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Comets Lose to Wolverines 7-3

In the first inning, Comets took a 3-0 lead over the Wolverines in CGB Tuesday afternoon. After the first inning, Jordan Bauer came into relief for the Wolverines and held the Comets to 2 hits and 0 runs in his 5 innings on the mound. 

The Comets gave up their 3-0 lead to the Wolverines over 4 innings. The Comets gave the Wolverines 4 runs off of countless Comets errors or mistakes in the field. The Wolverines didn't get a hit during there 4 run rally. The Wolverines only had 3 hits during the 7 inning game, but they added 3 extra runs in the 6th inning stretching the lead to 7-3. 

The Comets walked 9 batters and hit 2 batters, it was a disappointing game for the Comets and can hopefully bounce back against the Trojans Friday night. With the loss the Comets drop to 2-2 on the season. 

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Rivendell Presentation Sheds Light to Collegiate Future for Students

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Rivendell Presentation Sheds Light to Collegiate Future for Students

A soft hush came over Hillcrest students during Wednesdays chapel. The slide on the projector screen changed to Mr. T holding his gold chains tightly, while a caricature of Jesus, winking and giving a thumbs-up, told the 80's superstar to, "Stay over there, and I'll stay over here." The image startled a few students, who leaned to their neighbor in a whisper, trying to discover who Mr. T is. Jason Poarch, a college representative from Rivendell Sanctuary, interrupted with an explanation. The unconventional presentation was a post-high school explanation that gave students more to think about than their future institution's cafeteria food and course offerings.

Rivendell is an organization Hillcrest has grown to appreciate, due to the school's desire to train students to impact culture. During the presentation the representative outlined Richard Niebuhr's 5 Views of Christ & Culture. Students listened to an explanation of Niebuhr's explanation of Christ against culture, Christ and culture in paradox, Christ as culture transformer, Christ above culture, and Christ of culture. 

The presentation shifted to explain that Christ is not against culture, saying we shouldn't watch any movies. But at the same time Christ is not a superstar, in the sense that His role is to be popular. Students listened as the presenter identified Christ as a culture transformer; with students being drawn to think about their history courses, literature class, and mathematics instruction where people changed the world due to the Holy Spirit's work in their lives.

The discussion shifted to the college campus, where the representative called students to think of their time on the campus as a time to see Christ. Jesus transforms how cultures and societies operate, and when a student looks at college they should look to see where God is at work and if the education is one that drives them to understand God's design, or if the education is clouding or avoiding God's imprint on society.

As students left the chapel there was a genuine pause in the hallways. Colleges recruit students often at Hillcrest Academy. Many boast of facilities or opportunities in their institution. In contrast, students heard today that education is deeply personal and should be thought through more than simply if the lunch menu fits the carnal hopes of the student body.

Hillcrest's administration sat comfortably in their chairs after hearing the presentation. The message was a reverberation in the halls from the words spoken to students from Hillcrest faculty and staff. Hillcrest is pleased to encourage, welcome, and educate side-by-side with Rivendell.

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Warriors Beat Comets in Extra Innings

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Warriors Beat Comets in Extra Innings

The Comets pushed 1 runner across in the first inning to take an early 1-0 lead over the Warriors Friday afternoon, but that wasn't enough to stave off the respected Warriors in the Comets home opener.

The Warriors jumped ahead 2-1 off a few errors by the Comets in the 3rd inning. With Chris Tungseth stepping off the mound, and the Comet fielders dusting off their gloves, Hillcrest took to their bats and answered in the 4th, scoring both Chris Tungseth and Jared Christenson who led off the inning with base hits. Jordan Foss tapped an expert bunt that led to a base hit and scored Christenson from third. With Tungseth advancing across the diamond on the play he took a taunting lead during the next at bat. Drawing a pick-off attempt that hit the third base fence, Tungseth crossed home plate with a smile, and the Comets stood tall with a 3-2 lead.

Boe Brunson, of the Wheaton Warriors, tied the game 3-3 with a 2-out single in the 6th. Deadlocked at 3-3, the game progressed into extra innings. After a scoreless frame the Comets made two errors in the top of the ninth. Wheaton manufactured 2 hits following the mistakes, scoring Brunson and Blake Coffman taking the lead 5-3. Hillcrest couldn't produce an offensive run against Wheaton's Eric Schwegel, who pitched the inning contest to completion and picked-up the win.  

