Update for 2014

A new year has arrived. We've taken down our 2013 calendars and replaced them with 2014's. It is natural to look back, look around, and look ahead when the yearly calendar changes. What happened in 2013? What's going on now? What do we look forward to in 2014?

For Hillcrest, the year 2013 marked another renovation project on the Hillcrest campus with the completion of the classroom section above the "old gym". It also gave 42 high school seniors a new shared title, "HLA Alumuni of the Class of 2013." Both of these great accomplishments are recorded in the recent issue of the Hillcrest Connection.

What's going on now? The second semester begins with 210 students enrolled at Hillcrest Academy. The Hillcrest Board begins the calendar year with a fairly new group of board members. We welcome three new board members Eric Ewan, Kathy Heggland, and Mark Soholt, to the 9-member Hillcrest Board. We are completing a self-study as we renew our accreditation with Minnesota Non-public Schools Accrediting Association. We are busy - teachers, students, staff, and administrators.

What lies ahead in 2014? A School Strategic Plan will be prepared, with written action steps to achieve those goals over the next seven years. The senior class of 2014 will finalize coursework in preparation for graduation weekend, May 23-25, 2014. We will make appeals to meet our Annual Fund goal of $415,000 which subsidizes tuition costs for all students who attend Hillcrest. We're not half way there yet so are trusting God to provide through our Alumni and friends. We'd love to see 25 new members join one of our HLA Giving Clubs which would put us over the 300 club member mark.

Looking back, looking around, and looking ahead, it is very assuring to know that "Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever." He is the source of our purpose and our joy. We have a hopeful 2014!

p.s. - Many of you partnered with Hillcrest financially over the past five years to help meet the $5 million goal of the "Fresh Breeze" Campaign. Thank you for investing in the future of Hillcrest Lutheran Academy! God bless You!



Formation Day

Formation Day

Each year at Hillcrest, the faculty and staff set aside a regular day of instruction for a focused time to speak into the spiritual life of students at Hillcrest Academy.  The day is made up of various seminars on issues relating to Biblical manhood, Biblical womanhood and how to live as Christians in the world.  Students are given time for contemplation and prayer as they walk through this unique day-schedule on the HLA campus.  Spiritual formation day has proven over the years to be a valued part of what students receive, as well as a fitting benefit of the school’s mission to equip students for a life of significance.


Worldview Education

Principal Isaac recently returned from a national conference in Colorado, presented by Summit Ministries.  Summit Ministries trains Christians in apologetics, worldview analysis, and social engagement.  Hillcrest’s Bible curriculum uses Summit resources to assist instructors as they incorporate Biblically-based worldview in their classrooms. Mr. Isaac found this conference to be of great value and plans to sends teachers to future conferences as an important part of their ongoing training.


Private Schools in Minnesota

Hillcrest is a member school of the Minnesota Independent School Forum (MISF) headquartered in St. Paul, MN.  MISF represents the concerns of private schools throughout the state of Minnesota. Recently MISF sponsored a rally at the State Capitol inviting nonpublic schools to gather at the Capitol and celebrate the importance and value of private and independent schools. At the rally, both state and local representatives spoke on the value of private education.


Representatives commented on the ability of private schools to keep both operating costs and tuition rates down.   About 60% of private schools in Minnesota reported annual income and expenses of less than $1 million.  According to the Statewide Census of Private Education (SCOPE) survey, the private schools’ estimated average per student costs was $8,688.00, which included consideration for operational expenses covered by host organizations (churches or denominations, primarily).  While every educational institution is forced to do more with less these days, private schools consistently demonstrate an ability to maintain high academic outcomes in spite of tight budgets.


Minnesota’s private education system is a $500 million industry that contributes to Minnesota’s

economy through privately financed school buildings and infrastructure, and by employing about

3,800 FTE teachers, managers and administrators.  From 2008 to 2011, pressures on the economy led to an 11.2% decline in enrollment in private schools and the closure of 48 private schools in Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Department of Education.


