Sign up for Hillcrest's weekly e-Newsletter Join The Club Enroll Now



Update for 2014

A new year has arrived. We've taken down our 2013 calendars and replaced them with 2014's. It is natural to look back, look around, and look ahead when the yearly calendar changes. What happened in 2013? What's going on now? What do we look forward to in 2014?

For Hillcrest, the year 2013 marked another renovation project on the Hillcrest campus with the completion of the classroom section above the "old gym". It also gave 42 high school seniors a new shared title, "HLA Alumuni of the Class of 2013." Both of these great accomplishments are recorded in the recent issue of the Hillcrest Connection.

What's going on now? The second semester begins with 210 students enrolled at Hillcrest Academy. The Hillcrest Board begins the calendar year with a fairly new group of board members. We welcome three new board members Eric Ewan, Kathy Heggland, and Mark Soholt, to the 9-member Hillcrest Board. We are completing a self-study as we renew our accreditation with Minnesota Non-public Schools Accrediting Association. We are busy - teachers, students, staff, and administrators.

What lies ahead in 2014? A School Strategic Plan will be prepared, with written action steps to achieve those goals over the next seven years. The senior class of 2014 will finalize coursework in preparation for graduation weekend, May 23-25, 2014. We will make appeals to meet our Annual Fund goal of $415,000 which subsidizes tuition costs for all students who attend Hillcrest. We're not half way there yet so are trusting God to provide through our Alumni and friends. We'd love to see 25 new members join one of our HLA Giving Clubs which would put us over the 300 club member mark.

Looking back, looking around, and looking ahead, it is very assuring to know that "Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever." He is the source of our purpose and our joy. We have a hopeful 2014!

p.s. - Many of you partnered with Hillcrest financially over the past five years to help meet the $5 million goal of the "Fresh Breeze" Campaign. Thank you for investing in the future of Hillcrest Lutheran Academy! God bless You!


Introducing the 2013-14 School Theme: Outcast No More


Formation Day

Formation Day

Each year at Hillcrest, the faculty and staff set aside a regular day of instruction for a focused time to speak into the spiritual life of students at Hillcrest Academy.  The day is made up of various seminars on issues relating to Biblical manhood, Biblical womanhood and how to live as Christians in the world.  Students are given time for contemplation and prayer as they walk through this unique day-schedule on the HLA campus.  Spiritual formation day has proven over the years to be a valued part of what students receive, as well as a fitting benefit of the school’s mission to equip students for a life of significance.


Worldview Education

Principal Isaac recently returned from a national conference in Colorado, presented by Summit Ministries.  Summit Ministries trains Christians in apologetics, worldview analysis, and social engagement.  Hillcrest’s Bible curriculum uses Summit resources to assist instructors as they incorporate Biblically-based worldview in their classrooms. Mr. Isaac found this conference to be of great value and plans to sends teachers to future conferences as an important part of their ongoing training.


Private Schools in Minnesota

Hillcrest is a member school of the Minnesota Independent School Forum (MISF) headquartered in St. Paul, MN.  MISF represents the concerns of private schools throughout the state of Minnesota. Recently MISF sponsored a rally at the State Capitol inviting nonpublic schools to gather at the Capitol and celebrate the importance and value of private and independent schools. At the rally, both state and local representatives spoke on the value of private education.


Representatives commented on the ability of private schools to keep both operating costs and tuition rates down.   About 60% of private schools in Minnesota reported annual income and expenses of less than $1 million.  According to the Statewide Census of Private Education (SCOPE) survey, the private schools’ estimated average per student costs was $8,688.00, which included consideration for operational expenses covered by host organizations (churches or denominations, primarily).  While every educational institution is forced to do more with less these days, private schools consistently demonstrate an ability to maintain high academic outcomes in spite of tight budgets.


Minnesota’s private education system is a $500 million industry that contributes to Minnesota’s

economy through privately financed school buildings and infrastructure, and by employing about

3,800 FTE teachers, managers and administrators.  From 2008 to 2011, pressures on the economy led to an 11.2% decline in enrollment in private schools and the closure of 48 private schools in Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Department of Education.


Hillcrest was fortunate to maintain a consistent student population during those years, and has seen an increase of 5% over last year’s enrollment.  Hillcrest also maintains a balance between day-students and dorm-students, including national and international students.


