Most students look at spring vacation as a time to visit someplace sunny and warm. A group of Hillcrest alumni boarded flights to travel north to Fergus Falls, bringing a message that has inspired the student body.
2014 Hillcrest graduate Zoey Schweitzer led a group of students from Norway in a return to Hillcrest Academy for a worship night last Friday. They reunited with current students to form a praise team that included students from South Korea, Norway and Fergus Falls. "(Our) band tradition (is that) Jeehoon writes 'God is love' in Korean on the side of our hands during our huddle before we go on stage. I'm so amazingly blessed that this is the team of friends and bandmates God has placed in my life," Schweitzer posted on her social media feed shortly after the concert.
The group practiced for three days before the event. Hillcrest's technical department setup staging, lights, trussing and speakers for the students. The school used the setup for their Friday praise and worship service, where Schweitzer and the band led the school in a shortened worship and testimony time. As the group closed the chapel service they invited the entire student body to join them in worship that evening.
As students scurried back to class the hallways were buzzing with excitement. Senior Alexandra Larson told staff that the chapel service was one of her highlights from the year. As the school day ended and students hurried to the dormitory and sports practices they started making plans to reconvene in the gym for a time of singing and worship of Jesus.
As students piled into the gym they noticed the chairs from the chapel service had been removed. A soft haze lingered in the air as lights from the stage went dark and the music started. Band members walked on stage with glowing bracelets and drumsticks moving to the music. Amy Huynh, a Vietnamese student new to Hillcrest, said the atmosphere was incredible, noting how the student body became closer through the night. Students raised hands in worship of Jesus as voices echoed in the hallways of Hillcrest's 100 year old building.
Hillcrest's impact on students is evident as alumni use their spring breaks to venture through snow to encourage their alma mater. The students from Norway boarded planes the Saturday following the service enroute to the Danielsen School to complete their final year of high school. Many more will travel back to Hillcrest to see friends and their former school, viewing Fergus Falls as a home away from home and a destination to travel to.