Hillcrest was fortunate to maintain a consistent student population during those years, and has seen an increase of 5% over last year’s enrollment.  Hillcrest also maintains a balance between day-students and dorm-students, including national and international students.



Building Significance in 2013

A Solid Footing

Using the Bible as the foundation in the classroom provides a significant means for students to grow in their understanding of God as they pursue their academic studies.   The use of Scripture also makes them more aware of the power of God working in numerous ways as they go throughout their daily routines. 

Senior Skyler Ruf from New Jersey recently testified to the work of Christ in his life through his educational experience at Hillcrest Academy.  Skyler has been through great hardship in his life, losing his mother to cancer in Jr. High, yet has found encouragement and a deeper faith these past two years attending Hillcrest.   Skyler’s story was printed in a school brochure called “Significant,” a written series of personal stories and reflections by Hillcrest students that communicate how they are being nurtured while attending Hillcrest Academy.

A number of other students added their testimonies in the most recent “Significant” issue.  You can also view a few of the most recent video testimonies on Hillcrest’s website at

Chapel Series 

Chapel is a meaningful period in the Hillcrest school day. Meeting Monday, Wednesday and Friday for 45 minutes, Chapel is a highlight for students.  Principal Jeff Isaac leads the Chapel program with additional support from Hillcrest faculty.

Currently, Principal Isaac is leading a series on apologetics, or a defense of the Christian faith.   Much of his teaching reflects his own personal study as he completes a Masters degree in Apologetics from Biola University in southern California.

The chapel series will include insights from William Lane Craig’s series On Guard.  The series will focus on logical proofs for the existence of God.   Principal Isaac will also articulate the importance of developing a personal understanding of God, and his desire for a personal relationship that we can have with him.

Getting the Word Out

Over the years Hillcrest has sent out faculty and staff to teach and train parents, local church leaders, and youth leaders using Christian worldview material.  This includes going beyond the local region to other parts of the United States.  Seminars have been held in Pennsylvania, Colorado and Washington state, allowing Hillcrest instructors opportunities to share with others the training that students are receiving at Hillcrest.   

This year staff will continue with these training opportunities, traveling throughout Canada, and visiting churches and a Bible school there.  This is another way that God is using the ministry of Hillcrest Academy beyond the local campus.




Christmas Concert and Looking Forward

Music at Christmas

Music Directors David Strom and Steve Doering provide a wonderful community Christmas event each year using the talents of Hillcrest high school vocalists and instrumentalists.   The Annual Christmas Concert Weekend on December 15 and 16 at Bethel Church portrayed in song and word the Christmas story through the eyes of Mary, the mother of Jesus.   The concert was live-streamed on the internet for friends and family to view.  Those wishing to watch the concert may visit the Hillcrest website at  We express our appreciation to the Hillcrest Music Department for enriching our Advent festivities!


College Preparation

With the Senior Class halfway through the school year, the Hillcrest Guidance Office kicks into high gear, supporting, encouraging and directing seniors toward their next educational steps.   Guidance Counselor Ruth Juliot reports that over 75% of the 43 member class has completed their college entrance exams with approximately 70% already set on their college or university plans for the fall.   The Guidance Office will work with the remaining students, anticipating that about 95% of the graduates will attend a college or university following their education at Hillcrest Academy.  This percentage has been the standard for many years, keeping the Hillcrest classroom a “college preparatory” learning environment.


The Class of 2013 has listed Engineering, Christian Counseling, Nursing, Political Science, Business, Biology, Accounting, Global Studies, Vocal Performance, Music Education, and Early Childhood Education as fields of study in their undergraduate work.  Some have expressed interest in graduate work as well.


Increased Enrollment

Hillcrest’s enrollment this year is above 200 for the first time in 5 years.   The HLA Board of Directors authorized the hiring of Mr. Wayne Stender as Marketing Director last year, whose work is paying off as Hillcrest is being introduced more intentionally on the national and international levels.  We look forward to 4 more students joining the Hillcrest student body at the start of the second semester.