The Comets left the bases loaded twice and commited 5 errors as a team. Eric Schwegel sat down 6 Comets on strikes during the contest, allowing only 8 hits in 9 innings. Tungseth followed Schwegel, going 9 innnings as well, only giving up 2 earned runs.

Coach Steve Undseth was optomistic following the hardfought loss this early in the season, "We had a couple chances for big innings...In a tight game like this, that is often the difference...Chris has had too many tough luck losses like this the past couple years, but the season is still young, and we are looking forward to some more big pitching performances out of him before we're done.

This tough loss drops the Comets to 2-1 on the season. 

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Abby Taylor's Home-run Adds to Lady Comets' 10 Run Rally

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Abby Taylor's Home-run Adds to Lady Comets' 10 Run Rally

Abby Taylor's first career home-run propelled the Comets to an exciting win, positioning the Lady Comets in a unique place in the conference. The Comets ousted Ortonville 14-11 after a 10 run rally in the final two innings.

The first three innings of Thursday nights game saw the Comets bats in a quiet state. Assessing pitching and holes in the defense, Craig Nersten ramped-up his team. With sun starting to set on the fourth and fifth innings the Lady Comets took to the batter's box and strung-out 20 hits. 

Everyone on the team started clicking and feeding off the excitement and coaching they received from the third-base coaching box. Nersten called in signs, the Comets stepped in to the plate with orders, and delivered results that shocked the Ortonville Trojans. 

Laying down bunts, line drives over second base, and a home run tallied together a group of highlights that had the Comets forgetting their struggles in the first three frames. "Laura (Tungseth) threw a lot of good pitches, Kari (Simonsen) bunted well for us, and Mackenzie (Dunsmore) along with Sophie Iverson started to hit really well," noted Nersten following his team's final rally. 

The Comets saw Megan Aasness, Abby Taylor, Mackenzie Dunsmore, Kari Simonsen and Laura Tungseth each tally 3 hits in the box score as the game concluded. Tungseth provided a solid presence at the plate to help her cause in earning the win after pitching threw some tough streaks in Ortonville's line-up.

The Comets are coming off a two week Easter vacation that has limited practice. As the team continues to hone their skills there is a strong promise for more rallys and exciting plays coming from the Comet bench. "Although our defense needs some tweaking, we had a lot of positives today...Maddie Veum filled in at first base...(and) Kelly Dzialo returned from Spring Break and was able to get in the lineup for the first time and looks like she's just about ready."

The Comets look forward to tough games versus Clinton-Graceville-Beardsely and Wheaton next week.

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Undseth Strings-out Another Multi-hit Game while McGuire Dominates From the Mound

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Undseth Strings-out Another Multi-hit Game while McGuire Dominates From the Mound

Sophomore ace Sean McGuire led his Hillcrest Comets with an incredible performance, allowing 4 hits and striking out 6 batters Thursday night. 

"It was an extremely well pitched game by both players," noted Hillcrest coach Steve Undseth. "I am so proud of Sean; he is only a sophomore and already shows such poise on the mound and the plate." The Comet hurler kicked the dust off the rubber and stared down the plate each inning, never facing more than 4 batters in a frame.

McGuire's confidence was high as he stood on the mound, likely due to Hillcrest's quick-strike offense. Senior Evan Malmstrom led-off by reaching base, joined by McGuire before Chris Tungseth sent them home with a ripping line drive single to center that couldn't be fielded by Brandon-Evansville's center-fielder. 

As the sun started to set on the game, a soft orange hue rising on the players backs, Senior Jared Christenson crushed a double down the left field line. A series of strong at-bats earned the Comets their scoring inspite of Brandon-Evansville's top pitcher, Tom Bosek's 11 strike-outs.

Bosek allowed one earned run throughout the contest, with errors extending offensive opportunities for the Comets. Brandon-Evansville coach Brian Perleberg was impressed with the way the teams played. "Give Hillcrest credit as they played a very nice ballgame. The game was close all the way, and both defenses made huge plays on the other team's base runners."

