Pacific Union Recorder—April 2024

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Seventh Annual Education Issue PACIFIC UNION APRIL 2024

We are thankful to those who have allowed us to share their experiences in the Adventist educational system—both as students and as teachers—in this seventh annual education issue of the Recorder. We hope that their words will inspire future generations of students to join their ranks and make a significant difference in the church as well as in society. We are also thankful to the schools that year after year allow us to visit their campuses and take photos of their activities. This year the photos are from the Arizona, Hawaii, and Southeastern conferences. We are thankful to the principals as well as the teachers for their help and contributions. On the cover: students from the Victor Valley Seventh-day Adventist School in Victorville, California.


4 Four Teachers Who Changed My Life

9 In Search of Proper Education

12 Some Principles of Christian Education

16 Thriving: Adventist Education’s Wholistic Development

20 Shaped for Serving God

25 A Mother’s Legacy

27 “They Served Me”

30 Teachers: The Exceptional Humans Who Join Our Journeys

32 God Kept the Door Open for Me

34 Dig Deeper, Think Bigger: The Impact of Adventist Higher Education on One Grad’s Life

36 The Appeal of Angwin: The Small College Community with a Big Heart

39 Beyond Textbooks: Students Find Foundation, Transformation at La Sierra

44 Arizona Conference

46 Central California Conference

48 Hawaii Conference

50 Holbrook Indian School

52 Adventist Health

53 La Sierra University

54 Loma Linda University Health

55 Pacific Union College

56 Nevada-Utah Conference

58 Northern California Conference

60 Southeastern California Conference

62 Southern California Conference

64 Pacific Union Conference Schools

92 Pray for the Students and Teachers in Our Schools

94 Sunset Calendar

The Recorder is a monthly publication reaching approximately 76,000 Seventh-day Adventist homes in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and Utah. Our mission is to inform, educate, and inspire our readers to action in all areas of ministry.


Ray Tetz

Editor Alberto Valenzuela

Assistant Editor

Connie Jeffery


Stephanie Leal • Alberto Valenzuela


Pacific Press Publishing Association

Adventist Health 916-742-0429

Kim Strobel

Arizona 480-991-6777 ext 139

Jeff Rogers

Central California 559-347-3034

Justin Kim

Hawaii 808-595-7591

Caleb Schaber

Holbrook Indian School 928-524-6845 x143

Kimberly Cruz

La Sierra University 951-785-2000

Darla Tucker

Loma Linda 909-651-5925

Ansel Oliver

Nevada-Utah 775-322-6929

Michelle Ward

Northern California 916-886-5600

Laurie Trujillo

Editorial Correspondents

Pacific Union College 951-809-6777

Gene Edelbach

Southeastern California 951-509-2256

Andrea King

Southern California 818-546-8400

Lauren Lacson

April 2024 3 What’s inside
Postal Regs: The Pacific Union Recorder (ISSN 0744-6381), Volume 124, Number 4, is the official journal of the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and is published monthly. Editorial office is at 2686 Townsgate Rd., Westlake Village, CA 91361: 805-497-9457. Periodical postage paid at Thousand Oaks, CA, and additional
mailing offices. Subscription rate: No charge to Pacific Union Adventist church members; $16 per year in U.S.; $20 foreign (U.S. funds); single copy, $2. POSTMASTER : Send address changes to: Circulation Department, Pacific Union Recorder, Box 5005, Westlake Village, CA 91359.

Four Teachers Who Changed My Life

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The closest thing to a “family business” in my family is being a teacher. My dad taught science and math and was a small school principal. His parents were both teachers, and so was his sister. (My dad’s uncle was a pioneer teacher in one of the first Adventist schools in western Canada.) My first job for the church was as an MV Taskforce volunteer teaching elementary Bible at Okanagan Academy in Kelowna, British Columbia. In my life, I’ve had the opportunity to teach Bible and religion classes from fourth grade through college.

I married an English teacher. (Full disclosure—she has taught K through college; I think what was she liked best was teaching the young ones.) Her mother was an English teacher. Her grandmother taught English and other subjects as well. My daughter is an English teacher. My sister is a teacher. (What do you think they talk about when we are together?)

I want to speak tribute today to four of my teachers—three English teachers and one Bible teacher. These four people are each among the most influential in my life. And they were teachers! I’ve had my own “composition of teachers” who shaped my life and career.

Topping the list is my ninth- and tenthgrade English teacher at Andrews Academy, Miss Edith Davis. It was Miss Davis who was the first person who really encouraged me to write. “Encouraged” is too weak a word. She nudged, prompted, pushed, exhorted, urged, propelled, coaxed, insisted, forced, compelled, pressured, and drove me to write.

