An old Spanish proverb states, “A full stomach makes a happy heart.” Cougar fans and supporters definitely want to keep our hard-working athletes happy, so the peewee football team and cheerleaders enjoyed a breakfast in their honor before their first game on Tuesday, August 30th.
Since 2012, a small blonde bundle of energy has been practically bouncing through the halls of the HCS upper school; her name is Skylar Patterson, she is a member of the National Honor Society, and she plays short stop for the Lady Cougars softball team.
Perhaps the one quality for which Skylar is best known is her seemingly never-ending reserve of school spirit, which she defines as, “Giving all your appreciation to your school and showing others how thankful you are to be there.” In fact, she says she would love to see everyone at Hillcrest get as excited as she does during school functions. Skylar can easily be spotted at pep rallies, sports events, and even some assemblies cheering, dancing, and convincing as many people as possible to join her. Some of her happiest memories at Hillcrest happened when several members of the Class of 2015 dubbed themselves “the Hype Squad” and spread their enthusiasm for cheering for the varsity boys’ basketball team at every home game to a majority of the student body. Believing in our teams, pumping up the players and the crowd, and adding to everyone’s enjoyment is what Skylar says “it’s all about.”
Outside of school Skylar’s favorite moments are spent with her friends and making memories by having the best time possible in every circumstance. Similarly, her advice to her peers at HCS is to “live it up because you only get one chance at high school, and when you get older, you’re going to want to laugh about the good times.” Even her favorite bible verse, Philippians 3:14, reflects this idea of making the most of every moment: “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Skylar Patterson is an expert when it comes to living in the now, but she also has big plans for the future. After graduation, she plans to attend Hinds Community College before transferring to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in order to become a nurse.
Kayla Thornton is a 2010 graduate of Hillcrest who played in the One Spirit, One Sound band and served as drum major in her final year at HCS; she also was a member of Envirothon, Quiz Bowl, and Honor Society during her high school career. Kayla was voted as Most Talented by the upper school student body and graduated as Salutatorian of her class, earning numerous scholarships toward the college of her choice.
Kayla accepted a vocal scholarship to Delta State University and was a member of both the Delta State Chorale and the Delta Singers during her time there. She was also active in numerous other areas of campus life, including Kappa Delta sorority, Omicron Delta Kappa (a national leadership honor society for college juniors or seniors who rank in the upper 35 percent of their class), Alpha Epsilon Delta (the national health pre-professional honor society), and she was a staff member of The Broom, Delta State’s yearbook, serving as Editor-in-Chief during her senior year. Thornton graduated with cum laude honors in 2014, having earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry.
At present, Kayla is a Pharm.D. candidate at Union University’s School of Pharmacy in Jackson, Tennessee. Despite the amount of time required for study and keeping necessary certifications up-to-date in this very demanding field, she continues to take part in numerous community service projects, and she is a member of several professional pharmaceutical organizations, such as the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP), the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), and Christian Pharmacists Fellowship International (CPFI). Thornton currently serves as president of Union’s chapter of Phi Lambda Sigma, the pharmacy leadership society, and she was recently awarded the Walgreens Diversity and Inclusion Excellence Scholarship.
If her past is any indication of her future, Kayla Thornton is nowhere near finished adding to her already long list of accomplishments and honors, and Hillcrest continues to be proud to call her one of its most distinguished alumni.
Part of the mission statement of Hillcrest Christian School is to “cultivate an atmosphere of joyful thanksgiving” (Colossians 1:12). One of the best ways for believers to raise personal awareness of how much we have to be thankful for is to serve others. For this reason, Hillcrest teaches its students from a young age that there are a multitude of ways to help not only those who are struggling, but even to “lend a hand” or to say a kind word to anyone who seems to have a need.
One of the many ways HCS promotes this idea is with Cougar Patrol; this is a service in which fifth and sixth-grade lower school students may participate. Their job is to help hurried (and maybe even harried!) parents get their elementary students out of the car in an organized manner in the mornings before school and then to make sure those children get into the school building safely.
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
Collaborative learning (also called group work or peer learning) has students working in pairs or small groups to discuss ideas or to find solutions to problems after having been introduced to new material. Similar to the idea that “two heads are better than one,” many instructors find that students teach each other and address misunderstandings or clear up misconceptions in ways that might be easier for their classmates to comprehend.
Research from the Cornell University Center for Teaching Excellence shows that some of the benefits of collaborative learning include the following:
- Development of higher-level thinking, oral communication, self-management, and leadership skills.
- Increase in student retention, self-esteem, and responsibility.
- Exposure to and an increase in understanding of diverse perspectives.
- Preparation for real life social and employment situations.
Encouraging students to work together to find solutions is only one of many methods used at Hillcrest to create tomorrow’s thinkers and leaders.
Sophomores in Writing Skills work to put mixed-up essays back in logical order.