The Comets play host to Wheaton, another accomplished team, on Friday, April 17 at 5pm. 

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Arrows Win Conference Opener Against Lady Comets

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Arrows Win Conference Opener Against Lady Comets

The Ashby softball team faced the Hillcrest Comets for their first conference game. The Arrows won 9-3, they had a good hitting performance with 10 hits. 

The Comets scored 3 runs, they had 5 hits and 1 walk. Laura Tungseth pitched the entire game and for the Arrows Abbi Ras pitched all 7 innings. She faced 33 batters struck out 15 Comets in the conference game.

The Comets, coming off of a long 2 week break, played very well in the field. "Megan Aasness covered a lot of area at the shortstop position," says teammate Madylen Veum. 

The Comets will look to pick up their first win in Ortonville Thursday April 16 at 5:00. 

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Comets Pitching Leads Way to Opener Win

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Comets Pitching Leads Way to Opener Win

Web-gems are plays in baseball that defy convention. Quick feet and good form usually put players in position for routine plays. But plays that shouldn't be made are web-gems, plays that fans want to watch over and over again. Hillcrest produced a few web-gems in their on-the-road-opener Monday night, promising exciting times from the Hillcrest diamond.

"Our fielding was solid, with a couple double plays," noted Hillcrest Coach Steve Undseth. "I was pleased with the way we played our first game of the season." Hillcrest used three pitchers, with the win going to senior Jared Christenson following his 5 innings of hitless work from the mound. With support from his fielders, Christenson turned to watch his defense help with his win. Sophomore Sean McGuire dazzled fans, and his coach, with a web-gem worthy play. "Sean, at shortstop...threw out a guy while lying down and seemingly not even looking at first base. Just a phenomenal play," recalls Coach Undseth. 

McGuire and Reggie Undseth went 3 for 4 on the day, with McGuire putting together a highlight game in the first contest of the season as he provided a triple, RBI, stole 4 bases, and sat Ashby down in order in the 7th inning.

Hillcrest gave-up one run on one hit in the 4 to 1 win over the Ashby Arrows. They play in Evansville on Thursday at 5pm.

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Choir Tour Closes with Home Concert Testimonies in Celebration

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Choir Tour Closes with Home Concert Testimonies in Celebration

Kara Nash gingerly walked to the front of Hope church's sanctuary in Everett, Washington. After singing with Hillcrest Academy's Jazz Choir, Nash now stood before an audience of Hillcrest supporters to share the impact a personal relationship with Jesus has had in her life. 

 

Nash traveled through the Pacific-Northwest, sharing in song and testimony, as part of Hillcrest's Choir Tour. The tour is an annual tradition at Hillcrest, continuing through nearly seventy-five years of students who travel across the United States visiting churches and landmarks. Students are known to pass time with on-bus talent shows and impromptu singspirations led by students armed with guitars and a seat to hit in time with the beat of songs.


Nash will join fellow senior J.K. Lee to share testimonies of God's faithfulness, at their home concert. The testimonies will mark transitions in the concert, that will feature Hillcrest's Easter Concert, with songs from Africa, early America, and Europe with Latin and early church genres presented.


Hillcrest is titling the concert a Song and Testimony Celebration. Many of the stories  haven't been heard by the public. The celebration will occur on Sunday, April 19 at Good Shepherd Lutheran Brethren Church, beginning at 6pm with an ice cream social to follow. 

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Hillcrest Track and Field

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Hillcrest Track and Field

Allen Aase will start his 9th year as Hillcrest's track and field teams coach and his returning team has promise.

The Comets bring back section qualifier Eric Konynenbelt and Abigail Christenson. Both competed in longer distance races, carrying both experience and leadership for Hillcrest's young team that is primed to give fans something to cheer about.

Other returning runners are Kevy and Vanessa Konynenbelt, Tommy Thompson, Hans Frank-Holzner, and Toby Simonsen. Following Hillcrest's two-week Easter vacation, the track team is looking forward to reconnecting as many runners conditioned on the Dominican mission trip and 8 day choir tour.

Track meets begin this week for the squad, that looks forward to building solid relationships on the heels of their hardwork and diligence in conditioning. Hillcrest specializes in long distance events, but is primed to compete in shorter sprints and other field events with newcomers to the program. The first meet is Thursday, April 16 at Pelican Rapids Secondary School.

