Student Follows God's Lead to GSAA

Lucas Drake, Gem State Adventist Academy senior, arrived on campus a week after school started his freshman year — the day before the whole school left for the annual spiritual retreat at Camp Ida-Haven.

He had never been to GSAA and did not want to be there. However, after a negative experience with public school the previous year, it seemed God had plans for Drake to come to GSAA.

Family roots run deep at GSAA for Drake. His great-grandparents, Harold and Nelma Drake, graduated in the early 1940s. They went on to found the assisted living industry and, with the blessings that God bestowed, they were very supportive of both GSAA and Walla Walla University. They helped many students attain an Adventist education and were spiritually influential in many lives. Drake’s grandfather, Richard, and his wife, Melody, also graduated from GSAA.


Lucas Drake has grown in his relationship with God while at GSAA.

Despite his initial hesitation, Drake knew God had a plan for him. He credits Matthew Fitting, head dean at the time, for helping him decide to attend and for being one of the most positive influences in his life.

Drake remembers Fitting playing baseball with him for hours, even when he wasn’t on duty.

“He was a great encourager and mentor,” said Drake. He has also been impacted by many other staff members and believes John Soulé to be the best principal ever. “GSAA has amazing teachers who have relationships with God and care about the students. They do what they do not for money but as a mission,” Drake said.

Drake has grown in his relationship with God while at GSAA. One experience that stands out is when Mike Lowe, pastor and guest speaker, came for Week of Prayer Drake’s junior year. The messages got Drake thinking and he decided to challenge God to see if God really cared about him personally.

As a janitor in the dorm, Drake had never been asked to clean the chapel, so he told God, “If you are real, ask me to clean the chapel.”

Just as he finished up some of his other work duties, the dean asked him to go clean the chapel. Drake thought, “Wow! I guess God is real and He is here.” Other students have been good examples to him as well, and their faith has helped his grow.


Lucas Drake is a senior at Gem State Adventist Academy.

Drake knows how blessed he has been to attend GSAA. He is grateful he doesn't have to be afraid to talk about God and isn't bullied for being a Christian. He has made some very good friends and believes they will continue to impact his life even after he graduates.

When asked if he would recommend GSAA, he declared, “I would recommend GSAA to anyone. My negative opinion was crushed because of how amazing it was for me.”

Currently, Drake is praying about the future but believes he will go to college or trade school. He is awaiting God’s leading. As the saying goes, “The safest place in all the world is in the will of God.” What a blessing it is that for the past four years that place has been at GSAA.

Featured in: March/April 2024


Marta Stone

Gem State Adventist Academy teacher and campus communication assistant