Anticipating an increased enrollment trend gives urgency to a classroom renovation project that has been announced as one of the initiatives of the “Fresh Breeze” Capital Campaign.  This successful campaign will conclude on December 31st.  The Hillcrest Board will meet in January to begin the timetable for phasing this important campus improvement.  Campaign participation has come from alumni and Hillcrest families and friends.  It is a remarkable blessing to experience such a generous outpouring of response toward the campaign!



Rev. Steven Brue is the President at Hillcrest Lutheran Academy in Fergus Falls, MN



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Chapel and Dominican Republic Debrief

Dominican Republic 2012 | Trip Documentary Part 3 from Hillcrest Academy on Vimeo.

Faith Formation is a Priority

I’ve just returned from a morning chapel program at Hillcrest.  Chapel is a 30 minute time built into the school day, where time is taken for prayer, worship, and listening to testimonies of faculty members, staff and students.  Chapel is an obvious and important aspect of the school’s mission to equip students in a Christ-centered, Biblical-based environment for a life of significance.  The goal of this time is to minister to both mind and spirit and provide devotional and inspirational times for students in the nurturing of their faith in God.


Memorable Mission Trip

Today’s chapel program featured students who participated in a short mission trip to the Dominican Republic during the week of Thanksgiving.  Four of the 23 high school seniors shared personal reflections of their time in the Dominican, highlighting experiences that impacted them.  A group of seniors also shared a skit that they performed in parks while they were there.  The message of the skit was clear.   Teenagers struggle with temptations, but the good news is there is a Savior who has power to deliver us from making bad choices when we cry out to him.  The chapel time closed with comments from History instructor Gregg Preston and Art instructor Gaylen Peterson, who with 8 other adults accompanied the students to the Dominican.


It is clear that these student gained valuable insights that have changed how they think about life.  They spoke of their own fears being replaced by confidence, and a joy that came to them while they served others in humility.   They noted an obvious contrast between the poverty of those they encountered and their own personal wealth and daily blessings that are easily taken for granted.  All in all, they were grateful for the experience of a profound and unforgettable Thanksgiving time.


In the bigger picture, this 7-day mission outreach has created for Hillcrest a unique partnership with the Sante Fe Primary School in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.  Santa Fe has grown in enrollment and facilities since the partnership began five years ago, bringing additional salary resources and upgraded classroom facilities for the small school in the Caribbean. According to the Santa Fe Headmaster, the elementary students get excited every October, knowing their Hillcrest visitors will soon be arriving.


Advent is Here

Sounds of the Christmas season have been heard from the Music Room since well before Thanksgiving.   Students are preparing for the upcoming Annual Christmas Concert Weekend to be held at Bethel Lutheran church on December 15th and 16th at 7pm.  This year the Saturday evening concert will be available to families around the world through LiveStream programming. (



Steven Brue is the President of Hillcrest Lutheran Academy in Fergus Falls, MN (

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Students' Hearts are for the Nations

Mission Minneapolis

We are fortunate to live in a nation that has a heart.  When a natural disaster strikes, we see the benevolent character of communities across America supporting those affected. Students at Hillcrest are also given opportunity to show their heart by helping others.  Benevolence is a common theme in the Scripture, and one of the ways students engage in this is through our missions department.


Students recently participated in Mission Minneapolis, now in its 5th consecutive year, where they assisted local churches there by reaching out to their neighborhoods.  They participated in community gatherings, special prayer and ministry times with local churches, and led in worship through music and sharing personal testimonies.   The 28 student participants look to return to Minneapolis throughout the year, building deeper relationships with those they have met and desire to help.  Mission Minneapolis is one of many opportunities Hillcrest students are given to become benevolent citizens and caregivers to a needy world.


End of Sports Season

The last days of October marked the end of the Fall sports season for the Hillcrest Comets.   About 85% of Hillcrest students participated in the fall sports program. The greater level of participation is characteristic of a smaller school community, and provides additional development of body, mind, and spirit to those involved.  We are grateful for the excellent coaching and mentoring that takes place on and off the field by the Hillcrest coaching staff.