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Hillcrest Boys and Girls Basketball Awards

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Hillcrest Boys and Girls Basketball Awards

Hillcrest placed a capstone on the Basketball season by celebrating successes. Senior Jake Isaac was named Player of the Year for the Comets. The cornerstone player set a school record for career free throw percentage (84%) and achieved the accolade of second place on Hillcrest's all-time leading scorer board. Reggie Undseth was voted defensive player of the year, and Ben Herzog received the 6th man award. Micah Jones' consistent leadership with the team earned him the coveted Christian Testimony award. 

The Lady Comets awarded Megan Aasness the team MVP. She was also recognized as an All-Conference player for the Pheasant Conference. Laura Tungseth recieved the Christian character award, and recieved honorable mention from the conference. Lydia Tostenson was recognized with an honorable mention distinction as well. Abby Taylor recieved the Hustle Award, Abby Christenson recieved Most Improved Player, and Sophie Iverson recieved the Most Spirit Award. 

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Preston is Named Coach of the Year in Pheasant Conference

After Hillcrest goes undefeated in the Pheasant Conference the Conference named Gregg Preston Coach of the Year. Also Jake Isaac, a senior of the Comets, was named conference Co-MVP with Ortonville senior Riley Thompson. 

Jake Isaac, Evan Malmstrom, and Chris Tungseth recieved all-conference selection. Micah Jones was an honorable mention. 

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Hillcrest Visits Capitol to Share Stories of Changed Lives

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Hillcrest Visits Capitol to Share Stories of Changed Lives

The school van started slowly at 5am last Thursday. Journalism instructor Wayne Stender stopped in front of Hillcrest's main doors to meet five students. The van warmed as Hillcrest's main doors opened and the students descended the stairs. The ladies wore high heels and business attire, the young men were presentable, wearing a shirt-and-tie in their Sunday best. They were advancing to the State Capitol to learn how to communicate with representatives. Their mission Thursday was to share the impact of private schools.

Hillcrest belongs to the Minnesota Independent School Forum (MISF). The Forum organizes political advocacy for private schools. The event on Thursday, March 19 was a private school advocacy day where MISF organized speakers to communicate the value of private education in the state of Minnesota. While the event was designed for administrators, Stender arranged a group of students to attend, "I think sometimes we forget the role citizens play in government. We talk a lot about being involved in government at Hillcrest, so this trip is natural in our program."

Students listened to Senate Minority Leader David Hann share details on the Educational Savings Accounts for Student with Special Needs Act. Hann shared that, "One of the biggest challenges in education is designing special education programs that meet the unique needs of our students. This proposal puts parents right in the center of the decision making process, because they know better than anyone how to help their children." The proposed act would give parents of children with special needs the power to choose the best educational options for their kids. It allows parents to use their child's per pupil funding and allocated special needs education dollars in ways that can optimally serve their child. The parents could direct their state-allocated per-pupil funding for education related therapies, tuition and fees at nonpublic schools specializing in a therapy or disability, textbooks and tutoring, or other education resources.

MISF coordinated with groups to train administrators to visit with representatives at the Capitol as part of the advocacy day. Hillcrest students feverishly took notes, holding a side-meeting with Stender to discuss the bills and how they impact Hillcrest. Huddling together, the group outlined basic points they would present in 15 minutes for the representatives. 

The students arrived in Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen's office shortly after noon. Their appointment with the Assistant Minority Leader, representative for District 8, started with handshakes and smiles. Julie Kasulis was the first to speak. As a tutor in Hillcrest's Online Learning Lab, Kasulis spoke to the intentional arrangement of the program. The Learning Lab, as Kasulis called it, is a classroom where students with learning difficulties sit side-by-side with students taking college classes online. The innovative classroom allows students who are struggling with a subject to receive support from fellow classmates, while also receiving attention from paraprofessionals. 

As Kasulis closed her presentation, Hillcrest senior Kevy Konynenbelt shared her excitement for the opportunity the bill affords families. She spoke to the benefit in seeking smaller learning settings with the freedoms a nonpublic school offers. JeeHoon Park, a representative of the student body from South Korea, shared a story of how Hillcrest supports students who have difficulties in traditional classrooms. He referenced chapel presentations and special concerts that students with alternative learning styles conduct on Hillcrest's campus as part of the student body. 

