Caring Heart Award Winners for 2014

Thirteen Northwest academy students were recipients of 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.

Mikeala Herman

Auburn Adventist Academy

Mikeala Herman is an outstanding student known for her helpful attitude and her ability to follow through on projects. Herman is a junior this year and has attended Auburn Adventist Academy since her freshman year. She is a student musician involved in wind ensemble and orchestra and a participant in the annual school musical. As a leader on campus, Herman has held a class office for three years. While keeping her grades up and participating in school activities including the recent mission trip to Belize, Herman has also chosen to work in the office since the summer before her freshman year of school. Herman exemplifies a student leader with a heart for helpfulness.

Joseph Harrison

Cascade Christian Academy

Joseph Harrison is a junior at Cascade Christian Academy in Wenatchee, Wash., with plans to attend either George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon, or Seattle Pacific University when he graduates to pursue a doctorate in either chemistry or astronomy. As a student worker, Harrison has for the past six years displayed a consistency in his attitude and spirit that have only grown and matured through the years. He displays patience with other students far longer than most. He is known by students and teachers to be kind and always ready to point out the good in others. Harrison models a Christian attitude and character.

Harrison plans to use the Caring Heart Award scholarship toward an upcoming mission trip. He and his parents, Phillip and Debbie Harrison, live in Wenatchee.

Alecksana Mallory                          

Columbia Adventist Academy

“How can I help?” “Oh, I can do that!” “I would be happy to take care of that for you.” These are words that you would often hear Columbia Adventist Academy’s Caring Heart recipient utter around the Battle Ground, Washington, school. Alecksana Mallory is always willing to help out — with a worship thought, planning for an event, working extra hours to complete a project or reaching out to serve others. She is four-year student at CAA with an excellent academic record and yet finds time to hold an office — as student association spiritual vice president her junior year and National Honor Society vice resident as a senior. She also uses her time to help out at her local church as a Sabbath School leader and with planning vespers for the youth. She helps with special projects such as worships for Academy Day and National Honor Society events and participates in music, drama and the annual student week of prayer. She shows her love for Christ by sharing her beautiful gift of sign language and is mindful of others. Mallory reaches out and encourages both her classmates and teachers when there is a need. Because of all of these wonderful attributes, the faculty and staff of Columbia Adventist Academy were pleased and honored to nominate Mallory for the Caring Heart Award.

Mallory plans to use the Caring Heart Award scholarship toward tuition at Walla Walla University, where she will study for a career in social work because she hopes to work with troubled teens. Mallory and her parents, Marlin and Karen Mallory, attend the Meadow Glade Church in Battle Ground.

Ahe Leoiki

Gem State Adventist Academy

Ahe Leoiki has been her class president for the past three years. She is working at Camp Ida Haven in McCall, Idaho, for the second year this summer. This is a hotly contested work opportunity. To be hired back for a second year means you work well. Leoiki is a very compassionate, caring leader in her class, which, without her, would experience a void tough to fill. As she heads into her senior year at Gem State Adventist Academy in Caldwell, Idaho, Leoiki’s plans include going go into pediatrics. She has been greatly inspired by one of the Adventist pediatricians in the area. She plans on having this doctor serve as her off-campus mentor for her senior project, which will involve working with kids with cancer.

Leoiki plans to use the Caring Heart Award scholarship toward a mission trip with the Idaho Conference and Gem State Adventist Academy. She and her parents, Joe and Kuipoo Evans, attend Caldwell Church.

Kyle Carter

Livingstone Adventist Academy

Kyle Carter is a junior at Livingstone Adventist Academy in Salem, Oregon, and the associated student body spiritual vice president. He is always involved in leadership and service around campus. In addition, Carter has been on mission trips and been an active part of all service opportunities Livingstone provides. No matter the circumstance, Carter is hard-working, positive, friendly and willing to lead.

Carter plans to use the Caring Heart Award scholarship toward a mission trip. His future plans include going to college, but he has not yet decided which college he will attend or what his major will be. He and his parents, Doug and Amy Carter, live in Tangent, Oregon.

Ardenicia Vaeono

Milo Adventist Academy

Ardenicia Vaeono’s leadership skills have blessed students and staff alike for the last four years on the Milo Adventist Academy campus in Days Creek, Oregon. As senior class president, she has worked tirelessly with her class to help them bond and achieve their potential as spiritual leaders. She regularly organizes classmates to write notes and cards to other students to encourage them and brighten their days. 

Quick to spot students who might not be connecting, Vaeono befriends them, going out of her way to interact with them daily. She has traveled internationally on mission trips to South Africa, the Dominican Republic and China, making friends wherever she goes. Back at home, she makes an effort to connect with international students, making them feel at home and part of Milo. Her enthusiastic participation in Pathfinders has included preaching for Oregon Conference camporees on two separate occasions, as well as on local Pathfinder Sabbaths. She graduated from Pathfinder Teen Leadership Training in February and has been a speaker for student week of prayer. 

A cheerful volunteer during Neighbor Days and Campus Days, Vaeono's happy spirit helps others feel glad to be involved. She doesn’t just preach her faith; she lives it out.

Vaeono plans on attending Walla Walla University. Her parents are Tavita and Apiseka Vaeono.

Skyla Jenkins

Mount Ellis Academy

Skyla Jenkins is a four-year senior at Mount Ellis Academy in Bozeman, Montana. She plans to attend Union College in Nebraska. Her parents live in Belgrade, Montana, and her father is a pastor for the Montana Conference.