“Words create worlds,” she would say. “If you really want to see something change, the

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Edith Davis The author in 9th grade

best way to do it is to find great words to describe the changes you seek.”

Words create worlds. That was her watch phrase. Edith Davis was a constructionist—she believed that through Good English Prose you could engage the world in a way that would challenge the status quo and bring about change.

I was just 14 when Miss Davis saw in me something that no one else—including me—had seen. “Write, Raymond, write,” she would say. And even though I was a kid, she was a fierce editor. Miss Davis awakened my interest and talent in writing, journalism, and communication. We became friends and kept in touch across many, many years until her death in 2013.

Miss Davis had a favorite text that summarized her world view: “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. " (Philippians 4:8, KJV).

No one in my life has had a more enduring impact on my life, career, and calling than Miss Davis.

There was an earlier teacher—also an English teacher—who had a major role in my development as a communicator. Miss Ruth Finck was my seventh- and eighth-grade English teacher. She taught us grammar (which I learned poorly), but

what she loved was to explore and celebrate ideas.

In an age when the church seemed frozen and fearful of the changes that were shaking society in the 60s, Miss Finck constantly encouraged us to focus on the possibilities that change could bring. When I was 12 and 13, she taught me that the questions I had were important and not too scary. She was not afraid to have what I considered very serious conversations about the Big Things in life.

If Miss Davis proclaimed, “Words create worlds,” Miss Finck was all about creating great questions— and not being afraid to ask them or of the conversations they created.

She was the first teacher I had who showed me the benefits of being a part of a community whose culture embraced uncertainty—even mistakes—and welcomed the learning derived from them. “IRL” we call it now—In Real Life. Miss Finck believed that the questions we asked were the beginning of change that happened IRL.

I don’t remember a text that she loved, but I do know a text I learned in those years. It’s the one that says that God’s blessings are “new every morning” (Lamentations 3:23). From Miss Finck I began to learn that growth is constant and that inquiry and change happen at the same moment.

My sophomore year of academy, I had a living saint as my Bible teacher—Elder John Kerbs. I don’t know if I would have made it through adolescence without him.

Sometimes I think the biggest challenge in working with young people is that they pursue permanent solutions to temporary problems. They do things that they can’t undo. They engage

These teachers saw the potential in my life, pushed me to pay attention, to dig deeper, to go beyond the surface and find the supporting concepts and ideas that mattered.
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Ruth Finck

in behaviors that become impossible to sustain without damage to themselves and other people.

In my sophomore year, when several of the individuals in my class—including me— were barreling down a pathway that would have resulted in sure disaster, Saint John Kerbs stepped up. He became a real savior and mentor for us. He showed us a better way. His way was always the way of Jesus—not a judgmental Jesus but the positive and accepting one. Elder Kerbs pushed us to see and appreciate the best parts of our lives as ways to address the things that were painful—and at 15, there is plenty that is painful.

He called on us to support each other and to be true to our highest values. Mostly, he encouraged us to lift our eyes past the moment to the future. “Remember,” he would say, quoting Philippians 4:13, “we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.”

Six years after he was my sophomore Bible teacher, I had the chance to work alongside John Kerbs when he was

teaching Bible at PUC Prep and I was the youth pastor for Angwin Youth at the Pacific Union College church. He was one of our sponsors, and we spent many hours together. That’s when I realized he really was a saint—and that not only had he been right, but it was his faithfulness and optimism that had saved me when I most needed saving.

In my senior year, Joyce Connor was our English teacher. She didn’t focus on what I was writing, although she would ruthlessly mark up an essay or poem or song lyric that I happened to be working on. Building on what other members of my composition of teachers had done, she made me pay attention to what I was reading—not only in her classes but in my personal reading as well.

She got me signed up for public library cards— at the local public library and the university—and insisted that I use them. She loaned me books from her own collection. She taught me to love poetry and fiction and drama. On one occasion, Joyce and her husband invited my girlfriend and me to go with them on a “double date” to see a play at Fresno State University. I’d never seen a live stage play

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John Kerbs Joyce Connor

before—stagecraft was electrifying for me! It was the beginning of a lifelong hobby and passion.

When she saw how much I liked theater, she encouraged me to organize and direct a play on our campus—my first turn as a director/producer, which is what I’ve spent most of my life doing.

