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2022 Caring Heart Awards

Fifteen Northwest academy students received the $500 Caring Heart Award scholarship, made possible through three-way funding from the North Pacific Union Conference, local conferences and academies. Students were selected by their schools for exemplifying the spirit of the Caring Heart — a willingness to serve others. The North American Division provided each student with a plaque and an engraved Bible. The scholarships may be used toward tuition at an Adventist school or on a short-term mission trip.

Isaac Hammond

Isaac Hammond, Amazing Grace Academy

Isaac Hammond

Amazing Grace Academy

Isaac Hammond joined the Amazing Grace Academy family this year and has actively sought out ways to be kind to others and be a positive leader. He has a love of music and has led out in our daily morning worship. His music leadership has extended to the Palmer Church as well, where he shares worship music frequently.   

When Isaac came to AGA this year, he immediately started setting an example of being kind to others and being careful about what he says about others. When working with younger students in family groups, he is patient and gentle with the young students while helping them follow directions and work together. 

Isaac’s positive sportsmanship has been a great asset to the volleyball team and any intramural activities he’s involved in. Isaac has shown thoughtful leadership as the spiritual vice president of the student association.

We are looking forward to seeing how God continues to work in Isaac’s life and how He will continue to lead Issac to positively impact others.

Isabella Branson

Isabella Branson, Auburn Adventist Academy

Isabella Branson

Auburn Adventist Academy

Isabella Branson, a junior at Auburn Adventist Academy, is a kind, motivated, hard-working leader. As the associated student body social vice president, she uses her leadership qualities to help create activities that bring the student body together.

Isabella was instrumental in bringing back an all-school banquet, which had not taken place since 2019 due to COVID-19. Stephanie Brito, assistant girls’ dean, shared this about Isabella. “She was very self-sufficient and proactive. She could see what needed to be done and would do a great job doing it.”

Joy Fackenthall, Spanish teacher said, “Isabella Branson always strives for excellence! She is also willing to use her understanding [of a subject] to help any student around her who needs extra support.”

Her kindness toward others who need extra support resulted in her co-founding a student mentorship club on campus. Isabella was described by Eddy Darisme, AAA chaplain, as a “strong critical thinker in the classroom and loves to debate. She is respectful of perspectives that are different from hers and strives to do her best.”

These qualities are also evident in her work ethic as a student employee. Bryce Sampsel, science and math teacher, said, "She is responsible and helps a lot with organization. I appreciate her willingness to do any classroom task without complaining — from cleaning to data entry. She is also kind and works well with co-workers."

Her cheerfulness, willingness to take on new challenges, strength, creativity and a great attitude are her many attributes. For these reasons, the faculty and staff at AAA are honored to recognize Isabella Branson as the recipient of the 2022 Caring Hearts Award.

Josué Mendez

Josué Mendez, Columbia Adventist Academy

Josué Mendez

Columbia Adventist Academy

From a very young age, the desire to know God has played an integral part in directing the path Josué has chosen. His desire to know God leads to caring for and blessing others and glorifying God. With a heart for God, family and friends, and a great admiration for his mother as his first spiritual mentor, he has taken advantage of every opportunity to develop his devotional life and become a humble, earnest student of Scripture with Spirit-led depth.

Always anxious to do what is right, this desire is exhibited wherever he goes, whether in a church leading worship in singing and speaking, in his community helping and caring for others or on the field playing soccer. Quick to offer friendship, he is uplifting, encouraging and a role model and mentor to all. He has been the student chaplain for three years at CAA, taking initiative and ownership beyond most.

Aaron Payne, mentor and CAA chaplain said, “Not only does Josué have a heart for Jesus, but he ‘gets’ ministry and is always searching for ways to grow: watching sermons, talking with pastors and reading books.”

Some might be surprised that a high school senior is such a great leader. But as a family friend once said, “If you’ve ever heard his mom pray for him, it's no surprise.”

His internship with Crosswalk Church this summer will continue to shape him. And while we will miss his presence and friendship on our campus, his influence and spirit will continue. For that, we thank him and give praise to God.

Stuart McPherson

Stuart McPherson, Cascade Christian Academy

Stuart McPherson

Stuart McPherson

Cascade Christian Academy

Caring and committed are two words that describe Stuart McPherson, Cascade Christian Academy senior and Caring Heart Award winner. Stuart is a student who is always ready to help out.

