Envirothon Wins Again

Yesterday, Hillcrest’s Envirothon teams traveled to Chatauqua Park in Crystal Springs for the Area Envirothon competition.  The A team took 1st place overall, along with top honors in each category of the contest; the B team also performed well, winning 5th place overall.

As a result of their wins, both teams will move on to the State competition to be held at the FFA Center in Raymond on April 28th.  Congratulations!!

Stand Up and Stand Out

In Upper School chapel this morning, Kayla Tate — an 11th-grade cheerleader, and Honor Society and FCA member — shared a message which God has recently put on her heart:  Kayla said she believes that most Christians truly have the desire to live for the Lord, but fears of being rejected or made fun of, as well as expectations about how the world thinks we should live, often prevent our doing as the Bible instructs.  She quoted Psalm 1, verses 1 and 2, which states, “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!  But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.”  Kayla reminded us that in order to know what God expects, we have to read his Word, pray, and live in such a way that others notice and become curious about what makes us different.  Then, she added, we must claim the boldness offered by the Holy Spirit and actually tell others about Jesus and knowing Him as Lord.

In other words, Kayla asked her fellow Christians to STAND UP AND STAND OUT for their faith.  Finally, she asked those of us who were willing to stand up from our seats and to pledge our intentions to stop being afraid or ashamed and to offer each other support as we live boldly for Christ.

While we are often reminded at Hillcrest how blessed we are to be able to proclaim and worship God freely, that blessing is multiplied when Godly wisdom and Biblical truth come from one so young. Thanks, Kayla, for overcoming your own fears and for encouraging the rest of us to do the same.

Where Are They Now? – Leland Chow

Leland Chow attended Hillcrest from first grade until his graduation in 1993.  He then attended the University of Southern Mississippi, graduating in 1997 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice. Chow began his law enforcement career in the Flowood and Madison Police Departments; he spent 18 years working between the two and was a shift supervisor in Madison during his last 8 years there. Currently, Chow works with the Mississippi Gaming Commission, starting as an Investigator/Agent Gaming Regulator. His duties included performing background checks and due diligence on casino employees at the management-levels all the way up to CEOs. Promoted in January to Special Agent in the Enforcement Division, Chow now supervises 6 agents; they cover the Vicksburg District Casinos which includes the cities of Greenville, Vicksburg, and Natchez. Their job is to ensure that casinos are following the regulations set by the state.

Chow wishes to relay the following pieces of advice to current HCS students: “Go and get your college degree!! Try not to take a break from school after graduating from high school. Set your goals short term and long term. Be kind and respect everyone, because one day that person may be your boss, and people will know people and they will not forget! I know college isn’t for everyone; however, that little piece of paper can and will do wonders for you in the long run. A degree will give you the edge over others without it, especially when a promotion comes along and especially those management /director positions.”

8th-Grade Literary Concert

Recently, the 8th-grade English classes ended their study of L.M. Montgomery’s classic novel Anne of Green Gables with a literary concert. Students selected poems from the author’s book of poetry, The Watchman and Other Poems, and recited them before an audience of teachers, other classes, and peers.

Mrs. Harwell introduced the study of Anne of Green Gables with a historical and cultural background of the story’s setting, the author’s homeland: Cavendish (Avonlea), Prince Edward Island, the smallest province of Canada. Though the Cavendish settlement was rural, it was no “cultural backwater.” The Scots, who mainly settled Cavendish, ensured that their children were educated and able to express themselves well in public. To this end, children would put on “school concerts” which consisted of poetry recitation, dramatic readings, and debates. The students not only selected and practiced their poems, readings, and debate topics, but they also made the programs, arranged the seating, and decorated the community hall where the concerts were held.

To mimic this tradition, Mrs. Harwell’s students memorized their poems and rehearsed their performances, and they also made festoons of colorful tissue-paper flowers — Anne’s favorites — to decorate the classroom. Though engaging her students in the background study of the story was important, Mrs. Harwell ultimately hoped to have her students gain the numerous benefits of memorizing poetry. Many educators today are quick to dismiss rote memorization as an unnecessary exercise; however, memorization strengthens the brain for retaining more information, promotes better mental health, provides better recall, benefits the brain for episodic and spatial memory, teaches balance and symmetry, frees the mind for creative activity, improves vocabulary, and staves off cognitive decline. Furthermore, memorization has emotional and spiritual benefits. Poetry gives students a deeper appreciation for the beauty around them as they internalize poetic lines and apply those truths to their life experiences. For example, Christians know that one way to grow closer to God is through his Word, memorizing Scriptures and taking them to heart through faith and obedience: ”Your word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you” – Psalm 119:11.

While the literary concert may have seemed to be just another project to some, Mrs. Harwell had something more in mind than simply to educate; she hopes this exercise helped to prepare her students not only for college, but for an abundant life. Above all, she desires “. . .to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield” (Tennyson) when it comes to the most effective ways of teaching her students.