As the fall season has now concluded, Hillcrest students look back on that first chapter, and remember the contests and close friendships that are immerging as they move through the year.  The details of these experiences may fade, but the overall impact of coaches and teammates will not be forgotten.


International Program

Hillcrest has enjoyed an international presence on its campus for almost 30 years. Students from Norway, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Canada, Russia, Azerbaijan, Ecuador and Brazil have called Fergus Falls their home in the past 5 years alone.


This important and unique international dynamic is supported by the HLA Board of Directors, seeking to create an optimal campus community that keeps Hillcrest an American school with room for International students to experience the American culture and strengthen their English skills.   This commitment has helped to make Hillcrest a desired school to international placement agencies, which has also helped to put Fergus Falls on the map for many families from around the world. 



Classroom Instruction Prepares for School and Beyond

Spanish Class – Practicing what They Learn 

Spanish is an important part of the curriculum at Hillcrest.  Instructor Lowell Quam, a former missionary to Ecuador provides practical and fun methods which make the learning process a highlight for his students.  Mr. Quam’s ultimate desire is that his students will be able to communicate the message of the good news of Jesus Christ in Spanish.  Weekly assignments for his students include translating verses from their Bibles into understandable Spanish words and sentences.

Hillcrest students who take Spanish have the benefit of testing for college equivalency credits through the S.L.E.P. Test.  But more significant is the testimony of students when they return from their senior class Dominican Republic mission trip in November. To communicate God’s love in the language of those they meet brings greater fulfillment to both students and their instructor.  They have been given a precious tool - communicating God’s love in another language.

Know What You Believe

The book, You Lost Me is born out of research from teenagers and young adults who once labeled themselves as Christians, but no longer do.  The research, organized by Barna Group President David Kinnaman, is extensive and has been packaged in a tour presentation across the United States.  Recently, Principal Isaac attended this day-long seminar.  One aspect of the presentation is highlighted in Hillcrest’s theme for 2012-13, “Mind the Gaps.”  “Mind the Gaps” (or, “watch your step!”) calls students to address gaps and inconsistencies in their thinking about the world and their understanding of God’s Word.  Principal Isaac’s leadership and the work of the Hillcrest faculty and staff have been integral in creating a culture for critical and serious thinking.   The Biblically-based education provided at Hillcrest is designed to shape a clearer Christian worldview among the student body. 

Leaving the Classroom

Hillcrest’s mission is to prepare students in a Biblically-based Christ-centered environment for a life of significance.  A number of mission trips are scheduled throughout the year, allowing students to travel to cities like Chicago, Minneapolis, and Fargo, as well as other countries like the Dominican Republic.  Additionally, music tours are taken over the Easter holiday, and other local mission experiences are provided for students.  Staff and faculty work to transition students from the classroom to real-world experiences.  We believe that these experiences give students so much more than a diploma when they graduate and move forward in their lives.



Steven Brue is the President of Hillcrest Lutheran Academy in Fergus Falls, MN (



Homecoming Highlighted as School Year Continues


Hillcrest athletics have a tradition of instilling both hard work and excellence in students through athletic competition. One of the aspects of Hillcrest sports that sets Hillcrest apart is the training to students in representing Jesus Christ in their competition.

Attend a game at HLA and you’ll hear a prayer before the game and could witness a post-game prayer with players from both teams. Hillcrest trains students to understand that athletic competition is a great tool to communicate mutual respect and concern for eachother.

Part of the training Hillcrest does with students is through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) club. Meeting twice a month with various coaches, FCA works to prepare and equip students to represent Jesus Christ on and off the field.

Hillcrest’s FCA club has joined with area FCA clubs for a Fields of Faith event at Jefferson High School in Alexandria, MN. The event is a gathering of prayer and worship that has united area athletics under the banner of Jesus Christ. 

Students for Life

Students at Hillcrest are embarking on a 40 day journey. Focusing on prayer and fasting, Hillcrest has facilitated the student body to stand for the unborn through the student led club Students for Life.

