This week was finals week. Students wrapped up classes as new students coming in for the second semester moved into the dorms. We have six new students coming into our Hillcrest family this week! What a blessing from the Lord to be able to minister to these families.
This week some students also gathered at 8am to pray as part of a 21 day fast that is going on in our chapel program. You can read about it in the article below.
Last weekend we had an exciting time of basketball where the boys pulled together and earned an impressive win over our friends at Park Christian. The prayer time at the end of the game was very special. I encourage you to read about it.
I've also included a quick note on how Hillcrest got its name. There are 177 students who will grow in their faith, develop intellect based on God's Word, and form character through Christian mentorship in the dorm. The way God has guided our school is nothing short of a miracle, and I am excited to share this story with you, how God continues to use Hillcrest as a place for high school students to work out their faith. The name is a small but significant part of our memories of our time at the Castle. I hope you enjoy that story.
Next weekend our board of directors is meeting to review our mission and vision and to engage in some of the technical upgrades we've made on our campus. They'll hear reports of ways students have grown here, and I am excited to reveal some of the finer points of our first semester. We have a lot to celebrate. God is good!
Please feel free to reach out to me if you're in town. I would love to share some of the stories of what God is doing at your school with you.
Grace and Peace!
President Brad Hoganson
Chapel Bleeds Into Smartphones In Teaching Spiritual Disciplines
A soft light lit Principal Isaac's face as students walked past his office on their way to breakfast Wednesday morning. In peering down at his phone Principal Isaac was participating in a group Bible study during his devotional time, purposely engaging with a student Bible study online as Hillcrest continues their march through their Square One theme in chapel. READ THE FULL STORY>>
The snow surrounding Hillcrest's sand volleyball court looked like a massacre of snowmen. Gloves, hats, and jackets darted the hillside. Students from South Korea joined friends from Minnesota and North Dakota in shedding winter gear Sunday night on Hillcrest's broomball court. READ THE FULL STORY>>
Bench Speaks in Win
Hillcrest came out of the huddle. Preston dribbled as point guard, moving the ball up the court. The first pass he made was to Foss. The Comets worked the ball around for the next thirty seconds before Preston found a spot behind the arc off a soft screen from Foss, hitting a three pointer to put the Comets up 56-53 with thirty seconds left. READ THE FULL STORY>>
How HLA Got Its Name
Gust Overgaard gave the shaken man thirty minutes to ponder his mortality and then told him to either go home or go back on the roof. This incident perhaps influenced young Bob Overgaard to submit the name of “Hillcrest Lutheran Academy” to the powers that governed the school. READ THE FULL STORY>>
This week was an encouraging one. We’re excited to welcome five new students into the Hillcrest family this semester and I had an incredible time meeting some of our recent alumni who were home in Fergus Falls for Christmas vacation.
I met one of the new Hillcrest students this week. He is from Florida. He is a brave soul, still smiling after walking down the front steps in -20 degree weather. I am looking forward to lamenting the cold weather with him, sharing the warm smiles and good conversation that make this time of the year formative for so many students.
I was also honored to run into some recent alumni the past few days. Dawn Synstelien and Wayne Stender hosted a recent graduate gathering during the Christmas vacation, and six graduates from 2017 wanted to visit with me over some appetizers at Applebees. I was so blessed to hear their passion for Hillcrest. Seriously, it was powerful to sit at the table and hear them share their Hillcrest experience with me. The group of six spoke of mentors they had and difficult classes that they didn’t like at the time, but that they look back on as some of the most formative classes they had at Hillcrest. There is a lot of investment and love for Hillcrest from our alumni, and I am honored to work with an amazing staff that the Lord is using in our students' lives.
On Monday this past week I sat with a group of teachers and staff who received some very insightful teaching and training in creating a faith-filled grace-based classroom. The teaching helped staff and teachers solidify additional ways to integrate spiritual truths on the character of God into the academic and intellectual training of our classrooms. It is incredible to hear how our staff are incorporating, not only the Bible, but the good news of the life-changing message of the Gospel into the culture of Hillcrest in classrooms, dormitories, hallways, and other touch points staff have with students.
Below you’ll read of a few areas that the Lord is using Hillcrest to challenge and encourage students to grow in their faith in Jesus Christ while forming character through friendships and being shown to have strong intellectual development.
You’ll hear Mr. Garvin introduce the chapel program for the second semester that includes teachings in disciplines like fasting. You’ll also hear from our knowledgebowl team that placed two squads in the top ten out of 32 schools. There is also a short student profile from a Hillcrest student that reveals the importance of being in a Bible-based school, like Hillcrest.
As we start the second semester I am excited to see what the Lord will do with our school. We are increasing our enrollment, as I said earlier, and we are also increasing the breadth of partnership from alumni. I am looking forward to communicating ways the Lord is currently working behind the scenes of your school. God is writing an incredible story, using Hillcrest as a marker for many students who are growing in their confidence in Christ and their abilities to live lives of eternal significance. Thank you for your ongoing partnership and encouragement.
Grace and Peace!
