It’s always a joy when former students pay a visit to their “old” teachers and school to share memories, but it’s a special blessing when alumni return in order to share their love of the Lord and their life experiences with current Hillcrest students. Chandler Key — HCS Class of 2014 and Hall of Fame member — is in his third year of study at Mississippi College, majoring in Christian Studies with a focus in Ministry. He also has recently taken the job of youth minister/director at Hillcrest Baptist Church in Byram. Chandler returned to Hillcrest’s Upper School today to speak during Chapel; his message was a reminder to students, faculty, and staff that all believers have access to God all the time, due to the sacrifice of his son Jesus. Our responsibility, then, is to spend time with Him, not just as part of a community, but one-on-one in prayer and Bible study.
Christians also have a responsibility to care for others when we see a need. Proverbs 14:31 states, “Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but helping the poor honors him.” To this end, Hillcrest will be sponsoring Christmas giving projects — one among elementary students, and the another in the Upper School — to help children who may not otherwise have any gifts to open on Christmas morning. Upper School students who want to participate should bring a bag of candy and 5 one-dollar toys. These items will fill stockings for approximately 80 needy children (between the ages of 3 and 10) who live in the metro area. The deadline to bring items is Thursday, December 1st. The Lower School is sponsoring a “Giving Tree.” Elementary parents, please ask your children to share what they know about this service project, and detailed messages were sent today on Notify.
Hillcrest families have always been generous to those who are in need, and no doubt, we will once again meet (or surpass) our giving goals to help metro-area children have a Merry Christmas too.
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.