Since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, Puget Sound Adventist Academy, in Kirkland, Washington., did what all schools had to do — adjust. Unfortunately, the new uncertain reality forced everyone, especially educators and administrators, to postpone parts of their programs to maintain safety.
Preserving a consistent quality education for students was a challenge. For PSAA, it meant cutting back the sports programs, extracurricular activities, trips and more. While the adjusted program was a disappointment to students and staff alike, changes were a necessary step to simply keep the doors open for in-person learning.
Now that the initial panic of the pandemic is under better control and society has adjusted to new realities, PSAA has been enjoying a school year with more possibilities than the last. Students have finally been able to participate in an adjusted sports season, as well as extracurriculars and most annual trips. But one of the most exciting aspects brought back to the program, is the ability to participate in community service.
During PSAA’s annual fall Connect Trip to Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory, the academy had the opportunity to live out two of its pillar values — compassionate service and Christianity in action. The event was coordinated by Troy Ahrens, chaplain and Bible teacher, in collaboration with Brian Combs, supervisor of Fort Lawton Military Cemetery.
After a brief conversation about paying respect to military members and their families, students and staff got to work cleaning the gravestones of U.S. service members and their families. Combs supplied the brushes and buckets, while PSAA students and staff provided the energy.
“Doing service projects, such as this one, is important because it helps our students see outside themselves and to see how others take care of people," Ahrens said.
The service project was enjoyed by all participants. “It was a really eye-opening experience," said Sam Mesfin, junior. "It shows to go that a lot of people are affected by the tragedy that is war. It was just really humbling.”
With the prospect of a more COVID-safe future on the horizon, Ron Jacaban, PSAA principal, looks forward to more opportunities to live out PSAA’s mission through service. Jacaban said, “Showing Christ’s love though service is what the Adventist educational experience is all about.”
To learn more about what PSAA is doing, go to PSAA.org.