in the college academic setting, but also in most careers, Hillcrest wants our graduates to feel well-prepared when they are faced with writing numerous essays, papers, and presentations — sometimes all at once and with little-to-no guidance.

At the 8th-grade level the goal of Writing Skills is to master effective paragraph writing and to become familiar with essays.  Because the paragraph is the basic building block of an essay, this is a critical skill for communicating ideas.  At the 10th-grade level students learn, in detail, the parts of an essay and begin to develop their own style of writing by drafting two different types of compositions, typically a narrative and then an expository essay.  They also study resume writing and filling out applications — skills necessary for earning college scholarships or grants and for job hunting.  And while seniors do not take a separate Writing Skills class, during the first 9 weeks in English 12, students thoroughly review grammar, mechanics, and writing again, polishing and perfecting their skills.  So, parents, if you hear your children complaining about “all that writing” they have to do, now you know why.

Hillcrest’s teachers work hard and proudly to continue the school’s reputation for creating strong writers who excel in composition both in college and beyond.  For example, every year around Homecoming, recent graduates — often those who struggled while at HCS — return to visit and are excited to tell the high school English teachers, “My Comp. teacher uses my papers as the example for the rest of the class!” or “I have the highest grade in my English class, and everyone else is asking me for help!” Those first-hand testimonies of student successes are “music to a teacher’s ears” and the ultimate goal of Hillcrest’s comprehensive writing instruction.

Eagle Scouts Excel as Leaders

Hillcrest Christian School is proud to claim these 3 young men as our own.  Stephen Dooley and JoJo Moss recently achieved the rank of Eagle Scout within the Boy Scouts of America, and Preston Vaughan is in the process of being awarded this honor.  (Read about his Eagle Scout project in the article, “Nursing students lend artistic hand to scout’s project.”)  And while many of us realize that this is an impressive achievement, we don’t completely understand why.

A young man does not become an Eagle Scout within a few months; it takes years, and only about 5 percent of Boy Scouts complete the work to earn this highest level in Scouting. According to the National Eagle Scout Association, candidates must first advance through the ranks—Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, and Life, by passing specific tests which are organized by requirements and merit badges, demonstrating proficiency in the areas of leadership, service, and outdoor skills.  Of the more-than-130 merit badges available, 21 must be earned to qualify for Eagle Scout, 13 of which are required in areas including First Aid, Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, Communications, Cooking, Environmental Science, Personal Fitness, Personal Management, Camping, and Family Life. In addition, a Scout has a choice between Emergency Preparedness and Lifesaving and a choice among Cycling, Hiking, and Swimming.

Furthermore, at each of his rank advancements, a Scout must conference with his Scoutmaster in order to set goals in line with his talents and abilities and in order that the Scoutmaster may evaluate how well he accomplished his present goal.  Also, at each level after First Class, the Scout must demonstrate leadership by holding positions of responsibility in his patrol and/or troop.  The skills learned in Scouting—citizenship training, character development, and personal fitness—benefit these young men for the rest of their lives, as they enter college and careers, and in understanding the importance of community service.

The Hillcrest family could not be more proud of these 3 juniors and of their achievements!

Winter Athletics

While school took a break for the past 2 weeks, winter sports did not.  Both basketball and soccer are mid-season and still have several games left, and our Cougar athletes have been working hard and will continue to push themselves in order to have successful seasons.

Please continue to come out and support our Cougar basketball and soccer teams.  Junior varsity and varsity basketball will next play this Saturday at Jackson Academy beginning at 2:00 PM.  The Cougar soccer team will play again Tuesday, January 10 at Oak Forest beginning at 5:00 PM.

Back to Reality

Happy 2017, and welcome back!  There were a good many groggy people (not all of them students!) dragging their way into the school buildings this morning, but as everyone spied friendly faces and had some time to catch up with one another after the holidays, moods seemed to improve.  Now comes the business of getting back into the school routine, and with the start of a new semester, many of our scholars will be taking different classes during these last 5 months of school.  For example, students who took trigonometry last semester will tackle pre-calculus this term, and Chemistry II students are now enrolled in physics. Also, a new offering this semester is music appreciation, taught by band director Josh Landrum; this class fulfills the fine arts requirement for graduation if students have not already taken art or band.

Students in 4th-period music appreciation class

More than anything, however, this semester is always a busy one.  Soccer and basketball are still going strong, and spring sports — track and field, baseball, and tennis — will begin soon.  Next, the high school’s Beauty Pageant takes place in 11 days!  Then, before we know it, it will be time for Spiritual Emphasis week, Prom, cheerleader tryouts, elementary field day, awards day, and finally, graduation for the Class of 2017. Not to mention, in the middle of all of these activities, we will still have daily lessons, chapel programs, homework, and yes, juniors and seniors will have the dreaded research papers to contend with.

The spring semester is always a wild whirlwind, and making it successful requires a great deal of planning and dedication on everyone’s parts.  Parents, please don’t forget to check this website, Facebook, Instagram, and Notify messages for regular updates.  Furthermore, as the school year draws closer to its end, it is crucial to keep up with your children’s grades in STI so that you can communicate with teachers if necessary and so that there are no unpleasant surprises at the end of the year.

Above all, let’s remember Colossians 3:23 – 24, which states, ” Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”