The Students for Life club meets periodically at Hillcrest, taking a number of field trips as students stand in peaceful prayer against abortion. The most notable vigil occurs during the 40-days for Life campaign, a nation wide movement of prayer and fasting on street corners near abortion facilities.

These meaningful field trips have equipped students to be a voice for those who are voiceless, standing in opposition to abortion believing that life begins as the moment of conception. Many Hillcrest classes have highlighted this fact, tying in the 40-Days for Life campaign into History, Science and English classes.

Homecoming More Than Football

Homecoming at Hillcrest is an exciting time. As I look back at our homecoming festivities I remember the athletic competitions and how our students worked hard to represent their school and their Lord. I’m also drawn to the faces that traveled back to Hillcrest to have a bite to eat at our homecoming tailgating party, hear our Homecoming concert and participate in our Fresh Breeze update banquet.

These activities show some of the realities of the Hillcrest experience for students. Many of the alumni note that Hillcrest is where their faith became an active part of their life. Others note that the faculty and staff at Hillcrest were significant mentors to them, supporting the ideas they’ve heard from home about integrity, family structure and hard work. 

It is a blessing to be a part of such a meaningful institution in the lives of so many, showing Hillcrest to live out it’s mission statement of preparing students in a Bible-based environment for a life of significance.




Performing Arts Highlight of Homecoming Weekend

Performing Arts a Tradition

Hillcrest’s music program has a time-honored tradition of excellence.  The Hillcrest Academy Concert Choir and Concert Band represent the Academy very well, which is a strong testimony of the Music Department’s leadership.   Melding the talent of 50 musicians in a short span of two months for the annual Homecoming concert is no small feat.  However, time and again Rev. David Strom and Mr. Stephen Doering step up to the challenge and provide a collegiate level concert for attendees to enjoy.

The Hillcrest music program conducts a two week tour during Easter vacation each spring.  This past April, the HLA Band enjoyed a 20-day tour to the East Coast under the direction of Mr. Stephen Doering. This next spring, Rev. Strom will lead the Concert Choir through the great American southwest. The tour will take the 45-student choir through Arches National Park, the Grand Canyon, Los Angeles and Yellowstone National Park as they perform 15 concerts for churches and communities throughout the southwest. The 15-day tour will undoubtedly be a highlight for these vocal musicians as they experience a collegiate style tour.

College Preparation

College education is a reality for the majority of Hillcrest students. Over the past 5 years approximately 98% of HLA graduating seniors attend a college or university to further their education.

This statistic reflects the strong effort of the Guidance Office to invest in the lives of students in helping direct their immediate future.  Recently Hillcrest’s senior class conducted a three-college tour in the Moorhead/Fargo area.  During the spring semester the Guidance Office will organize a three-college tour in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul.  This month will also bring two college presentations to the Hillcrest campus, Bethany College of Missions, and Northwestern College, St. Paul.  One of Hillcrest’s goals is to equip and prepare students for the next stage in life, which for most includes University studies.

Homecoming Board Meeting 

It is the role of the Hillcrest Board of Directors to oversee Hillcrest’s mission, which is to equip students in a Biblically-based environment for a life of significance.  During Homecoming weekend this year, the Board of Directors will meet for one of their five planned board meetings of the calendar year.

The Board strongly supports Hillcrest as a strong option for families in today’s Private Christian Schools sector.   The school has become more and more unique, as many private schools have closed their boarding programs.   The Board affirms the schools goals to enhance the college preparatory curriculum, communicate through more technologically advanced media, assess campus needs to plan and implement upgrades, and create ministry partnerships with donors who value what God is doing at Hillcrest.  It is their belief that students receive so much more than a diploma in their high school experience at Hillcrest Lutheran Academy.



Worldview Kick-off Start of Year


Guest Speakers Kick-off 2012 School Year

Hillcrest felt very fortunate to start its school year with a number of excellent presentations from a world renowned apologist.   Apologist Alex McFarland, Director of “Truth for the Next Generation” challenged students in their new year at Hillcrest to use Scripture as the basis of all truth, and to confidently proclaim to their generation the reality of God.  McFarland made a significant impact on the students during the school day, and then presented his material in the evening at a forum that was open to the local community.

