Ten graduating seniors were recipients of the Caring Heart Award, given annually to academy students who exhibit leadership qualities in their churches and communities.
Funded by the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists and a private foundation, the award provides a $500 scholarship to each winner, to be used for participation in a mission or outreach project or to apply toward tuition in a Seventh-day Adventist school.
Chelsea Bliss, 2002 graduate of Columbia Adventist Academy, is the daughter of Sandi Bliss. Her involvement in mission trips to several countries and numerous community service activities on and off campus have inspired her to attend Walla Walla College and major in psychology, in preparation for a career as a family counselor.
Her family attends the Meadow Glade Church in Battle Ground, Wash.
Stephanie Brister, daughter of Penny O’Neill, plans to help people by becoming a police officer. During two of her three years at Gem State Adventist Academy, she served as head resident assistant. Oregon Youth Challenge, local church activities at the Eastgate Church in Walla Walla, Wash., feeding the homeless, and volunteering at a nursing home were just some of the activities that filled her time.
Eric Denney and his parents, Marvin and Carolyn Denney, are members of the Walla Walla College Church. He will use his scholarship at Walla Walla College this fall. He was known as an "up front" student leader at Walla Walla Valley Academy and served as assistant to the chaplain, organizing other students to lead out in worships and spiritual activities.
Katie Hickerson is said to "embody the spirit of Portland Adventist AcademyChrist-centered and character-driven." She plans to major in physical education and religion at Walla Walla College. Katie participated in PAA’s mission trip to Fiji and helped with weeks of prayer in California and Idaho.
She and her parents, Tom and Linda Hickerson, are members of the Pleasant Valley Church in Gresham, Ore.
Michael Johnston consistently showed a positive, Christ-like attitude at Upper Columbia Academy. Besides local outreach activities, he participated in the school-sponsored mission trip to Ground Zero in New York City.
The son of Bob and Cheryl Johnston of Scottsdale, Ariz., Michael will be enrolling in Walla Walla College this fall.
Lauren Manteghi plans to major in nursing at Pacific Union College, with an emphasis in international affairs, and she hopes to use her scholarship to participate in a medical mission trip.
Her love for children was shown by mentoring children in a hospital setting, teaching in outdoor school, and donating her long locks of hair to the Leukemia Foundation, which makes wigs for children undergoing cancer treatment.
This graduate of Puget Sound Adventist Academy is the daughter of Farid and Jeannie Manteghi of Kent, Wash.
Brittney McClannahan of Puyallup, Wash., is the daughter of Skip and Danielle McClanahan. During her years at Auburn Adventist Academy, she worked in the Campus Ministries office, sang in the Sylvan Chorale, organized evening worship programs, and participated in humanitarian trips to other countries.
She plans to attend Southern Adventist University, where she will major in education and minor in music.
Jamila Meesarapu will use her scholarship at Andrews University, where she plans to major in communications. Her fellow students at Milo Adventist Academy recognize her as an appropriate model because of the quiet Christian spirit she exhibited by always being ready to provide a listening ear and help wherever needed.
Jamila is the daughter of James and Premila Meesarapu of Albany, Ore.
Sierra Phillips, graduate of Mount Ellis Academy, plans to major in elementary education at Union College. The daughter of Bruce Phillips and Kay Stevenson of Sandpoint, Idaho, has been on two mission trips, worked in soup kitchens, helped clean homes for elderly people, and led out in student worships.
Moisés Ramírez has been a spiritual leader on campus at Cascade Christian Academy and has participated in community service and mission trips.
The weekly Scripture verses he posted challenged and inspired his fellow students. This fall will find him at Walla Walla College, majoring in theology.
He is the son of Manuel and María Ramírez, members of the Wenatchee, Wash., Hispanic Church.