We left the boys smiling, eventually meandering back to the church for a worship service. During the boisterous singing and clapping, six young boys stepped from the darkness of the street to the church stoop. Their faces lit up the room. All five of Jerry's friends showed up to the church service, Jerry by their side, and we praised the Lord together, as brothers.
Hearts pound as families embrace. Excited smiles mix with nervous laughter as students board the bus that tangibly represents the beginning of something new.
I had a growing fear that I was alone when we all finally jumped into the bus to head off to our overnight in Minneapolis. In the weeks before boarding the bus I told all my mission peers that I was scared because I was going alone.
Today, the team left the front steps of Hillcrest to greet our friends in the Dominican Republic. Prayers were said after the team collected for a final group picture in the United States. The team will arrive in the Dominican Republic tomorrow afternoon, where they will travel right away to an outreach event, sharing the Gospel story through love, open conversations, and large group Gospel presentations.
Hillcrest has performed very well in academic competition. The Tri-College Math hardware is being installed as students are getting back final scores on their SAT test and Hillcrest prepares to update their students' scores. All this happens in the background as the Knowledge Bowl team is eyeing wall space for their upcoming run at the State meet.
Teams are only as strong as their weakest member. In athletics, teams strategize to exploit weak opponents to topple strong teams. In academic competitions, it matters greatly that everyone is at a similar level. The Comets have success, noting 10 first place plaques that go back a decade hanging near Hillcrest's stairway, because the classroom is a place where all students benefit in the Castle.
Of the 11 pieces Hillcrest carried to the art competition, only 8 will travel back to the Castle. The other three have been requested for special display in the Lake Region Arts Council's McKnight Gallery at 137 S. Mill Street. The students are invited to a special reception honoring the competitors from the Visual Art Festival on Wednesday, April 12 from 5-6pm at the McKnight Gallery.
Nearly two years ago, 28 Danielson students found out they’d been selected to attend Hillcrest Academy in Fergus Falls, Minnesota for the 2015-16 school year as part of a program that has continued between our schools for almost thirty years. There was much to do in getting these students ready for their visit to the States, not the least of which was to prepare them spiritually. Knowing that they would be far from home, far from family and friends for the better part of a year, one teacher shared this passage from Acts 17:24-27...
Hillcrest's knowledge bowl teams have been dominant this year. First place medals usually don the necks of the top team, while Hillcrest's other three teams elbow their way on to the podium as the season winds down to the regional competition. Wednesday saw Hillcrest's top team leave the field of schools they normally compete against, hunting for more competition. The results saw the Comets board the bus with a larger medal and a greater sense of how they can improve in the coming weeks.
Many might not see beyond Newman's smiling face as he holds his 1000 point scoring sign. But what should follow in the conversation on scoring is the quiet confidence and focus that Kyler leads the team with. While scoring 1000 points is an incredible feat, the more impressive action may be what happens in the huddle at mid-court before each game.
There was a unique tension in the halls Monday as the Lady Comets moved from class to class with heightened expectation. A host of girls shared that they weren't ready for the season to end. One spoke of drinking 32 ounces of water in a half hour as she thought through the game. This sense of excitement carried to the court, where the Lady Comets took care of business Monday night with a 59-41 win over Rothsay.
Jake Steinle is known as a caring and generous student. He has made a great impact on his fellow students during his time at Hillcrest through his thoughtful commentary and his consistent attention in caring for others. In this brief testimony he shares how God is currently molding and shaping him.
Few things are more rattling than free throws. Boisterous gyms can grow either suddenly still or insanely distracting in seconds, with all eyes on a player standing 15 feet from the backboard. Most players have an ingrained ritual that helps calm nerves as they work to earn a single point with a single shot. For Hillcrest, a series of single points lifted their score over a very talented and mentally tough Ortonville team Tuesday night. The Comets pushed the game into overtime and walked into the locker room with a 62-56 win.
Students streamed into chapel this morning to Mr. Peterson spinning a shapeless lump of clay on center stage. As he worked, he began to talk to them and they leaned forward to see what he would do/say next. From time to time, he dipped his hands in water and ran them over the clay as it circled ‘round and ‘round.
The Lady Comets huddled at mid-court Monday night with smiles beaming after beating Ashby by 1 point in their second win under interim Coach Zach Nersten. An 11 point deficit didn't keep the Comets from a powerful second half in beating the Arrows 59-57.
Coach Syverson went on to express respect for how the Hillcrest boys conducted themselves in the midst of extreme back-and-forth intensity. As the coaches were talking together, he pointed to the students and players who were helping stack folding chairs and picking up trash in the stands while waiting to load their bus for the ride home.
The second double header in four days saw the Lady Comets heat up the gym for the guys. Saturday night the Lady Comets overcame a 20 point deficit in Oak Grove, which saw the boys take the court and follow suit on their way to an exciting victory. Wednesday night was more of the same when Underwood made the trip to the Hillcrest gym in a neighborhood double-header.
The Comets stood before a room of 100 of the region's smartest students with tints of red and blue reflecting on their smiles. The final awards of the day, marking the top places in the meet, carried Hillcrest's name which seemed to echo as the Comets took first place, with two other Hillcrest teams tying for second in the 20 team meet Tuesday.
Senior Luke Bowman used Comedy to communicate some of the ways God is changing Luke during his time at Hillcrest.
Kyler Newman's street clothes replaced his Hillcrest uniform as he rested and watched his team grit out a hard fought game against Ashby last night. With Newman sitting next to the coaches for the game, Hillcrest looked down the bench and saw a number rise to the occasion despite surprisingly falling cold from the floor in shooting a mere 36%. Hillcrest relied on hard work and their defense in battling to a 55-43 victory.