Two weeks after McFarland”s presentation, a group of post-college young adults, called AXIS, presented insights on pop-culture, the media, and technology to Hillcrest students.  They also held an evening event that was open to the public, with the overall goal of getting today’s youth to become critical thinkers in discerning how technology, media and pop-culture affect them.

Last week, a ministry team called PALS shared their experiences first at Bethel Lutheran Church, and then at a chapel time to Hillcrest students.  PALS consist of women who had abortions in their teen years, and are now ministering to others on the truths about abortion, and its effects on those involved. Hillcrest's “Students for Life” club is preparing to participate in the Annual 40-Days for Life campaign.

Norwegian Science Interest Passes from Father to Son

Hillcrest Science instructor Armin Jahr will complete his Masters in Education degree with a special project that includes a partnership with the Danielsen School in Bergen Norway.  Mr. Jahr's work involved reaching out to Norway's education officials in an effort to strengthen American and Norwegian tracks in Physics and Engineering.

This fall Mr. Jahr's son, Aeron boarded a plane to Bergen to begin a year of study at the Danielsen School in Bergen, Norway.   Aeron, a 2012 HLA graduate, will spend what would be his first year of college at the Danielsen School as he looks to further his schooling.

“Fresh Breeze” Capital Campaign Nearing Completion

In October of 2010 Hillcrest launched the public phase of a $5 million capital campaign.  This major initiative was designed to update and pay-off debt associated with buildings on the campus, strengthen its scholarship endowments that award financial aid to Hillcrest students, assist teachers with continuing education, support annual costs to operate the school, and install an efficient updated HVAC system to the classic building.  Now almost two years later, the HLA Development Office reports that 96% of the goal has been committed to with many of the campaign initiatives already benefiting, including the payment in full of the Student Activities Center that was constructed in 2005.


We look forward in this new year to advance the school’s mission of “equipping students in a Christ-entered, Bible-based environment for a life of significance.”


A Fresh Breeze

A major capital campaign for Hillcrest Lutheran Academy was publicly announced in October of 2010, with 60% of the $5 million goal already pledged. Last year's annual report noted that 75% has been raised. As of June 30th of this year, the Fresh Breeze campaign has reached 96%, with less than $250,000 remaining to meet the goal. We praise God for directing hundreds of gifts toward the campaign initiatives.

The final thrust of the campaign is to secure the remaining funds for the academic center renovation, including the installation of an efficient heating and cooling system. We await the results of a thermal conductivity test for the possible use of a geothermal system. Other improvements this past year included acoustical panels in the Music Room, and new tile in the west entrance area to the main building stairwell from the cafeteria to second floor. Endowment growth allowed for more scholarship awards this past year, with club memberships growing by 15%.

It is a blessing to work in a Christ-centered high school community where God's truth, God's grace, God's forgiveness, and God's love are taught and sought on a day to day basis. I am grateful for the support and encouragement of the church, the HLA alumni, and other dear friends who invest in this ministry to teenagers. Thank you for your partnership to the ministry of Hillcrest Academy. 


So Much More Than A Diploma


God's been building a bridge from Hillcrest to the province of San Pedro de Macoris, in the Dominican Republic. For four consecutive years, Hillcrest seniors have engaged in short term mission work there. Today, we have a relationship with two small Christian schools who have welcomed and embraced our students. As these schools are receiving gifts through manual labor, personal care and financial support, Hillcrest students receive so much more as they minister in the name of Jesus.

Reaching out to others is at the heart of the Hillcrest experience. It is one of many aspects of the school's curriculum teaching from a Christian worldview perspective. God's truth, as revealed in the Bible, remains at the center in all fields of academic study.

Hillcrest celebrated the graduation of 47 seniors on the las weekend of May. Numerous video clips fo student testimonies and reflections on their time at Hillcrest gave parents and guests a better look at how the Hillcrest experience had impated their graduates.