The students closed the day visiting Representative Bud Nornes, Chair of the Education Policy and Finance committee. The 10 term representative listened intently as students shared the value of their experience at Hillcrest. Kasulis highlighted how Hillcrest's small environment caused her to build patience working with friends and tutoring students. Evan Malmstrom from Battle Lake, MN spoke to his preparation and desire to serve in law enforcement. Stender also shared important points in the meetings, notably the economic impact nonpublic schools have on private businesses and the state education program. 

The group congregated near the rotunda following their day at the Capitol. Kasulis recalled how easy it was to visit with representatives. Stender noted that students saw good examples of public servants. "We didn't have a meeting setup with Bud (Nornes). So we were walking to his office to tell his secretary we stopped in. We saw him in the hallway and he opened his office door and spent forty-five minutes with us. It was incredible for our students to see."

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Hillcrest Tournament Unites Churches

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Hillcrest Tournament Unites Churches

The H.I.T. division 1A championship game launched into action with hundreds of eyes on the two competing teams. Both teams stood poised, ready for the title, bringing two days full of success into their evening championship game. The matchup will go down in the history books of the Hillcrest Invitational Tournament, marking the 49th annual weekend where 84 games were played in an effort to unite the Church of the Lutheran Brethren around the game of Basketball.

The Hillcrest Invitational Tournament, commonly known as H.I.T.'s, unites alumni, local churches, family and friends from coast-to-coast each year. Since the first gathering 49 years ago, area churches from New York, to California have descended on Fergus Falls to play basketball in area gyms, creating an iconic event that is a special part of the fabric of Hillcrest Academy.

Hillcrest students watched as players arrived in church vans and buses. Icy Hot and knee braces emerged from worn duffle bags as men and women gathered, giving hugs and telling stories of their time at Hillcrest. The weekend is a special time for alumni and friends of Hillcrest to gather around and reconnect.

This year a number of Hillcrest students pulled teams together to be a part of the action. Norway was represented, bearing jerseys with their team name, The Trolls, made up of this year’s Danielsen students. Team Korea’s roster bore the name of only three Koreans. Students from China, Canada, India and the United States. The two prominent international cultures of Hillcrest left their mark on the tournament. Unfortunately, neither team came out on top of their group. Jeehoon Park, Team Korea's captain, said, “We tried, but it just didn’t work. It’s not about winning the game, so it was just fun to play with a bunch of people.“

The 1A championship game intrigued everyone’s interest. The fierce competition and skill of Triumph NDSU and Toronto 3 was proven on the court. Matching each other point for point throughout much of the first half, the game seemed looked like it could go into double overtime. However, during the final minute of the gameToronto 3 pulled away with heroic shooting and two important steals. Iconic white H.I.T. Champion hats emerged from behind the score board as each team posed for pictures to post on social media and display at church the following Sunday.

Anticipating next year’s 50th annual tournament, 2016 calendars have been marked and many more teams are gathering for the celebration of the important event for Hillcrest Academy.

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Hillcrest's 3 Teams Earn Honors at Regional Knowledge Bowl Meet

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Hillcrest's 3 Teams Earn Honors at Regional Knowledge Bowl Meet

Chairs shuffled in the hall outside Life Church's sanctuary. Hans Holzner, Thomas Martinson, Reggie Undseth, Sam Isaac and Ellen Jacobs, Hillcrest's Sophomore Knowledge Bowl team, pulled their chairs in at their table for the written test and gazed towards the first place trophy. Scoring 45 points in the test, and outscoring opponents in the oral rounds, put Hillcrest in the lead of the six school regional Knowledge Bowl meet, earning Hillcrest a state berth in the process.

Hillcrest earned three of the six spots at the regional competition. Presenting their academic prowess, Hillcrest's Sophomore and Freshman team are showing their school to be a force in academic competition.

The written test at the regional meet placed Hillcrest's teams in second, third, and sixth place. As the squads sat down for the competitive oral rounds they knew they had ground to make up. The top two teams at the regional meet move-on to State competition. Hillcrest's goal was to grasp the two tickets available for State.