Since Jenkins' freshmen year she has been a secret sister to all the academy students and church members. She likes making cookies and writing notes to friends here at school and in her church.

She raised funds to buy shoes for children in Africa and sent them on her own. She has spent numerous hours in Bozeman soup kitchens with her church family. Mission trips are also on the top of her list for helping others. She likes serving in a silent way and not making a big deal of good deeds. 

Her Caring Heart money will be going toward another mission trip to continue a life of service.

Kelly Petro

Orcas Christian School

Kelly Petro has been a student at Orcas Christian School  (OCS) in Eastsound, Washington, for many years, including middle school and high school. Petro has a great heart for service. Attending all of the mission trips offered to her, She has been an active student on both global and domestic service trips. She also serves her community and her peers by helping with all local service opportunities, as well as being involved with planning school events and making OCS a great place to be. Staff members were pleased to name Petro as Orcas Christian School's Caring Heart this year.

Ellen Sperl

Portland Adventist Academy

Ellen Sperl, a senior at Oregon's Portland Adventist Academy, has helped students complete class work in order to pass classes and, in one case, in order to graduate. Sperl quietly and efficiently takes care of the needs of students and staff. She continually reaches out to those who are overwhelmed, challenged or discouraged. To her this is as natural as breathing. She sees nothing special about this. It is an intrinsic way for her to serve Jesus by serving other.

Sperl plans to use the Caring Heart Award scholarship toward tuition at Walla Walla University. She and her parents, Mike and Mary Sperl, make their home in Scappoose, Oregon.

Zach Davis

Puget Sound Adventist Academy

When the staff of Puget Sound Adventist Academy in Kirkland, Washington, considered the students who would be eligible for the Caring Heart Award, Zach Davis’ name continually rose to the top of the list. Davis, a senior, is a quiet influence on the school campus, influencing both his peers and his teachers. When a student has a problem he is one of the first to see if he can help or offer a prayer for support. The staff has observed Davis also quietly offers to mentor younger students who face hardship in an effort to help them adjust to academy life. He is also one of the many student tutors on campus. As a school leader, he takes his responsibilities seriously and enjoys working with other leaders to create an environment for all students to enjoy.

Davis is planning to attend Walla Wall University in the fall, where he will study industrial design and computer programming. Throughout his high school years he has found outreach and service to others to be extremely important. The highlight of his outreach opportunities came with a mission trip to Fiji in his junior year. He enjoyed helping another culture create something to enhance their worship of God, and it gave him a real appreciation for how privileged his life, and that of his peers here in the States, really is.

Wherever God leads him, Davis is thankful for the unbreakable bonds of friendship that he has formed and the support that those individuals bring to his life. He and his parents, Mike and Janice Davis, attend the Kirkland Church.

Gwendolyn Hamblin

Rogue Valley Adventist Academy

The first thing you notice about Gwen Hamblin, a senior at Rogue Valley Adventist Academy in Medford, Oregon, is her kindness. She is a wonderful, positive influence on everyone she meets. Hamblin volunteers in her community with school-sponsored events, as well as on her own time.

Hamblin plans to use the Caring Heart Award scholarship toward school tuition. She plans to attend a four-year university. She and her parents, Elizabeth White and Russell Hamblin, are members of the Medford Church.

Jessica Herrera

Skagit Adventist Academy

Jessica Herrera was selected for the Caring Heart Award at Skagit Adventist Academy in Burlington, Washington, for many reasons. She is a youth leader at North Cascade Spanish Church in Mount Vernon, Washington, where helps out in children's Sabbath School. She cares for people and helps them with their problems. She tutors students, participated in a school mission trip to Belize and is a consistent student worker.

Herrera serves as interpreter for Homeless Connect and other community and church outreach activities. She initiated, organized and led out in a girls' middle school mentoring program and has served as senior class treasurer and a spiritual leader on campus.

She plans to use the Caring Heart Award scholarship toward tuition at Walla Walla University and is considering a career in medicine or psychology. Herrera lives with her sister and brother-in-law, Hermelinda and David Sierra.

Suzanna Officer

Upper Columbia Academy

Suzanna Officer is a senior at Upper Columbia Academy in Spangle, Washington. She was selected to receive the Caring Heart Award because of her involvement in mission trips. She is mission-focused on and off the UCA campus during the year. She continually makes Christ known through a variety of venues.

Officer plans to use the Caring Heart Award scholarship for the glory of God. Her future plans include attending Walla Walla University to study English and music and serving Jesus with overseas missionary work. She comes from a family of 16 children in Inchelium, Washington. Her parents are Barry and Debbie Officer.

Cassandra Mason

Walla Walla Valley Academy

Cassandra Mason is a senior at Walla Walla Valley Academy in College Place, Washington. She served as literature evangelist with the Upper Columbia Conference in the summer of 2013. She was the senior class spiritual vice president and a member of WWVA’s Missions 101 class that went to Latvia during spring break for a mission trip.

Mason is a very caring student who shows that every day in the way she interacts with her fellow students. She has also showed through the activities she chooses to participate in that she has a caring heart. She plans to use the Caring Heart Award scholarship at Walla Walla University, where she will study nursing. Mason and her parents, James and Karen Mason, attend the Walla Walla University Church.

June 23, 2014 / Feature