This week has been a challenge for me. Connecting with staff and students are my favorite perks in this new position, but there are obstacles and challenges we face as a school. Enrollment is lower than we’d like it to be. We are working to increase enrollment and also to fundraise more scholarship dollars to help families currently attending Hillcrest to do so with confidence, while also opening the doors for more students to attend Hillcrest at the semester break. But one thing I’ve started to learn in this position is that Hillcrest is in a good place, even with the challenges. The staff and students are all on board and I appreciate each and every one of them!
When I was in Chapel on Friday I heard a special invitation from Principal Isaac to the student body to attend Christmas Banquet. What a powerful thing to be invited into a Hillcrest family event that holds such significance like the Christmas Banquet. There’s a quick story below of an alumn recounting their Christmas Banquet experience. What an honor to be a part of a school family with such a tradition, but with such a family atmosphere.
After Principal Isaac opened the service the entire student body was led into a time of worship. I have to tell you, as a pastor, there aren’t many things that get me more excited than seeing 8 high school students leading in worship, declaring Jesus as their Savior with their lips, and raising their voices in song with the rest of the student body. Sometimes I feel like Chapel is too short because I often want to stay and worship with our students longer than the time allotted! Perhaps as President I should do something about that! But, just like Peter heard on the Mount of Transfiguration, we cannot stay in those moments because there is a world that needs to hear the message of hope found only in Jesus Christ. Eric Konynenbelt helped remind me of that when he spoke in chapel today.
Eric showed a video of him running a race and falling flat on his face 10 meters before the finish line as he was in first place. His point was that sin and our human ability keeps us from crossing the finish line, no matter how good we are. We need a Savior to run the race for us. This message of God’s redemption was made more profound as I thought back to things the students did this week in packing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child and in the students putting together a community worship event at a local coffee house. We simply live in the grace of Jesus. I am so encouraged to see our students responding in love and focus by serving the Lord in the many ways they do on our Campus.
To close, I have seen some emails from our Registrar, Amy Twedt. I know that Hillcrest cares deeply about helping students form good habits, especially academic habits. Mrs. Twedt started compiling a list of students with a score of 73 or below in any class. I was thrilled to learn that the students are learning to take responsibility for their course work, assigned now to visit with their teachers on why their grades are below a 73, to visit with their parents on their grades, and then visit with Mrs. Twedt to develop a plan on how the student intends to bring the grade up and then work in a system that will help them succeed. I love this growth-model mindset, helping students who may not understand how to manage their time or grades build a game plan to do so. Life lessons are not always easy or comfortable but we are helping our students learn them in a system that fosters maturity and responsibility. It’s probably one of the reasons Hillcrest has over 95% of their graduates attend college, university, or missionary training after high school.
As you can see, there is a lot to be excited about at Hillcrest. God is doing great things! Please join me in praying for our students and staff as we work to build habits of seeking the Lord daily in the lives our students through Biblically-based Christian education.
I am here to visit with you if you have any questions. Please reach out to me if you’d like to chat!
Grace and Peace!
President Brad Hoganson
Students Spend Day Packing Boxes for World During Chapel
Flames danced in the glass pebbles of the fireplace in Hillcrest Lutheran Academy's Student Union while Christmas music rang out over the speakers. The entire student body blew in from the frosty Hillcrest campus on Wednesday, stomping cold feet and breathing into cupped hands to warm themselves. The students swarmed around a photo area to have pictures taken with their friends, pictures that would be printed to be placed inside boxes that read "Operation Christmas Child" as students participated in packing boxes for children in need. READ TH FULL STORY HERE>>
Seth Kinrade helped students grasp a more full picture of the Gospel as he outlined specific things in the fall that can often be overlooked. WATCH THE VIDEO HERE>>
Chapel Outside HLA Walls
Hillcrest has over 40 students in worship teams this year. In giving everyone an opportunity to participate, Chapel coordinator Ryan Garvin has taken teams into backyards and living rooms as in expanding the students' concepts of worship. WATCH A WORSHIP NIGHT SONG HERE>>
Alumn Recall Banquet
Principal Isaac invited students to the Christmas banquet this week, which led some on staff to thumb through yearbooks to find its origin. They found a few mentions of the impact the banquet makes. READ THE FULL STORY HERE>>