I invite you to watch the video testimony from the 2011 Dominican Mission team to understand how God has used Hillcrest to equip Hillcrest students for a life of significance in Jesus Christ.



HIT Golf Supports Hillcrest Families

The 8th Annual Hillcrest Invitational Golf Tournament took place on a beautiful sunny Friday, June 15th at the Pebble Lake Golf Course. Participants traveled from Jamestown, Fargo/Moorhead, Minneapolis, and local surrounding areas to support Hillcrest Academy and the community through this fundraiser.

This year, Denny Johnson of Fergus Falls made a 50 foot putt in a “Hole in One” contest that awarded a $1,000 cash prize. A number of other prizes were given out at a steak dinner gathering at the Hillcrest Student Activities Center following the golf outing.

Past golf tournaments have raised funds for a number of different operational expenses at Hillcrest, primarily in athletics. Last year a live-stream video service was funded to make live sports events available on-line. This year’s funds will continue to enhance that initiative. The service is hosted on the Hillcrest Academy website and has enabled parents from around the world to watch their child participate in Hillcrest activities. The responses have been very positive, as parents (and grandparents) experience a picture of their student athlete’s life from a distance.

Broadcasting almost 30 athletic competitions, the Hillcrest Technical Department has also provided live video feeds for the Annual Hillcrest Christmas Concert, the National Honor Society induction ceremony, the Dominican Mission commissioning service, select parent seminars and the Hillcrest Academy graduation weekend. These events have also been archived online at for anyone to enjoy.

Hillcrest wishes to thank all individuals and businesses who sponsored holes, provided prizes, and participated in this very successful fund-raiser. Special thanks to Ryan Tungseth and the Pebble Lake Golf Course Staff for their excellent hospitality in hosting this event.   



May Update

Hillcrest recently graduated 47 students. These students represent New York, Korea, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, New Jersey and Ecuador. Joining them are students from Norway, Japan, Seattle and a list of other places. As they leave Hillcrest, placing a capstone on a year of their life, they now represent Hillcrest Academy and Fergus Falls.

I say this following the blessing I had to connect with class members from 1945 to 2011 in our reunion festivities held during graduation weekend. The generations look different, but the fondness of our community remains as alumni walked the halls of Hillcrest sharing stories of our community. It is truly a blessing to be located in this supportive community.

Equipping Students For Significance

One of the most unique aspects of Hillcrest is the diverse student body that attends our small school in mid-west Minnesota. Our graduating students are attending Rutgers University, The University of Minnesota, The South Dakota School of Mines, Liberty University, Eastern University and the list goes on.

Our students will represent Christ on their college campuses, I know it. I heard their testimonies of how God captured their hearts and minds in the halls of Hillcrest. It was unmistakable, their passion to communicate how they feel propelled to represent Christ on their campuses. I invite you to view some of these testimonies on our website:

Planning for Preparation

As the school year winds down in the area there are always comments and appreciation speaking to the value of educators. Hillcrest has been blessed over the years and continues to be blessed by phenomenal teachers who view their position at Hillcrest as a discipleship venture with their classes.

Through the work of the completed Fresh Breeze Campaign, Hillcrest staff will be traveling to Inspiration Point Bible Camp in August to receive training from Walt Mueller, the President of the Center for Parent and Youth Understanding and author of numerous books on teen culture. Holding a doctorate in postmodern generations from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Dr. Mueller will be instructing educators on teen culture and how to best educate both the heart and mind. This training, involving every faculty member during another intentional in-service, is one of the steps Hillcrest is taking to not only prepare our teachers for the classroom, but also equip them to disciple students in today's fast-paced culture.

The training and intentional staff development solidify the Hillcrest program, causing students to comment how they have received so much more than a diploma at Hillcrest Academy.



April Update


For nearly eight decades, the Fergus Falls community has been home to Hillcrest Academy, a Christian boarding school located in the city's SW section along the scenic Ottertail River. With nearly 100 students attending each year from other states and countries, this safe and welcoming community has been integral in helping to carry out the high school's objective of equipping students in Bible-based, Christ-centered environment for a life of significance. We are grateful to the Daily Journal for welcoming these school updates.