Joyce Connor thought in poetic terms, and she was just as likely to quote Emily Dickinson or Robert Frost to you as a Bible text to make a moral point. She encouraged me to see the world as a mystery unfolding, a poem being written, a drama played out on a grand stage.

I was reminded of how important that was to her a few years ago when I posted the Langston Hughes poem, “Dreams,” on my Facebook page. It says:

Hold fast to dreams

For if dreams die

Life is a broken-winged bird

That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams

For when dreams go

Life is a barren field

Frozen with snow.

Mrs. Connor, who I interacted with frequently on social media until her death in 2021, send me

a private message that said, “I think I was the person who first taught you that poem.” And she was.

These teachers saw the potential in my life, pushed me to pay attention, to dig deeper, to go beyond the surface and find the supporting concepts and ideas that mattered.

They showed me how to set audacious goals and pursue them. They didn’t care if I failed, only if I didn’t try. They insisted that I think about where ideas would take me—and they used examples from literature and Scripture of people who have succeeded, failed, or gone in totally different directions because they were either faithful to their ideas or had allowed them to be compromised.

I would not be the person I am today—nor would I have enjoyed a decades-long career as a writer and communicator—had they not been my personal composition of teachers. I wouldn’t be writing this tribute. And I am grateful.

Ray Tetz is the director of communication and community engagement for the Pacific Union Conference and the publisher of the Recorder

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In Search of Proper Education

To Adventists living in the twenty-first century it may seem that Christian education has been central to their church from its inception. That, however, is far from the truth. Formal education, in fact, was the last major institutional development within the denomination. The establishment of a rigorous publishing program in 1849, a centralized church organization in 1863, and a health-care outreach in 1866 had all preceded it. By way of contrast, the Adventist Church established its first school in 1872 (28 years after the Millerite disappointment) and did not have a widespread elementary system until nearly 1900.

While the tardy development of Adventist schooling might come as a surprise to presentday Adventists, it had its roots in the very logic of their spiritual forebears, who, above everything else, believed in the immediate return of Jesus. Religious groups focusing on the nearness of the end of the world have generally not felt much need for educating their children beyond the essential

concepts of their religious persuasion and the skills needed to earn a living in the short interim.

That was true of the early Christian church, and it was also the case of early Seventh-day Adventism. Why send children to school, so the logic runs, if the world is soon to end and they will never grow up to use their hard-earned learning? Some might interpret providing a formal education for one's children as a lack of faith in the immediacy of the Advent. Such attitudes were widespread among Seventh-day Adventists.

As late as 1862 a church member wrote James White asking if it was “right and consistent for us who believe with all our hearts in the immediate coming of the Lord, to seek to give our children an education? If so, should we send them to a district school, where they learn twice as much evil as good?"

White replied that "the fact that Christ is very soon coming is no reason why the mind should not be improved. A well-disciplined and informed mind can best receive and cherish the sublime truths of the Second Advent."

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With that statement he set the stage for the development of an Adventist system of schooling.

A flash of concern for Adventist education occurred during the 1850s. James White wrote that you couldn’t just take children from school and “let them run at large with the children in the streets. 'An empty brain is the devil's workshop.'"

Attempts at Adventist schooling sprang up in such places as Buck's Bridge, New York, and Battle Creek, Michigan. But all failed. Thoroughly discouraged on the topic of schooling, James wrote in 1861 that "we have had a thorough trial of a school at Battle Creek, under most favorable circumstances, and have given up."

For another seven years it looked as if schooling was a dead issue in Adventism. Then came Goodloe Harper Bell.

Bell first went to Battle Creek in the winter of 18661867 at the age of 34, when he accompanied a friend to the recently established Health Reform Institute. It must have impressed him because the next year when Bell needed treatment himself he returned.

That was good enough, but Bell got stuck in a room with an Adventist by the name of Osborne. Night after night he heard Osborne, who thought Bell had gone to sleep, praying out loud for him. The man's utter sincerity so affected Bell that the educator joined the church.

Part of his treatment was physical work in the fresh air. Accordingly, Willie White tells us, someone gave Bell a handsaw and put him to the task of sawing

wood for the nearby Adventist publishing house.

It was there that Edson White, James's oldest living son, met him. Finding out he was a teacher, Edson mentioned how much he hated grammar. To that Bell replied that properly taught, grammar was one of the most interesting studies.

That chance contact led in the next few months to Bell being employed by the Battle Creek church. In 1872 the General Conference took over the school. Thus, it was that his little institution became the first one of a worldwide system that in 2006 counted 5,362 elementary schools, 1,462 secondary schools, and 106 colleges and universities.