Building Significance in 2013

A Solid Footing

Using the Bible as the foundation in the classroom provides a significant means for students to grow in their understanding of God as they pursue their academic studies.   The use of Scripture also makes them more aware of the power of God working in numerous ways as they go throughout their daily routines. 

Senior Skyler Ruf from New Jersey recently testified to the work of Christ in his life through his educational experience at Hillcrest Academy.  Skyler has been through great hardship in his life, losing his mother to cancer in Jr. High, yet has found encouragement and a deeper faith these past two years attending Hillcrest.   Skyler’s story was printed in a school brochure called “Significant,” a written series of personal stories and reflections by Hillcrest students that communicate how they are being nurtured while attending Hillcrest Academy.

A number of other students added their testimonies in the most recent “Significant” issue.  You can also view a few of the most recent video testimonies on Hillcrest’s website at

Chapel Series 

Chapel is a meaningful period in the Hillcrest school day. Meeting Monday, Wednesday and Friday for 45 minutes, Chapel is a highlight for students.  Principal Jeff Isaac leads the Chapel program with additional support from Hillcrest faculty.

Currently, Principal Isaac is leading a series on apologetics, or a defense of the Christian faith.   Much of his teaching reflects his own personal study as he completes a Masters degree in Apologetics from Biola University in southern California.

The chapel series will include insights from William Lane Craig’s series On Guard.  The series will focus on logical proofs for the existence of God.   Principal Isaac will also articulate the importance of developing a personal understanding of God, and his desire for a personal relationship that we can have with him.

Getting the Word Out

Over the years Hillcrest has sent out faculty and staff to teach and train parents, local church leaders, and youth leaders using Christian worldview material.  This includes going beyond the local region to other parts of the United States.  Seminars have been held in Pennsylvania, Colorado and Washington state, allowing Hillcrest instructors opportunities to share with others the training that students are receiving at Hillcrest.   

This year staff will continue with these training opportunities, traveling throughout Canada, and visiting churches and a Bible school there.  This is another way that God is using the ministry of Hillcrest Academy beyond the local campus.



Christmas Concert and Looking Forward

Music at Christmas

Music Directors David Strom and Steve Doering provide a wonderful community Christmas event each year using the talents of Hillcrest high school vocalists and instrumentalists.   The Annual Christmas Concert Weekend on December 15 and 16 at Bethel Church portrayed in song and word the Christmas story through the eyes of Mary, the mother of Jesus.   The concert was live-streamed on the internet for friends and family to view.  Those wishing to watch the concert may visit the Hillcrest website at  We express our appreciation to the Hillcrest Music Department for enriching our Advent festivities!


College Preparation

With the Senior Class halfway through the school year, the Hillcrest Guidance Office kicks into high gear, supporting, encouraging and directing seniors toward their next educational steps.   Guidance Counselor Ruth Juliot reports that over 75% of the 43 member class has completed their college entrance exams with approximately 70% already set on their college or university plans for the fall.   The Guidance Office will work with the remaining students, anticipating that about 95% of the graduates will attend a college or university following their education at Hillcrest Academy.  This percentage has been the standard for many years, keeping the Hillcrest classroom a “college preparatory” learning environment.


The Class of 2013 has listed Engineering, Christian Counseling, Nursing, Political Science, Business, Biology, Accounting, Global Studies, Vocal Performance, Music Education, and Early Childhood Education as fields of study in their undergraduate work.  Some have expressed interest in graduate work as well.


Increased Enrollment

Hillcrest’s enrollment this year is above 200 for the first time in 5 years.   The HLA Board of Directors authorized the hiring of Mr. Wayne Stender as Marketing Director last year, whose work is paying off as Hillcrest is being introduced more intentionally on the national and international levels.  We look forward to 4 more students joining the Hillcrest student body at the start of the second semester.


Anticipating an increased enrollment trend gives urgency to a classroom renovation project that has been announced as one of the initiatives of the “Fresh Breeze” Capital Campaign.  This successful campaign will conclude on December 31st.  The Hillcrest Board will meet in January to begin the timetable for phasing this important campus improvement.  Campaign participation has come from alumni and Hillcrest families and friends.  It is a remarkable blessing to experience such a generous outpouring of response toward the campaign!



Rev. Steven Brue is the President at Hillcrest Lutheran Academy in Fergus Falls, MN