In the Seventh-day Adventist Church, we believe that teaching young people to be actively involved in witnessing and service activities is central to the educational goals of the school and the mission of the church. For this reason, the secondary student "Caring Heart Award" for Christian service has been established to give recognition to those students who have demonstrated a personal commitment to active service and witnessing activities.
Through the Caring Heart Award, the importance of witnessing and service activities is emphasized and given appropriate recognition along with academic, athletic, music and other school awards and honors. It is the purpose of this award to not only give appropriate recognition, but to foster increased awareness and participation in witnessing and service activities by all students. To be eligible, the student should be a full-time junior or senior student with a strong citizenship record, who has given evidence of a personal commitment to witnessing and service activities by exhibiting initiative and responsibility for carrying through, serving as an overall example on the campus. Criteria also might include significant and varied participation in service-type activities, witnessing experiences, and mission trips (inside and/or outside the country).
The North American Division (NAD) Office of Education provides one Caring Heart Award to each NAD-accredited senior academy that has selected an eligible candidate. The award will consist of a special scholarship award certificate with a value of $500, which is paid by the Union and accompanied by a plaque and engraved Bible provided by the NAD Office of Education. The scholarship award may be used by the student award recipient for either funding a mission trip experience, or as tuition assistance at the Adventist school of their choice.
The recipients for the 2018‒2019 school year are:
Andrews Academy — John Kent
What I (Ben Martin) appreciate about John Kent is not his kind heart, although he has one. It is not his ability to talk about God on the spot, which he is able. What I most appreciate about John is his willingness to serve. If there is ever someone who needs help, John is willing to put other duties and tasks aside to help. In a world where our schedules seem to fill up beyond all reasonable belief, John always has time to help. He is hardworking and committed. If John says that he is going to do something, it is as good as done. And regardless of how hectic his schedule might be, John does not pass by those who are suffering without stopping to help. When the question “Who is my neighbor?” is asked, the answer is John Kent.
Battle Creek Academy — Mallary Anderson
Mallary is the Student Association pastor, and she has taken the role seriously and worked to encourage students to invest in the spiritual health of the school. She helped to organize a student-led week of prayer on miracles this past October. She also led the high school student body to pray together once a month. Beyond this, Mallary consistently exemplifies a compassionate, respectful and responsible student. She carries around snacks for another student who may become tired or emotional with low blood sugar. She volunteered to help with finishing last year’s yearbook without expectation of reward. She has spent the year cultivating a friendship with a younger student who needs a mentor. Mallary’s initiative, kindness and constancy make this reward well deserved.
Great Lakes Adventist Academy — Denielle Babb
Denielle Babb is a committed, Christian, young lady with a quiet, gentle spirit. She serves others as a Christ-like, humble servant leader, always looking for the best in others. She has a compassionate heart and jumps at any opportunity to encourage others with a picture, note or Scripture. Although she is quiet, she is not afraid to try new things and is often found at the audio-visual booth, playing just about any instrument she can put her hands on, or writing uplifting songs of praise. Denielle truly lives out her faith in all aspects of her life!
Grand Rapids Adventist Academy — Amanda Orosco
Amanda Orosco was born and has lived all her life in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She has attended Grand Rapids Adventist Academy (GRAA) all 13 years and graduated in May. Baptized in 2014, Amanda’s spirituality is never failing, and she will not hesitate to stand up for what is right. She has been on three mission trips, one in the Dominican Republic and two in Tennessee. Amanda also has volunteered at Gilda’s Club, Habitat for Humanity, and does work for the disabled. She plans to attend Andrews University next fall. Anyone who knows her can attest to her bubbly personality.
Hinsdale Adventist Academy — Alex Navarro
A few years ago, Alex Navarro, left the public school system and began attending Hinsdale Adventist Academy to follow in the path of his brother. In three years, Alex has completed high school and along the way, something marvelous transpired — his heart was transformed.
Throughout the last two years at HAA, Alex has been class pastor, gone on mission trips, spoken at his church for spiritual weekend events and for a week of prayer. He has initiated and led an early morning Bible study for teens and is a regular participant in the school’s Friday after-school Bible study. He is the only student to have faithfully come to each of the school’s early morning Wednesday prayer times.
In addition to all these activities, the National Honor Society scholar is involved in tutoring students for countless hours and serving in his Pathfinder club.
Indiana Academy — Melanie Taina
Melanie was selected for her demonstrated commitment to Christian service. When asked what service meant to her, Melanie, a graduating senior in the class of 2019, wrote: “Christ calls each of us to love and serve Him. In John 21:15, He told Peter that if he loved Him more than the world, he would feed His sheep. When I finally realized that [same directive applied to me] as a Christian, my life completely changed to imbed this new mission statement into my life. If I really loved Christ, I would take care of His people. I’m not a perfect shepherd but, because I love God, it’s what I want to do. As I go into college this upcoming year, it will be His first service to us that will continue to compel me to serve others.”
Peterson-Warren Academy — Chauntanique Briggs
As the Student Association president, Chauntanique has been actively engaging her fellow students in different school community events. She has attended PWA since kindergarten and demonstrated excellence in every subject. In the spring of 2017, Chauntanique led out the Revelation Seminar at City Temple Church for nine weeks.
Chauntanique has participated in several community service projects, such as Habitat for Humanity–Western Wayne County and Meals on Wheels. She also ran track from seventh through ninth grades and participated on the cheerleading team during her junior year. She serves her church community as Junior Usher, Master Guide and Junior Deaconess, while maintaining a 3.99 GPA. She has worked very closely with the Detroit Zoological Society since the summer of 2018.
Wisconsin Academy — Ximong Thao
Walk into the men’s dorm at Wisconsin Academy and you’ll see neatly trimmed hair. That’s because Ximong Thao has taken on the role of dorm barber. He developed his haircutting talent while living as a refugee in Thailand. Now he shares it with fellow students.
Ximong’s family came to America in 2016. He tried public school but they didn’t have enough emphasis on academics. He came to Wisconsin Academy the 2018‒2019 year as a Junior because he knows it will give him a strong platform for college and his dream of becoming an engineer.
Ximong has an outstanding work ethic and exemplary study habits. Moreover, he has become a cherished friend, especially to those who are struggling or disaffected. He’s always ready to share his faith, cheerfulness and wise perspective.
Ximong says of his new school, “People are so nice.” The nicest of all, perhaps, is Ximong Thao.