Quiet and hardworking, Stuart shows his love for Jesus more through his actions than through his words. Recently, Stuart spent 10 days on a school mission trip laying pipe, pouring foundations, staining wood, and doing yard work and repairs at Camp Waianae in Oahu, Hawaii. When he returned, he was one of the student speakers for the K–12 week of worship.

A member of cross-country and track, he is always on the run. He is a French horn player in the advanced band and a part of the high school hand bell choir. He is also the photo editor for the yearbook.

“Stuart puts his heart and soul into everything he does,” said Kyle Pepple, senior sponsor and math teacher. “He leads by example and is respected by all students and staff. Whether he is speaking for week of worship, attacking the hurdles at a track meet or leading a work crew on our mission trip to Camp Waianae, Stuart brings a fearless, can-do attitude to the table."

Next year, he plans to attend Walla Walla University and study engineering. Pepple said, "Good luck at Walla Walla, Stuart. The engineering department is lucky to have you."

Ivy Baltazar

Ivy Baltazar, Gem State Adventist Academy

Ivy Baltazar

Gem State Adventist Academy

Ivy Baltazar, a junior at Gem State Adventist Academy, has a big heart and would do anything for her family and friends. She is very artistic and a hard worker in class, always doing her part and never too busy to assist and inspire others. This year, Ivy is the spiritual vice president for her class and has served well in that position planning vespers, Sabbath School programs and giving a sermon during student week of prayer.

During spring break 2022, Ivy participated in a mission trip to Alaska. To help raise funds for the trip, she put her artistic talent to work and sold commissioned original artwork. While on the trip, group leaders appreciated her quiet care for everyone around her, from phoning home every day to talk to her little sister to sharing food with her teammates and caring for them all. In addition, she interacted well with the local children attending the Vacation Bible School and was an appreciated part of the team.

Ivy believes that missionary work may be part of her future after finishing academy. She is prayerfully considering the paths on which God may lead her.

Rachael Littman

Rachael Littman, Livingstone Adventist Academy

Rachael Littman

Livingstone Adventist Academy

Rachael Littman is a junior at Livingstone Adventist Academy in Salem, Oregon.

As a class officer, a spiritual leader and a music leader, Rachael is very involved in campus leadership. She is a dedicated student, and she helps her class stay organized and on task. She is frequently seen encouraging students in all classes. She was also instrumental in helping plan week of prayer activities on campus.

At her home church in Eugene, Rachael plays piano for Sabbath School and helps lead music with a praise team once a month. She also plays piano at school and works to include others in music-making endeavors.

Rachael is a person who can always be counted on to get things done. No matter who needs help, she is always one of the first to step up and provide assistance. She is very organized and accomplishes challenging tasks with the spirit of Col. 3:23: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters."

Thank you, Rachael, for your godly spirit and caring heart.

Zechariah Heston

Zechariah Heston, Milo Adventist Academy

Zechariah Heston

Milo Adventist Academy

With his infectious laugh, energetic attitude and a bounce in his steps, Zechariah Ethan Montgomery Heston, a Milo Adventist Academy senior, has made a lasting impression on the entire staff and student body during his three years at Milo. He has shown himself to be a loyal friend and strong supporter of his peers with his listening ear. He has earned the trust and confidence of so many through his concern for their well-being.

Zech’s care and concern for others have especially been felt through his role as a student chaplain. His enthusiasm and advice for living a life of meaning and purpose for others can best be summed up in his own words. During a talk to his fellow students earlier this year, he said, “Vibe as who you are, which means to be a cool kid, be a genuine person.”

Putting his own advice into practice each week, Zech prepares and sets up the tools and vehicles for Milo’s weekly service-day outreach. The program serves the local community every Friday morning. It is not uncommon to hear Zech cheerfully whistling or singing down the hallway as he prepares and organizes everything needed to run the program smoothly.

Zech's mission to help people while also utilizing his artistic talents and skills are attributes Zech hopes to use in a future career in art and computer animation. He is anxiously awaiting the doors God opens for his educational path. His parents are Mark and Lydia Heston from Stites, Idaho.

Shelby Waller

Shelby Waller, Mount Ellis Academy

Shelby Waller

Mount Ellis Academy

Shelby Waller was born in Washington and grew up in Montana and Colorado. Shelby enjoys family, the great outdoors, horses, music, and helping friends and classmates with class work or issues they might be dealing with. 