President Brad Hoganson
Garvin Opens Year in Chapel Series Introduction
Chapel coordinator Ryan Garvin opened the new year by explaining some spiritual disciplines the students will learn about in the new year. In working with Chapel coordinator, Sam Ihrke, Mr. Garvin painted a picture of the direction chapel will take as students and staff engage in the school theme Square One in the coming months. WATCH THE VIDEO>>
Hillcrest placed their two knowledgebowl squads in the top 10 in their first meet of the year. The teams were missing some members, who were home enjoying the Christmas vacation with family. However, that didn't stop HLA from soaring over schools with three times their enrollment. READ THE STORY>>
Wutka Growing in Faith
Elise Wutka joined Hillcrest after the Lord crafted a deep love for sharing Jesus in Costa Rica. She is now surrounded by people from around the world, and her faith formation in classes and the dormitories is enlarging her heart in new ways. READ THE STORY>>
The HLA-Danielsen Story
Hillcrest's relationship with the Danielsen School in Bergen, Norway, is very special. We retrace the steps to an incredible friendship as we receive applications from the Danielsen School for the 2018-19 school year. READ THE STORY>>
President Recaps School Year in New Years Greeting
There is special significance to looking back and reminding oneself of the past markings of a journey. Looking back to look ahead is a common practice in Scripture.
President Hoganson delivers a quick update and vision to the future in his New Years address. <>
President Hoganson delivers a recap on the year, setting a quick vision cast for where God is bringing HLA, in thanking supporters who have prayed, sent notes of encouragement, and committed to financially supporting Hillcrest. Thank you for your ongoing support of Hillcrest Lutheran Academy.
Christmas Holds Special Significance for School Theme
Hillcrest's school theme this year is Square One. Students are studying the four major movements of Scripture: Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration as they study the four corners of the Biblical perspective. Some are discovering God's story for the first time, while others are rediscovering the history of humankind.
To understand the power of the Christmas message in the redemption, we invite you to interact with a special devotional below. You'll have an opportunity to see how God's story redeems the brokenness all in creation experience, seeing that the Biblical perspective if the most whole, most consistent with reality, and most hopeful story the world has in regards to redemption.
Shepherds Called to Recognize the Sacrifice
There is unique significance as we understand the purpose of the shepherds in the Christmas story, taking note to realize their place in culture.
This week I was at the Danielsen School in Bergen, Norway to meet students applying to attend Hillcrest next year. It was incredibly fun to meet students who had a similar experience as I did during their time at Hillcrest. Every day it seems like I'm being reminded how powerful God can move in the lives of a student during their year at Hillcrest.
We had a little travel delay due to a snowstorm in Amsterdam that delayed our arrival in Bergen for two days as Principal Isaac and I escorted the students home to celebrate Christmas. We made the best of it and enjoyed a day of urban hiking, sightseeing and shopping in Amsterdam. When we arrived at Danielsen it was so easy for me to connect with students I had never met, but who had spent a year in Fergus Falls in the same dormitory I was in as a student and a dean. I thank God for the path He is bringing Hillcrest on, one that shows incredible providence, and the story of Hillcrest's relationship with the Danielsen School is a chapter I rediscovered this trip.
Below you'll be able to hear a short overview of the Danielsen + Hillcrest partnership told by our beloved former Principal, the late Bill Colbeck. I think you'll see the providence of the Lord in shaping our school.
You'll also have a chance to hear from our former President, Joel Egge, who was asked to speak in chapel by popular demand from our student body. Joel made an incredible impression on our students as he led Hillcrest for our transition year as the Board of Directors completed the presidential search process as I was brought on staff. It is an honor to serve at Hillcrest, a place that was used to foster faith in the life of a man I respect so much, Rev. Joel Egge.
Finally, in the hours before I left for Norway I was moved to tears in hearing our Christmas concert. I’ve even watched it again while in my hotel in Bergen. The video production and drawing displays by Hillcrest students added to the message sung by the choir and praise teams. The testimonies sprinkled into the performance revealed something I wasn't expecting from a Christmas concert. It was a worship service. Please, take some time to listen to the recording. It doesn't do the performance justice, but it will give you a glimpse into how the Gospel is being proclaimed and sent out from your school.
In the coming weeks I'm looking forward to some vision casting sessions before I take some time and focus on Christ and my family during the Christmas holiday. I pray you will be able to find rest as you draw near to Christ during this season, as well. I look forward to hearing from you. Please reach out and share updates and your excitement with me as we continue to train students in a passionate Biblically-based, Christ-centered environment for a life of eternal significance.
Grace and Peace!
President Brad Hoganson
Former President Egge Shares Heart in Chapel
During the interim between Presidents last year, Hillcrest was honored to be under the leadership of Rev. Joel Egge. Rev. Egge made a significant imprint on the student body, being invited to speak to the students by popular demand. LISTEN TO REV. EGGE'S ADDRESS>>
Lutheran Brethren Seminary professors Daniel Berge and Brad Pribbenow joined President Hoganson for a fireside chat where they fielded questions from students. The night was enlightening and encouraging. LISTEN TO THE Q&A SESSION HERE>>
Christmas Concert Video
Hillcrest's Christmas Concert was a celebrated gospel oriented production that drew tears from many as they were directed to hear the story of redemption in Christ's birth. WATCH THE CHRISTMAS CONCERT HERE>>
Colbeck Shares Story
Bill Colbeck shared the story of how the Danielsen + Hillcrest partnership began in a video shortly before he passed away. In the story you will hear how God providentially opened a door that has brought over 400 students from Norway for faith growth and development at the Castle. LISTEN TO THE STORY HERE>>