The first 28 years of Ellen White's prophetic ministry produced no articles on schooling or formal education, although she had written on home education and the responsibility of parents as early as 1854.

But that would radically change in 1872, when Bell's private school became the first denominationsponsored educational institution. For it she wrote "Proper Education," one of her most important and comprehensive statements on education.

"Proper Education" has been influential among Adventist educators because they have correctly perceived it as a mandate concerning the ideal nature of Christian education. It left no doubt that Adventists were to be educational "reformers" [Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 44]. Part of that reform ideal involved moving beyond an overemphasis on books and toward a balanced education that emphasized

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"the physical, mental, moral, and religious education of children" [Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 15]. The concept of a balanced education that treated the whole person would become a hallmark of Ellen White's writings on education during the next 40 years.

"Proper Education" falls into three basic sections. The first part sets forth true education as the development of self-control. Whereas people may train animals, human beings are to be educated as individuals to make responsible moral decisions. Thus, we must enlist their will on the side of right.

The second section, comprising 25 pages of the 31-page document, treats physical health and useful manual labor in relation to education within both the home and school. She stressed practicality, usefulness, and the physical aspects of education again and again. It was in this section that she highlighted the fact that Adventists are educational reformers.

The third segment briefly discussed the teaching of the Bible and the "common branches" of knowledge for those preparing for the ministry.

She had no doubt about the importance of education. After all, "ignorance will not increase the humility or spirituality" of Christians and "Christ can be best glorified by those who serve Him intelligently. The great object of education is to enable us to use the powers which God has given us in such a manner as will best represent the religion of the Bible and promote the glory of God" [Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 45].

Seventh-day Adventists had taken an important step forward in the adoption of Bell’s school in 1872 as the first official denominational school. But the leadership knew that they had to do more. If for no other reason, they required some way to prepare ministers. Up into the early 1870s a young person desiring to become a minister merely watched how the older ministers did things and went out to do the same.

By 1873 James White, the sparkplug for every Adventist advance, realized that the denomination

needed to do something toward the training of leadership. "Probably there is no branch of this work," he told the 1873 General Conference session, "that suffers so much at the present time as the proper education of men and women to proclaim the third angel's message." The situation demanded "more sanctified education in the ministry! My heart rejoices to know that the Spirit of God is moving upon men of education to come into our midst to take hold of the [educational] work."

But it wasn't only the preparation of ministers that called for a larger educational vision. The denomination was also being eased into the realm of foreign missions. Thus J. N. Andrews could write in 1873 that "the calls that come from every quarter, from men speaking other languages, must be answered by us. We cannot do this in our present circumstances. But we can do it if the Lord bless our effort" in upgrading the Battle Creek school. "We have delayed this effort too long. The time past cannot be improved, but the time still remaining can be improved.… Men of other nationalities desire to be instructed concerning" the Second Advent.

The leadership had come to see that they must establish a college, which they would do in 1874. Just before the opening of that institution, General Conference president George I. Butler penned that "we see a great work before us.… We see the time coming when scores and hundreds of missionaries will go from this land to other lands to sound forth the message of warning." To that end the proposed college needed to educate not only ministers, but translators, editors, and others who could forward the message of the third angel.

Vision is never static. God leads His people one step at a time. When we grasp one level of need, He pushes us to see the next. So it is in every aspect of lives lived for Him.

From Lest We Forget (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 2008), pp.184-187, used with permission.

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Some Principles of Christian Education

Many church members are confused and unhappy about the problem of Christian education. They are vividly aware of the fact that the aims of Christian education are profoundly different from those of worldly systems. Consequently, they find it disturbing to have to admit to themselves that the content of courses offered in Christian schools often approximates quite closely that offered by schools at large. They remember with some disquiet that Christ discarded everything taught by the schools of His day, and they wonder whether we are slipping back to a less significant type of Christian education.

We must remember that we cannot hope to be prepared for citizenship in the kingdom of heaven till we have learned to live successfully in the society of men in this very complex civilization. It is well to remember, too, that in the time of Christ education had failed to uncover any real scientific truth or any worth-while philosophy. Furthermore, it was an illiterate age. Most people fitted into their place in

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society without being able to read and write. But today things are very different. We must acquire a multitude of skills and amass a large stock of knowledge if we hope to serve our fellow men in the tradition of Christianity.

It is reasonable to expect that Christian schools will borrow more and more of the material of worldly education.

If Christian education is not to justify itself by its difference in content from the schools of the world, how are we to know when a school is offering an education that can be labeled genuine Christian education?