Gathering in separate rooms throughout the church, Hillcrest's teams went to work competing against Wheaton, Park Christian, and Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley. With three teams representing their school, Hillcrest's students felt comfortable with the competition and were primed to shine in the oral rounds.

Rapid-fire questions caused students to whisper, buzzing in with their team's button to solve complex math problems and provide answers to history and geography questions at an alarming rate. The Sophomore team pulled into first place with a two point lead after the first oral round. Hillcrest's Freshman and Senior squads followed, sixteen and five points off the pace respectively.

Over the following rounds the Sophomore team jolted the competition. A decisive third round provided a five point lead for the Comets, who closed the day with ninety-six points. The Senior team, Luke Jennen, Jonathan Eckhardt, Lucas Holzner, Matthew Lein, and Daniel Preston, placed third. Zak Zwiers, Eric Konynenbelt, Sam Ihrke, Danny Isaac, and Shantanu Mallick placed sixth, gathering valuable experience as the only all-freshman team at the regional competition.

The state competition is held at Cragun's Resort in Brainerd, MN on April 9 and 10. With the competition overlapping Hillcrest's choir tour, and most of the first place Sophomore team attending the Choir tour, they are forced to sit-out of the state competition. Because Hillcrest's Senior team placed third, they will take the vacated spot of the first place Sophomore team, as two teams from regional competition move to the State rounds. Four of the five Freshman knowledge-bowlers will also be on the Choir tour in April. Hillcrest's academic, athletic, and fine arts programs provide their small school a wide breadth of opportunities and experiences. The Knowledge Bowl program is no exception, as evidenced by the team's successes and accolades from their competition this year.

 

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Dominican Mission Team Prepares for Departure

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Dominican Mission Team Prepares for Departure

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Twenty seniors are set to leave the comforts of home to befriend strangers in a third-world country. Its scary, intimidating, and completely exciting. 

Hillcrest's senior class is offered the opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic as part of their senior class mission experience. The group's preparation started in August with prayer teams and paperwork and is culminating in street testimony scenarios and singing songs in Spanish. 

Hillcrest adopted the Santa Fe school in the Dominican Republic in 2007. Diverting their mission work from Chihuahua, Mexico after nearly 10 years or ministry, Hillcrest selected the Dominican Republic as a new mission location as Mexico grew unsafe due to drug cartels south of the border. Since starting their relationship with Hillcrest, Santa Fe has purchased land from the Dominican government, built two new school buildings with classrooms, is starting to offer adult education, and is looking forward to building business opportunities for people in their surrounding village.

In Monday's commissioning service for the 2015 Dominican team, trip leader Gregg Preston recounted how Hillcrest's friendship with the school is impacting the community surrounding Santa Fe. "We have gone down and we share Christ with them. What happens after we left is that the school said, 'this group from the states shares the Gospel with us. What we should do is share it with our neighborhood.'" Preston outlined how the leadership at Santa Fe is taking their students to the surrounding community where vodoo and witchcraft rule. The leadership take their students door to door and share the Gospel. One day they were going to to share the Gospel in the neighborhoods the parents stopped the administration and said they wanted to join them. Preston testifies that he and his colleagues have witnessed the Gospel transform the neighborhoods in the Dominican Republic.

The group is set to depart at 2pm on Wednesday, March 25. The group will return Wednesday, April 1 and will share their mission experiences in April and May to surrounding churches, schools, and business leaders.

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Comets Sweep-in Medals at Knowledge Bowl Meet

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Comets Sweep-in Medals at Knowledge Bowl Meet

A legacy is forming for Hillcrest's Knowledge Bowl team. As Hans Holzner approached the front of the room to receive his medal he did so projecting a line of success that is likely to follow Hillcrest for years to come. All three Hillcrest squads will move-on to the sub-section round, a significant feat as Hillcrest took 3 of the top 6 places to earn the trip.

Hillcrest started out the day with their top squad ranking 3rd against the 53 team backdrop. 16 schools brought the best and brightest to the meet, with Hillcrest providing 3 teams of its own. Following the first round, Hillcrest's top team earned 12 points and moved into fourth place. Over the next three rounds they mustered enough points to move beyond teams from Park Christian, Hancock, Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley, and another Hillcrest team to take 1st place over the entire competition. 

