Hillcrest E-Connect 8/4/17

Catch two Hillcrest testimonies from grad as HLA closes the fiscal year>>
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Welcome to the 2017-2018 school year at Hillcrest Lutheran Academy. This week the school came to life, as many of our staff returned and started taking to plans they've made over the summer. The busyness and the buzz make it obvious to all that the beginning of the school year is just around the corner, and it’s clear that it’s going to be a great year at Hillcrest!

Craig Nersten has his resident life staff going through training. The staff are covering the ins-and-outs of dorm life while also spending time on youth culture and studying how best to communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ to your kids. We have capable staff in the resident halls, with a number going to seminary and others who have served countless years in youth ministry. Our students are in good hands in the resident halls.

The head directors of the resident halls, Kristin Nersten and Pete Narvesen, have started reaching out to students, reconnecting with returning students and of course introducing themselves and Resident Life to the new ones.

We have new teachers who have come on board this summer. Mrs. Lynette Tonneson will take the reins of the choir this year, after serving in a temporary role to end the year last year. She is busy planning the annual Christmas Concert production, while also sorting through pieces for our annual choir tour. Mr. Zach Nersten was an able substitute and proved to be an excellent communicator. His teaching degree is in the sciences, and he will take the Chemistry courses as Mr. Armin Jahr continues to develop our engineering and robotics program. Mr. Nersten will step into leadership as the head football and baseball coach.

Mrs. Amy Twedt is busy these days as she finalizes the processing of transcripts from over 6 countries and 30+ schools. We appreciate her attention to detail that cares for each student in their strengths and areas for improvement. She will serve Hillcrest this year as our registrar, tracking student progress throughout the year and working closely with our enrollment office and school guidance office to ensure student support and satisfaction.

The main office returned to full operation August 1. It's fun to hear their laughter in these halls again! Mrs. Jennifer Heikes and Mrs. Rachel Venberg have been busy sorting through files and preparing packets for the opening week of school.

Our promotions team returned home early Monday morning. Wayne Stender and Ryan Erickson joined Jason Walkup to help Hillcrest provide sound, lighting, and video support for a Bible camp called Tuscarora on the east coast. Their presence at Hillcrest puts everyone at ease, knowing that the IT problem solvers on our support staff have returned to make sure things are ready for a smooth opening.

We are so blessed to have these and other individuals at our school. God has joined a unique team to work in the background so students can learn about God's desire to know each student personally, building their faith, developing their intellect, and strengthening their character. 

Faculty and staff will arrive on campus next week to begin in-service teaching and training. The teachers will wrap-up work with the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) teacher certification requirements and training as we implement a new advisory curriculum centered around life and college readiness skills.

I trust this letter finds you enjoying the final moments of summer. We are very excited for what the Lord is going to do on our campus this year as we prepare students for college in spiritual, academic, and character training. Thank you for allowing us to partner with you in training your children. 

Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns as we look forward to the new year. Email is the best way to reach me (jisaac@ffhillcrest.org). I look forward to hearing from you.

In God's stead

Principal Jeff Isaac




Aug. 7-10 - Football Captain's Practice at 7PM
Aug. 11 - HLA Leadership Camp Begins at 2PM
Aug. 12 - Resident Halls Open at 12PM
Aug. 13 - Opening Picnic on Front Lawn at 5:30PM
Aug. 14 - 7th, 8th, and 9th Grade Orientation at 9am in Chapel
                Cross-Country, Football, Soccer, and Volleyball Practices Begin
                All-Sports Parent Meeting at 7PM in Union
                Hillcrest Huddle for All Students at 8PM in Chapel
Aug. 15 - 11th Grade Orientation at 9am in Chapel
                Hillcrest Huddle for All Students at 8PM in Chapel
Aug. 16 - 12th Grade Orientation at 9am in Chapel
                Student Placement Tests at 12PM
                Hillcrest Huddle for All Students at 8PM in Chapel
Aug. 17 - Hillcrest Huddle for All Students at 8PM in Chapel
Aug. 18 - 10th Grade Orientation at 9am in Chapel
                Hillcrest Huddle for All Students at 8PM in Chapel
Aug. 19 - Ultimate Frisbee Tournament at 1PM Meet in Union
Aug. 21 - First Day of School at 8am