It is not a difficult thing to set down the main principles of Christian education. We have only to examine the pronouncements and practices of Christ as He educated His disciples for their role as foundation citizens of the kingdom of heaven.

In the first place, Christ emphasized the nature of the group that was to constitute His school. Every man in the group, with the exception of Judas, joined the school at the personal invitation of Jesus. They all entered the school as dedicated men. Their goals may not have been very clear to themselves, but they all planned to follow Christ. That involved a renunciation of their possessions and their previous social connections. Jesus left no room for doubt concerning His own feelings on the importance of this act of renunciation. He spoke of it often. "If any man will come after me," He said on one occasion, "let him deny himself" (Matt. 16:24).

The effect of this renunciation was to draw them together and weld them together as a team. They went out two by two and they were led to lean on one another. During a lively and eventful three-and-a-half-year period they argued away their differences, they dissolved their bitternesses, they withdrew together from their fears. They emerged from the terror of the crucifixion as the church of God. As long as our schools and colleges place real emphasis on the significance of the group that constitutes the school, so long as

it is a special group that has renounced the world, they are fulfilling the first principles of Christian education. In the society of such a group there is a world of power.

In the second place, Jesus never ceased to strive to develop in His disciples a sense of the reality of the kingdom of heaven. He spoke of it continually, sometimes as if it were a present reality, sometimes as if it were a consummation for which all things waited. The disciples learned to think of it as something within them, as something all about them, and as something that had a new kind of reality, for it was a kingdom that would emerge more clearly as the illusions of time and sense dropped away. It was a kingdom that grew more real to them as the years went by, for Jesus never ceased emphasizing the differences that lay between the principles of His kingdom and those that operated in the world that they had left behind.

This awareness of the kingdom of heaven is one of the cardinal principles of Christian education. And so long as our schools are striving to make the kingdom of heaven a reality to their pupils they are doing a great deal to measure up to the standards of Christian education.

After all, there is nothing more important to the conduct of our lives than perspective. It enables us to give reasonable emphasis to all the main things in life. No doubt Abraham could see that there was real value in wealth, social intercourse, and political influence, but as he looked up into the heavens, he began to discern the dim outlines of a city "which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God" (Heb. 11:10). That perspective alone made all the difference between his fortunes and those of his nephew, Lot.

Jesus placed great emphasis also upon faith in the revelations of God, especially those that Jesus Himself made available to His people. He urged His disciples to believe in the improbable and insisted that it was the capacity to believe unreservedly in things that lay beyond the reach of the senses

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and the highest power of human understanding that was the key to unlock doors that otherwise closed firmly upon the prying fingers of mortality. He taught them to think of a reality that lay all about them but evaded the searching senses of unlimited power against which rude humanity was insulated—power that dwarfed the mightiest resources of men. Indeed, He spoke calmly of power to remove mountains as one of the casual possessions of bright, untarnished faith.

In this age of science, when men insist on feeling for the hard, demonstrable reality of each fact before risking their weight upon it, Christian education must dare to teach the mystical and unscientific concept of a reality that lies beyond the reach of knowledge and yet materializes under the warm hand of faith. Christian education can take in all the facts of science and make use of all the methods of science so long as it retains its right to believe as Jesus taught. Finally, there are three related concepts touching the function of life which Jesus taught with such emphasis that they have come to be thought of as the very hallmark of Christianity.

The first of these is the concept that our life is not our own; it is a gift that we hold for a limited period while we develop it and add to it, as it were, new potentialities and strengthened tendencies before we pass it on. As Jesus showed in two or three powerful parables, we are like managers who have been given executive responsibilities to develop our lives for the most complete glory of God and the benefit of men. Inactivity, failure to strive, to make the most of our opportunities, is a cardinal sin in the kingdom of heaven. The secret of life is to work, to pit our powers against the circumstances that would hold us back, to grow more and more adequate as our capacities expand under exercise, to lay at the feet of the Master a life that is immeasurably more developed than that which our parents conferred upon us.

This is the very essence of Christ's philosophy

of life. The Christian education that does not lay great stress upon the glory of development through ceaseless effort, that fails to make its pupils aware of the high expectations of our Creator, is not a clear echo of the education that Jesus imparted to the twelve.

Again, Jesus spoke in unmistakable terms of the function of this development. His pronouncement was so startling that few worldly men have been able to believe that it makes sense. He taught that the highest use of our powers was to spend them for the enrichment of others. Furthermore, He taught that service of this kind was the gateway to happiness and contentment. "It is more blessed," He said, "to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).