A Partnership Revealed

2008 ushered in a down-time in the nation's economy. It was also the year that Hillcrest began preparing for a major capital to pay-off remaining debt on the newly constructed Student Activities Center and proceed with a classroom renovation project. The project would include installation of an HVAC system to replace the century-old boiler system. The campaign also encouraged strengthening endowments for staff development and student financial aid. Now in its fourth and final year, the "Fresh Breeze" campaign has secured 90% of the $5 million goal through cash and pledges. The six-year-old Student Activities Center is debt-free, and plans are in place to begin work on the classroom renovations project in the coming year. These financial blessings bring confidence that the school will remain an important part of this community into the future.

Concert Choir Weekend Tour

The Hillcrest Concert Choir is embarking on a 2 day weekend tour with 3 concert performances. Their concert consists of a number of sacred pieces that will direct the congregations of Gethsemane Lutheran Brethren Church (LBC) in Rochester, MN and Ebenezer LBC in Minneapolis, MN in an intentional time of worship. The Choir tour is a time-honored tradition at Hillcrest Academy where students are discipled to praise Jesus Christ through their many talents.

Hillcrest Concert Band Tour

The Hillcrest Band tour launched the first of their 16 concerts over a 20 day period in Ottawa, IL. Recall this was the site for the first Lincoln-Douglas debates. Students visited the historic site in Ottawa, as well as the freedom trail in Boston, Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, and the Statue of Liberty and other historic sites in New York City. One chaperone commented that this was one of his most memorable trips with the band. Taking intentional time to consider heroic people who shaped American culture, students shared the message of Jesus Christ through their nightly concert performances on this musical tour of the east-coast.

Redefining Inservice

Educators ask "how do we better prepare our students for a meaningful life?" At Hillcrest, faculty are being equipped to inspire and educate students through intentional teacher-student mentorship. The school leadership is using a resource organized by Summit Ministries called the Cultivate program. The purposeful staff development times help to strengthen the school's Biblically-based program, with the objective of giving families so much more than a diploma through their faith-based investment with Hillcrest Academy.



Band Tour ends - Mission Trip begins

The HLA Band completed its Pacific NW tour last night with a home concert at Bethel LB Church in Fergus Falls.  Director Steve Doering praised the high school musicians for perseverance and consistent performances (15 in 17 days).  Their performance last night was superb!

Thank you to all churches and host families who received this group into your community!  We are grateful for your hospitality.  I know that this tour will be remembered by the students for the rest of their lives.

A large group of HLA seniors and chaperones are flying today to the Dominican Republic for a week of ministry.  As you are reminded, please pray for their safety and for open doors to share the love of Jesus Christ with those they come in contact with.



New Website has Arrived!

Did you notice the new website?  Thanks for your patience as the transition took place.  We are now in line for regular updates and constant flow of information to parents, alumni, and friends of HLA.

We also welcome Ryan Erickson (HLA 03) to our staff, who will provide the graphic design elements needed in ongoing publications for the school as well as to bring ongoing improvements to the website.



Safety First!

The Hillcrest Administration met yesterday to review one of our objectives in the Hillcrest School Strategic Plan. We reviewed Objective #3, which involves formalizing an all school safety plan.

We take this issue very seriously and have adopted a written crisis management plan. Prinicpal Isaac schedules fire drills, tornado drills, lock down drills, and prepares staff and students for various crises that would require safety measures.

The strategic crisis plan also includes focusing on better in-house communication systems, updating security systems like campus security cameras, as well as informing our parents and community of the safety plans that are in place.

We all know that safety and security are primary needs in school environments, and we pray that the Lord will protect the students and campus. But we also that we can take responsible measures to keep the campus safe and orderly in the event of a risky situation.



Merry Christmas!

The campus is now quiet for the 2-week Christmas break, with school resuming on January 4th, 2010.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, with peace and joy in 2010!