View More Events and Create a Calendar Notification Account HERE>>



Dorm Move-in is August 12 beginning at noon. All local families are invited to help students move-in, with a cook-out on the Boys' Dorm patio at 5PM. To see information related to school supplies, dorm packing list, and to register for transportation, please visit the PARENT INFO PAGE>>


Students are invited to attend Hillcrest's annual student picnic at Phelps Mill on August 27. The dormitories will load on the bus at approximately 1pm, and off-campus families are invited to drive to the park, for an afternoon of yard games, swimming, and a grillout picnic with burgers. Off-campus families are encouraged to bring their own food for the picnic. A grill is provided to cook burgers on.


The Opening Picnic is an incredible experience for families. A picnic dinner is served for Hillcrest families at 5:30PM on the Front Lawn, followed by a parent meeting at 6:30PM, while the students spend time with Resident Life Staff in get-to-know-you games. At 9PM students will gather for Team Hillcrest events in the Chapel. If you have any questions about the opening week at Hillcrest, please contact Wayne Stender at wstender@ffhillcrest.org


The annual Valleyfair amusement park trip is scheduled for September 3. The cost is $50, which includes transportation, the park ticket, and lunch at the park. This is a great bonding trip for students. Students should bring money for breakfast and supper. The buses leave at 6am, stopping at a bakery and truck stop for breakfast at approximately 8am. Lunch will be pizza, purchased by Hillcrest as part of the fee. On the way home buses will stop at a shopping center in Maple Grove for supper, returning to Hillcrest at approximately 10pm.


There is a fair amount of paperwork necessary to register students for Hillcrest. Mrs. Amy Twedt, Hillcrest's registrar, is processing all paperwork this year, using DocuSign as an online signature solution for families needing to complete forms. If you have any questions related to paperwork, enrollment, and registering for classes, please email Amy at atwedt@ffhillcrest.org


Every weekend there is an activity planned to bring students together in community. September 15th the main building gymnasium will turn into a laser tag course with lights, fog, and loud music transforming the gym into an obstacle course. Senior high students are invited to start playing on the 15th at 9:30pm, playing until curfew at 1am. Junior High students and families are invited to play at 7pm on September 16th, with the gym opening back up to high school students at 9pm. 

School Theme Announced: SQUAREONE

Simple gatherings in prayer caused Hillcrest faculty and staff to lift up a theme for the 2017-18 school year. In speaking with Student Body Chaplain Sam Ihrke, Ryan Garvin communicated a student perspective to Hillcrest's staff, who took that perspective and crafted a teaching program for Hillcrest's spiritual formation this year. READ ABOUT THE SCHOOL THEME HERE>>
The school theme drives a unique heartbeat at Hillcrest, specifically in our chapel program. We have seen God intentionally shape the nurturing and growth of the student body through the chapel program. Hear more about the school theme in reading this update from a staff meeting here>>


As President Brad Hoganson grows settled in his new position at Hillcrest there are old stories etched in his Hillcrest experience. Swanhild Algaard documented a general overview of President Hoganson's experience. Forty years separated the two, but their experience at Hillcrest ties them together like siblings, and unites President Hoganson to Hillcrest's students today. READ SWANHILD'S STORY>>
Swanhild spent three years at Hillcrest. Her memories draw emotional smiles from readers who experienced Hillcrest. The traditions Swanhild mentions in the 1943 yearbook letter are lived out some seventy years later, traditions that started at the founding of the school. READ SWANHILD'S LETTER HERE>>


Sam Ihrke is Hillcrest's Student Body Chaplain. He has been meeting with Hillcrest leadership as they make plans for the spiritual formation program at Hillcrest Academy. Listen to this testimony from Sam's Sophomore year that is likely to guide him as he lays out a vision for walking with his friends toward spiritual maturity. WATCH THE VIDEO HERE>>
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