For most people success and happiness seem to lie in the opposite direction. They seek security behind a wall of personal superiority built of piledup possessions and exalted position. To risk any of their energies for others seems a foolish and reckless procedure. They fancy that everything given away is taken directly from the vaults of their own limited happiness. There is pleasure, they feel, in the very process of piling up treasure and in the very act of exerting authority.

Jesus taught the precise antithesis of this. He showed that we can only remain healthy when the currents of life are flowing outward, when all the energies of our being are intent upon the business of giving to others, when we are cutting at the very roots of pride in ministry for our fellows. Even Christians of good reputation often fail to learn the full truth of this philosophy. That is why Christian education must place strong emphasis on this aspect of the philosophy of Christ. Indeed, the school that makes much of these things speaks in the very accents of Christ.

Finally, Christ gave His own pupils a sense of destiny. To them belonged the duty of taking His way of life and all the information they had received concerning the kingdom of heaven to the whole wide world. His last words to them must have

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lingered long in their memory: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” [Mark 16:15, KJV]. He taught them that every subject of the kingdom of heaven was a herald of the kingdom. He was continually impressing them with a sense of the urgency of this assignment. He said on one occasion, "Look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” [John 4:35, KJV]. He made it clear to His pupils that He had set them apart and educated them primarily for this purpose.

A system of education that fails to emphasize this duty can scarcely be called Christian education. In Christian schools there must be an exhilarating atmosphere. Life is mightily significant. Every pupil is stirred by the conviction that he has something to do. He is working on a task that is greater than he. But part of it is set aside for him. His personality and talents and training make it intimately his own. The eyes of the universe are upon him. Such a conviction is the richest heritage of a Christian education.

Here, then, are criteria against which we can measure the adequacy of any system of Christian education. Has it gathered a society of believers in the midst of which echoes of the world seem faint and far away? Does the kingdom of heaven loom large there? Are the treasures of faith spoken of as something more precious than the material and explicable things of life? Do its pupils look clear-eyed into a future that is waiting to draw on all their resources in the cause of the Great Commission? Do they learn to look eagerly toward a glowing prospect of spending themselves in this cause? Do they feel the solemn urgency to develop themselves to the utmost so that they will be adequate to fill this great role? If so, all is well. For these are the principles of the system initiated by Christ Himself.

L.N. Turner was principal of Sydney High School, N.S.W., Australia when this article was written for The Ministry magazine (Nov. 1960), pp. 9-10, 42.

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Thriving: Adventist Education’s Wholistic Development

The establishment of Adventist education began in the late 1800s after the foundation of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination had been set and its leaders began to look past the immediate structure of the church—both literally and figuratively.1 As the story goes, a group of church elders gathered for a meeting one evening to discuss the future of

the fledgling church and its vision. At that point, evangelists had already been dispatched to share their faith across the world, and hospitals, another strong emphasis of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, were being established. “What now?” these church elders purportedly asked themselves. “Where should we direct our resources, our time, our efforts?” Should the church invest in more

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missionary work abroad? Publishing houses? Farmland?2

After some murmured discussion, a clear voice rang out: “What can we take to heaven with us? Not our clothes or our homes or any worldly belongings. The only thing we can take with us is our children. And so there is our answer; we must invest in our children.” And that, as legend has it, was the start of the Adventist educational system.3 More than a hundred years later, as of this writing, there are approximately 600 Adventist elementary schools and 50 high schools in the North American Division, serving approximately 50,000 students.4

Seventh-day Adventist schools in America are structured a little differently from their public school counterparts. Adventist elementary schools, for instance, run from transitional kindergarten through eighth grade, with the seventh and eighth grades sometimes called “junior high.” That’s not to be confused with junior academies, which go up to tenth grade, and senior academies, which are secondary or high schools serving students in grades nine through twelve. Many Adventist elementary schools are considered “small schools,” housing three or more grades in a single classroom. There are, in fact, more than a hundred one-room Adventist schools in North America with a single teacher and up to 20 students of all different grade levels.5

Another type of campus is the boarding academy, an institution that has been a part of the Adventist

education landscape for more than a hundred years. For example, the school that would eventually become Maplewood Academy in Hutchinson, Minnesota, was founded in 1888 and continues to provide a high-quality education for its students today.6 These schools offer students the unique opportunity to live on campus in dormitories while attending classes during the day.