As Hans Holzner, Reggie Undseth, Thomas Martinson, Sam Isaac, and Ellen Jacobs sat down with their first place medals, Hillcrest's other teams were preparing to rise. Luke Jennen, Jonathan Eckhardt, Matthew Lein, Lucas Holzner, and Daniel Preston took to the podium next as they gathered their fourth place medals. They were passed by Hillcrest's 1st place team in the third round and passed the baton to the underclassmen who are fearlessly representing their school.

Hillcrest's 6th place team, consisting of Zak Zweirs, Eric Konynenbelt, Shantanu Mallick, Danny Isaac, and Sam Ihrke organized an amazing third round. Scoring an unprecedented 20 points, the freshman team moved into the sixth place spot and beat Wheaton with a tie-breaker to earn a seat at the regional meet on March 24 at Life church.

The Comets have pulled together a number of incredible performances at Knowledge Bowl meets this year. Earlier competitions in large school divisions have prepared students to compete with confidence in the smaller school divisions. Students are looking forward to the opportunity of representing Hillcrest in the state meet on April 9 and 10 at Cragun's Resort.


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Comets Lead at Vocal Contest

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Comets Lead at Vocal Contest

The silence was deafening in the wake of Laura Tungseth's solo. The judge slowly lowered his eyes to his score card and raised his pen. Following a few seconds of notes, the judge gushed with admiration for Laura's piece. She earned a perfect score, an elusive award at a vocal contest.

The Vocal Solo and Ensemble Contest is highlight for students, who prepare and perfect a musical piece to perform for a respected judge, receiving feedback and a score. If the piece is particularly moving, the judge will ask the group to perform a second time, stopping the group at various places in the piece to give instruction and encouragement.

This year the contest was held at MSUM. All Chamber Choir members were required to participate in the event. Hillcrest was impressive throughout the day, earning six superior ratings and two excellent marks. Laura Tungseth's perfect score was touted as a prime achievement for the group.

The bus ride home was buzzing as students recalled the Jazz choir's piece. They sang Stand By Me, and the judge was so impressed that he asked the group to sing it again. As the group closed the first stanza of the song the judge led Hillcrest's singers in a march on stage as he danced and tapped his feet to the syncopation of the bass line. 

The accolades of a superior, or even an excellent rating, encourages students. Many times the lone concert or occasional church solo provides little feedback. Music contests propels students to work harder and use the judges suggestions to hone pieces. The day is also a fun time for students to connect with each other around music and recognize personal achievements. It provides students the opportunity to look at critique in a positive light, inspiring them to look forward to the next contest.

 

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Hillcrest Honors Scholars with NHS Induction

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Hillcrest Honors Scholars with NHS Induction

Students filed into Hillcrest's Chapel service Wednesday to see a row of proud parents. Connecting with friends and finding their seats the students watched as their class leaders were ushered to the front of room. The boys donned dress-shirts, the girls wore spring dresses. Those in ties and dresses awaited the ceremony for their National Honor Society induction at Hillcrest.

National Honor Society (NHS) urges students to well-rounded academic and social leadership. Students selected for NHS are recognized for excellence in areas of service, leadership, character, and academics. Hillcrest's NHS program requires a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.80 for sophomores, 3.75 for juniors, and 3.70 for seniors respectively. At the start of second semester, students with a GPA that meets their respective GPA requirements receives an application to apply for NHS.

Hillcrest's induction ceremony is a formal affair. The school's NHS president, Kevy Konynenbelt, was the master of ceremonies Wednesday, speaking with confidence as she led her classmates to honor the achievements of the selected leaders. Konynenbelt introduced Church of the Lutheran Brethren President Paul Larson, who shared his academic achievements. He paused outlining his accolades to share his family's coined phrase, O.O.T.M., which stands for only one thing matters. Larson shared stories and his Biblical basis for pointing his family to God through his family motto, in light of encouraging academic achievement.

