Where Are They Now? – Melissa Johnson

Melissa Johnson Deaton graduated from Hillcrest in 2011 after attending for 13 years. During high school she was a member of both Honor Society and Beta Club, as well as of the yearbook staff, serving as Editor during her senior year. Melissa then attended William Carey University on full scholarship and was heavily involved with the Student Music Therapy Organization; she served as President for two years.

After completing a six-month music therapy internship with Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care of St. Louis, Melissa graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Therapy. She earned her music therapy board certification (MT-BC) in February of 2016 and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in music therapy at the University of Kentucky. Melissa is also working as a teacher’s assistant for the UK music therapy department and for the New Horizons instrumental ensemble for adults. Her current research interests include cognitive-behavior therapy techniques in hospice and bereavement.

Melissa has this message for current students: “Always trust God to guide you in the direction of his calling. There’s a very big world beyond where you are right now, and hard work gives you the freedom to explore it.”

Student Spotlight – Alana Price

For 6 years Alana Price has brought her bright smile to Hillcrest’s halls; she carries her cheery nature onto the softball fields for the Lady Cougars, as well as onto the football field during halftime performances as part of the One Spirit One Sound Color Guard.  When she’s not at school, hanging out with her friends, watching her favorite shows on Netflix, playing with her dog Riley, and singing are the activities which make her happiest.

Alana tries to help to others when they are struggling; she wants people to know that she is trustworthy and will truly listen to what they have to say.  It’s no surprise, then, that her favorite Hillcrest teacher shares those same qualities; librarian Sandra Bridges “listens to you when you have a problem and does everything she can to help you.  She helps me so much in my walk with Christ.  She is a perfect example of who I want to be when I grow up.”  Mrs. Bridges’s faith in the Lord is an inspiration to Alana, who wants to remind her classmates that “it’s ok to love God.  He loved us first, so we don’t need to be afraid to love him back.  Put him first in everything you do, and trust in him to guide you.”  Along those lines, the Bible verse which guides Alana is Romans 10:9, which states, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  She credits this verse with showing her that she should never be ashamed to share her love of Christ with others.

After she graduates in May, Alana plans to attend either Hinds or Holmes Community College, most likely majoring in athletic training and minoring in theater and drama.  She also intends to continue participating in color guard.

It’s Beginning to *Sound* A Lot Like Christmas

Last night at Lakeshore Church, the One Spirit One Sound Band and Director Mr. Landrum presented their annual Christmas concert.  This was the first time the 6th-grade beginner band performed in front of an audience, and they sounded fantastic on traditional carols such as “Good King Wenceslas.”  The junior high and high school bands then followed with familiar festive tunes such as “White Christmas” and “Sleigh Ride.”  And, if the music didn’t cause the audience to get into the Christmas spirit, no doubt the parade of “tacky” Christmas sweaters did!

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Using Drama in the Classroom

Mrs. Harwell’s 8th-grade English classes have been reading the novel Anne of Green Gables, which tells about the adventures of Anne Shirley, an imaginative and talkative 11-year-old orphan girl who is mistakenly sent to the Cuthberts, a middle-aged brother and sister who intended to adopt a boy to help them on their farm in Prince Edward Island. The novel recounts how Anne makes her way with (and wins over) the Cuthberts, in school, and within the town, despite her tendency to get into trouble.

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Rather than have her students write a book report or an essay, which students often dread, or simply take tests and quizzes about the novel, Mrs. Harwell asked her class to act out parts of the novel. While students often think of this as pure fun, using drama in the classroom also teaches numerous valuable skills.  Acting out literary passages develops both verbal and non-verbal communication, helps students understand concepts from different perspectives, fosters cooperation with others, and furthers problem-solving skills, encouraging awareness of how to solve issues. Drama has been used from the time of Aristotle, who believed that theater provided people a way to release emotions, up to modern times, when emphasis in education is placed on analyzing and synthesizing, rather than on memorizing.  Most of all, however, using drama in the classroom is just plain entertaining, as the most lasting learning often is.

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