While there are differences from campus to campus, a common thread that runs through all Adventist schools is a deep and abiding commitment to wholistic education. Rooted in a biblical worldview, Adventist education seeks to develop not only a child’s mind but also their body and spirit. This wholistic perspective is evidenced in teacher qualifications, extracurricular choices, and academic offerings.7

Service to God and humanity, for instance, is a strong component in most Adventist schools; they often emphasize service in the curriculum and will usually have a requirement for community service hours in their handbooks. Mission trips are often extracurricular opportunities, especially at the high school level. These outreach endeavors can range from single-day outings to neighboring communities to clean up trash to weeklong international trips to help build a church or volunteer at an orphanage.8

Another theme in Adventist educational philosophy is that formal education should also be practical, useful, and relevant.9 Adventist schools offer many work-related and practical applications in

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the school day. Loma Linda Academy, with its robust TIE (Technology, Innovation, and Engineering) program, is just one example.10 Many academies have hung on to such courses as woodworking, home economics, and auto mechanics long after their public school counterparts discontinued them.11 For decades, most Adventist educational institutions had a dairy, farm, or other agricultural or service industry on their property where their students worked for half the day.

In addition to service and practical education, another common component of Adventist schools is a strong fine arts program. Following the framework of wholistic development as well as the belief that God uniquely created all individuals and gifted each one with special talents, Adventist schools make music and the arts a high priority within their curriculum despite budgetary constraints.12

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Students who have attended Adventist schools from kindergarten through 12th grade will likely have sung in a choir and learned to play one or two musical instruments. But beyond just classroom music and the requisite Christmas program, this musical training is often taken off campus and shared with the community. School musical ensembles, such as choirs or wind symphonies, will often perform for nursing homes and area churches. Similar to the mission trip, music tours at the secondary level also often involve teachers leading their ensembles on an annual trip designed to showcase their music in a variety of venues in different locales. These tours always contain an evangelistic or outreach underpinning, giving evidence once more of the close tie between church and school.13

As these examples demonstrate, Adventist education focuses on the student's wholistic development. This does not mean, however, that the academic program is sacrificed for these other educational offerings. Rather, a recent study found that students in Adventist schools, when compared to national norms, were above average in academic achievement. Moreover, the longer students stayed in the Adventist educational system, the higher their scholastic achievements.14

The curriculum found in Adventist schools is chosen within the same context and for the same reasons as all the other components of the school system—it is meant to be relevant to the beliefs of the Adventist Church and fall within a biblically based framework. Educators in Adventist schools may teach out of the same textbooks as their public school counterparts in some subjects, whereas in other areas, such as science or Bible, the education committee for the North American Division writes and publishes its own textbooks.15

This singular purpose to educate students through a biblical worldview and in a God-loving, service-first environment has certainly made its mark. What began as the hopes and dreams of the

founding members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church has grown into the world’s second-largest parochial school system.16

Aimee Leukert is an associate professor of curriculum and instruction at La Sierra University in Riverside, California. This article has been taken with permission from her book Thriving: 31 Stories on the Impact of Adventist Education, available from

1George R. Knight, “Why Have Adventist Education?” Journal of Adventist Education 67, no. 5 (summer 2005), pp. 6-9.

2Nedd Brown, conversation with author, Dec. 12, 2002.

3Brown, conversation with author.

4“2022-2023 Adventist Education Statistics,” Adventist Education, https:// (accessed April 13, 2023).

5“2022-2023 Adventist Education Statistics.”

6“Our History,” Maplewood Academy, our-history (accessed April 13, 2023).

7Knight, “Why Have Adventist Education?” pp. 6-9.

8George H. Akers, “‘Proper Education,’” Journal of Adventist Education 52 (Oct.-Nov. 1989), pp. 8-11, 36-37.

9Akers, p. 37.

10Jay Linthicum, “The TIE Program: Loma Linda Academy’s Educational Phenomenon,” Spectrum, Aug. 11, 2018, news/tie-program-loma-linda-academys-educational-phenomenon/.

11Raymond Carson, “Practical Skills for 21st-Century Students,” Journal of Adventist Education 72, no. 4 (April/May 2010), pp. 38-46.

12Brown, conversation with author.

13Kristian Leukert, conversation with author, Sept. 7, 2015.

14Jerome Thayer and Elissa Kido, “CognitiveGenesis (CG): Assessing Academic Achievement and Cognitive Ability in Adventist Schools,” abstract, Journal of Research on Christian Education 21, no. 2 (2012), pp. 99-115,

15“Adventist Education Curriculum,” Adventist Education, https://bit. ly/3OtSM6w (accessed April 25, 2023).

16“The Adventist Difference,” Adventist Education, https://adventisteducation. org/who (accessed April 17, 2023).