22 members were inducted into Hillcrest's NHS chapter on Wednesday. Sophomores Abigail Christenson, Hans Frank-Holzner, Sam Isaac, Nate Larsen, Thomas Martinson, Sean McGuire, Meghan Peterson, Daniel Preston, Reggie Undseth joined Juniors Jordan Foss, Kelly Kim (Na Yeon), Karina Larsen, Vi Nguyen, Joseph Ryu, Alyssa Shilson. Select Seniors included Luke Jennen, JK Lee, Ashley Luo, Jeehoon Park, Adrienne Schultz, Maddie Veum, Jinhe Zhu (Adele).

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CLBA President Larson Delivers Memorable NHS Address

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CLBA President Larson Delivers Memorable NHS Address

“Well Congratulations! I know great potential lies in your future, it is there for you to claim,” President Paul Larson declared as he greeted the newest NHS members during Wednesday’s chapel induction ceremony. He quickly noted that although he’s not in high school any longer, he has been a student most of his life. From high school, President Larson went on to CLB Bible School, graduated from Rocky Mountain College, and earned a Master of Divinity degree from the Lutheran Brethren Seminary. After recounting memories of those school days, some good and some bad, President Larson proudly told the student body, “I overcame, and became who I am today.”

Moving into his message, President Larson invited the students, faculty, parents - the countless eyes and ears of the room - to his secret to success, happiness, and fulfillment of life. With much anticipation building in the room he repeated four letters, “OOTM.” Teasing the audience as to its meaning, President Larson enlightened the group following a series of snide comments and winks from his left eye. Only one thing matters, OOTM. He prompted everyone to figure out what that one thing is, but told the students that for the Larson family the only one thing that matters is to be in a saving relationship with Christ.

He then painted a picture of all the great things he hopes his children would achieve. After a laundry list of hopes and dreams he paused, and slowly hit students with reality. The only thing that really matters is their relationship to God. He focused his address back to the NHS members and acknowledged the great potential they each hold. “In the end, in the beginning, only, one, thing, matters.” He went on to tell everyone they truly have a choice between idolatry or God, encouraging the latter. Our achievements in academics, sports, work, and beyond can either be used for worship and dedication to God, or they become idols themselves. Once again, President Larson reminded the students, only one thing matters.

Addressing his children, Karina and Nate, and his nephews, Jake, Sam, and Danny, he looked to each of them saying he would trade all things for them to have a relationship with God. He referred to Isaiah 44:3-5. Then, taking a stroll down memory lane, he painted the picture of his brother and sister-in-laws’ graduation from Biola University. He recalled Dr. James Dobson as the speaker, sharing in great detail the graduation scene. Students in black graduation caps; thousands that sat before Dr. Dobson. President Larson recalled points from the address and the impact of Dobson's delivery, that sticks with President Larson to this day. And then, slowly, President Larson leaned forward, mimicking the stance that Dobson took on the stage at Biola. The words that President Larson next spoke were verbatim words Dr. Dobson spoke directly to his son, Ryan, who was graduating from Biola at the time. Picking out Ryan from the crowd, Dobson looked at his son and simply said “Be there.” To this day, that remains with President Larson, and those words cut like a knife through the pomp and circumstance of the NHS induction, calling students to know Christ and in response make Him known.

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Norwegians Visit Horse Ranch and Find American Flavor

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Norwegians Visit Horse Ranch and Find American Flavor

Spurs clanged like bells against a hay dusted floor at the Red Horse Ranch Tuesday morning. Members of the Minnesota State Community and Technical College's Equine Science program led horses past Hillcrest's Danielsen students soaking in a part of America they haven't seen.

The clap of hooves echoed through the stalls as David Gilbertson educated Hillcrest's students from Bergen, Norway with a crash course in Equine science. Gilbertson, owner of Gilbertson Forge, is a ferrier who cares for the horses and instructs in the college Equine program. He led what students said is the most interesting part of the tour. He shared details in horse anatomy that aren't covered in high school text books. Pointing to parts of the hoof as he trimmed, Gilbertson drew reference to the horse's design and how good horse trimming is essential for the health of the horse. 

The students participated in the field trip under the direction of Joyce Bruns. Bruns facilitates intercultural experiences for the Danielsen students while they attend Hillcrest Academy. The group is planning to attend a spring play at M-State in the spring, a Syttende Mai parade in Minneapolis in May, and a visit a series local churches before they travel home to Norway at the close of the school year.

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