Shelby completed her first three years of high school at Campion Academy in Colorado. There, she excelled academically, was involved in a small worship group and became a Teen Leader in Training (TLT) in the Loveland Pathfinder troop. Shelby met friends who challenged her to grow in her relationship with God and to begin her thought process of a life in ministry.

Shelby transferred to Mount Ellis Academy her senior year. She joined with other students from each grade level to take on chaplaincy duties for the school in the absence of a staff chaplain. As the senior class chaplain, she assisted in starting small group Bible studies, she organized and presented for week of prayer — both at the academy and elementary school — and preached when needed.

After graduation, Shelby plans to continue leading as a TLT. She will also continue to cultivate her desire for ministry, with a focus on foreign missions. She looks forward to a future of working for Jesus wherever that may take her. "Anywhere with Jesus I can safely go," she says.

Alexander Diego Rivera

Alexander Diego Rivera, Orcas Christian School

Alexander Diego Rivera

Orcas Christian School

Whether you are looking for help running a station at a school event, serving food at a community dinner, playing worship music at chapel or moving the contents of a classroom across campus after a pipe bursts, Alexander Diego Rivera will be there ready and willing to help. His quiet strength, confidence and natural affinity for leadership have made him an asset to Orcas Christian School. For four years, OCS has been blessed to have him in the classroom, on the basketball court and at church.  

Not only does Diego work hard to serve others, he is also a member of the National Honors Society, first in his graduating class and is pursuing his private pilot certificate. In the classroom, he is engaged, inquisitive and ready to help support others’ learning.

Most recently, Diego showed his caring heart by attending the school’s mission trip to San Pedro, Belize. Despite having no prior building experience, Diego was not deterred from helping expand the roof of the school’s pavilion. He jumped into the project without hesitation, eager to help and eager to learn.  

It has been OCS's privilege to teach and encourage Diego for four years. The OCS teachers and staff pray that God continues to use Diego’s hands to bless others.

Shamara Daniels

Shamara Daniels, Portland Adventist Academy

Shamara Daniels

Portland Adventist Academy

Shamara Daniels is a self-sacrificing, humble and dedicated Christian. Shamara has made a strong impression during her four years at Portland Adventist Academy.  

She is a compassionate listener who provides unwavering support to other students. Shamara has exemplified the loving character of her Creator. She seeks to find the best in others and can pull out the hidden strengths found in those around her.

In a school community where students are encouraged to make a difference in the lives of others, Shamara has provided support to her family, her church community, and the students and staff of Portland Adventist Academy. Shamara’s core foundation is to live a life filled with a gentle spirit, which shines with the light of Christ. She is an outspoken witness to her walk with God and is loyal to Him above all else.

Shamara is a caretaker to her peers. She seeks to lift up those who are hurting. She celebrates those who are striving to reach a goal. She brings out the best in others. Shamara lives her life like the widow who put her money quietly into the collection plate. She seeks no reward or accolades for her actions or service, and she works for the Lord unapologetically. Shamara leaves a legacy at PAA for others to follow. It is a legacy of strength in the foundation of her salvation-seeking joy, a loyalty to her peers and Christ-centered compassion, offered to all.

Tyler Sin

Tyler Sin, Puget Sound Adventist Academy

Tyler Sing

Puget Sound Adventist Academy

Because Tyler Sing is eager to help his fellow students and the staff at Puget Sound Adventist Academy, he was selected, by teachers and staff, to receive this year's Caring Heart Award. Throughout his four years on our campus, he has demonstrated this heart of service countless times. Staff have often witnessed these acts of service and have noted how he does so quietly, showing no desire for congratulations. Many times, he has taken initiative to ask staff and students if help is needed on a project they are working on. 

Tyler stands out as a student who truly cares about his school and community. His desire and dependability to take initiative have made a noticeable impact on PSAA, and we know that he will continue to do so wherever he goes. For these reasons, PSAA is pleased to recognize Tyler Sing as this year’s Caring Heart Award recipient.

Jeremy Haddad

Jeremy Haddad, Rogue Valley Adventist Academy

Jeremy Haddad

Rogue Valley Adventist Academy

Jeremy Haddad is a believer in community service. He recognizes and responds to those in need, whether it be on a school-sponsored mission trip, in his local community or in his daily interactions with others.

The Rogue Valley Adventist Academy staff can always rely on Jeremy to lend a helping hand. The community service coordinator appreciates Jeremy for seeking him out to ask if there is anything he can help with.

