Home Sweet Hillcrest

After recent remodeling, day in the life as a Hillcrest student looks a little different


Front of Hillcrest under construction

Hillcrest High School is almost an Urban Legend  at Kickapoo.

        A big part of this is due to their recent remodeling and small population size. Which seems foreign to us.

    It is the smallest of all the SPS high schools with just around 1,000 students attending.

   Upon entrance of the main building I was greeted by friendly staff, and then introduced to their school’s Vice President, Chloe Sutherland.

  Hillcrest, similar to Kickapoo, is on a four block schedule, with A and B days which they refer to as “orange days and blue days” which means they switch classes every other day. I was there on a blue day.

Sutherland walked us across campus to a separate building housing her first block, AP Psychology. I was then introduced to their teacher, Mr. George, who welcomed me with open arms. 

     Mr. George was extremely friendly and appeared to have a close relationship with his students.

     The class was watching a documentary for the class. 

     One thing which separates Hillcrest from other SPS schools (aside from Glendale) is their Pathway Program.

The Pathway Program allows  students to take one class every year that relates to their plans after high school.

     Sutherland’s pathway class was health science second block. This class only had nine people in it and was taught by Mr. Vaughan.

I was  absolutely shocked at what I saw in the secondary classroom. There were four hospital beds with medical mannequins, a  model ambulance, and an Anatomage table (a touch screen table where you can work on virtual patients). 

        In Health Science the kids got to work hands-on in the medical field and due to the small class size, had a very close relationship with their teacher, Mr. Vaughan and were able to ask questions without raising their hands. For the majority of the class, students and Mr. Vaughan gathered around the Anatomage table to discuss parts of the heart.

          This structure and new technology were all parts of the Hillcrest remodel which is expected to conclude in 2024.

SPS has invested nearly 25 million dollars into remodeling the school.

     Currently there are three separate buildings. The Annex, which is an old

elementary school at the top of a hill, used for music and social studies.

     Then the  science wing which is a separate building that was remodeled in 2011.

     The main building is where most general studies are held, as well as all of the offices.

     Once the remodeling is finished, only the main building and the science building will be utilized.

The district wants to move towards academy schools. This would allow students to have real world experience, before they invest too much time and money into it. Hillcrest was a test school for this program. 

   After second block was over the students entered flex time.

Junior, Cole Griesmer, gave me a tour during this time.

I was able to observe the vast majority of personalized classes which Hillcrest offers their students. There really was something for everyone.

Hillcrest offers FFA, agriculture, JROTC, health science, environmental science, cyber security, journalism, business management, engineering, FTA, and award winning broadcast journalism classes. These classes are provided with high tech tools to help students get the most value out of their time in the class before deciding if they would like to further pursue the field they chose for their pathway.

   Griesemer stated his favorite thing about Hillcrest was, “We’re more than just a school,” and continues on to explain that the student body was like family. 

  Before leaving Hillcrest I exchanged goodbyes with their principal, Dr. Kroll, who curious as to what I thought about their school. In all honesty I have nothing, but nice things to say about the school. Truly, everything was great. I thoroughly enjoyed my day in the life of a Hillcrest student.

Senior Vice President, Chloe Sutherland
student using the Anatomage table
Student using the medical mannequin
Front of Hillcrest under construction