Jeremy is the son of Dr. Haitham and Sheila Haddad. He has an older sister, Jasmine, and a twin brother, David. Jeremy has lived most of his life in Grants Pass, Oregon, where he also attended Grants Pass Adventist School throughout his elementary years. He joined Rogue Valley Adventist Academy his freshman year. Currently, he plans to attend Walla Walla University this fall.

Being kind is a quality Jeremy extends to everyone he meets. It is easy to recognize his caring heart because of his desire to serve, care and help those in need. It is for these reasons the staff and teachers at RVAA are privileged to extend the Caring Heart Award to Jeremy Haddad.

Shayla Mountain

Shayla Mountain, Skagit Adventist Academy

Shayla Mountain

Skagit Adventist Academy

Skagit Adventist Academy is pleased to nominate senior, Shayla Mountain, as this year’s Caring Heart Award recipient. Shayla’s caring and thoughtful spirit is seen during outreach activities at her local church. She is known for helping at Vacation Bible School and Children’s Church, joining the youth to invite the local community to meetings at the church and doing yard work and cleanup for housebound seniors. 

SAA has been blessed with Shayla’s creativity as a two-year member of the yearbook staff. She shared her artistic talents last year by designing the 2020–2021 yearbook cover. During the pandemic days of distance-learning, Shayla used watercolors to illustrate encouraging Bible verses that brightened the lives of others who were stuck inside. In addition to her creativity, Shayla has been involved in intramural activities and the school’s football team. She was a part of football tournaments in 2019 and 2020. 

Her career goal is to be an art teacher. Shayla is contemplating starting at her local community college to fulfill her prerequisite classes and then finishing her four-year degree at Walla Walla University. Her parents are Aaron and Rachel Mountain.

Calina Prouty

Calina Prouty, Upper Columbia Academy

Calina Prouty

Upper Columbia Academy

Calina Prouty is a shining example of Christ-like character and genuine kindness. Within her large family, she is a pillar of positivity as she cares for five younger siblings as well as her parents and grandparents. At school, she is always full of joy and will go out of her way to serve anyone around her that needs help or a word of encouragement.

Calina grew up in a variety of different faiths as her family moved around. It wasn’t until they spent some time living with her grandparents that she was introduced to the Adventist Church and found peace and a closer walk with God. She has grown in her shining witness of Christian values and authenticity and often talks about her relationship with God and how much her faith has supported herself and her family through challenging life experiences.

It has been an absolute pleasure to have Calina as a student at Upper Columbia Academy. Her soft-spoken nature impacts her volunteer work. She actively helps staff and students alike with any task or emotional support that might be needed. Even on hard days, Calina sacrifices her time and resources to improve the day of those around her.

UCA is proud to share this year's Caring Heart Award with Calina Prouty. May everyone learn to love like Calina and Jesus!

Ray Trees III

Ray Trees III, Walla Walla Valley Academy

Raymond Trees III

Walla Walla Valley Academy

Raymond Trees III, Walla Walla Valley Academy graduating senior, loves airplanes. You will always find him looking up whenever one flies over. He plans to become a pilot and learn how to do some repairs if needed.

Ray is also a very talented trumpet player. He started playing trumpet during his 5th-grade year at Rogers Adventist School, following in his fraternal grandmother's footsteps — a trumpet player in school and beyond. He has been the leading musician in the trumpet section since junior high, and all four years in high school. Ray is involved in the community by playing with the Walla Walla Valley Bands and the Inland Northwest Musicians, under the direction of Lee Friese. As a leader in the school band, Ray has encouraged and helped his peers to always strive to do their best and give one hundred percent. 

Ray is always willing to help out whenever asked. He has used his talents with audio/visual and computers for the many plays and events held at WWVA. Throughout the pandemic, Ray helped with the live-streaming of classes and various events.

Ray is also a member of the National Honors Society, and volunteers in community outreach with his peers. Ray joins local food drives, helping with sandbags during the flooding of 2020 and various sporting events. Ray has participated in baseball all four years of high school, was a senator for his class as a sophomore and junior, and is currently the senior class president.

Ray's life has exemplified Walla Walla Valley Academy's mission — Spiritual Awakening, Academic Distinction, Teamwork and Collaboration, Community Connection and Service and a Culture of Gratitude. WWVA will miss Ray, but knows he will be doing great things in the future.

Featured in: July/August 2022