April 2024 19

God Shaped for Serving

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Robert Robinson’s Thoughts From 40+ Years in the Classroom

After spending some time studying theology at Pacific Union College, Robert Robinson decided he wanted something different. So he returned to his native Southern California, enrolled at La Sierra University, and changed his major to education and child development. It was, to hear him tell it, the best decision he ever made.

He continued his education with a master’s degree in special education, something he feels truly called to utilize for the church.

“Most Adventist schools can’t afford resource teachers or special education instructors, but there are so many kids who can benefit from someone who understands how they learn,” Robinson said. “I’ve been able to use the training I’ve had to

He's cool and amazing. He makes me laugh. -Natalia
He's so kind. -EJ He's a good teacher because he lets us play recess and lets us paint stuff.

differentiate instruction and help other teachers navigate how to best meet the diverse needs of their students.”

Currently, Robinson teaches first and second grades at Pleasant Hill Adventist Academy, but since receiving his master’s degree in 1986, he’s taught everything from pre-kindergarten through graduate school. He has worked in all four of the California conferences, as well as at La Sierra University, and has been part of numerous student success and student study teams.

Though he can speak confidently from experience now, there was a time, of course, when Robinson was a new teacher. He remembers well the challenges facing a young person as they step to the front of their very own classroom for the first time.

April 2024 21
-Nikolai Robinson with some of his current 1st and 2nd grade students.

“Nothing in college prepares you, truly, for your first year of teaching,” he said. “They prepare you to teach reading, math, phonics, and P.E., but not how to deal with differing behaviors, how to work with upset or difficult parents, how to manage the high expectations from all directions, and how to maintain balance in your life throughout all of that.”

Though “burnout” was a term coined in the 1970s, it has never been as widely used or understood as it has become in recent years. And it is something especially important to Robinson.

“Remembering self-care as a teacher can be incredibly difficult, but it is absolutely crucial to not only the success of the teacher but of the students as well,” he said.

As he and his colleagues began working on the Stepping Stones curriculum for kindergarten, they agreed that the starting point should be the teacher’s own spiritual life.

“You can’t give what you don’t have,” explained Robinson. “The race to do lesson plans and give immediate feedback can sometimes put self-care on the back burner, but it should always be on the front one. You must take care of

The greatest gift of teaching, Robinson said, is also part of the experience from the very first day in the classroom, and only gets better.

“It’s my job as a teacher to make the invisible God visible for the kids in my classroom,” he said. “Watching them grow on their spiritual journey as they discover God’s very personal love for them is one of the most beautiful things you’ll ever experience. And I get to do that every single day.”

That growth and the “aha!” moments are what make teaching worth the accompanying challenges, Robinson said.

“Seeing the kids fall in love with Jesus and knowing they have a home waiting for them in heaven and that they’re safe with Him is beyond description,” he added.

Teachers were once students themselves, and they remember well the impact certain teachers had on their lives. Robinson is no exception. His aunt, Norma Bell, was a special education teacher in the public school system for many years, and she was very influential to Robinson.

“She always told me that the richest curriculum was the best one, so we should always make it deep and meaningful,” he recalled. “She was big on creating hands-on and experiential curriculum that would leave the students saying, ‘Wow! I get it! I want to learn more!’”

Marilyn Beach, Robinson’s advisor at La Sierra University, is another impactful educator in Robinson’s life. She was one of his major professors, one of the head teachers at the preschool where Robinson did student teaching, and later was associate superintendent for the conference and Robinson’s supervisor.

“She was so empowering,” Robinson explained. “Her emphasis on developmentally appropriate

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curriculum and remaining child-centered and finding as many ways to say ‘yes’ to children was inspiring. She was also a big proponent of wholistic teaching and learning. She always said the whole child comes to school, not just the brain, so we as teachers need to care for their creative, social, physical, spiritual, and emotional selves as well.”

Now in the role of mentor teacher himself, Robinson has discovered he can do more good by listening than by talking.

“New teachers know a lot of things I don’t know,” he added. “I might know some things they don’t, and together we navigate a path of success. I don’t know what they need until I spend time with them, observe, and ask questions. It’s a working relationship, not a dictatorship.”

The divide between experienced teachers and new teachers can sometimes be uncomfortably wide. Young teachers are full of ideas and energy, eager to change the world, starting with their new workplace. Experienced teachers have a tried-and-true system, methods they’ve developed over years of trial and error, and an understanding of child development and assessment honed over many years. This can sometimes cause friction, but it doesn’t have to. Cross-generational working relationships can, in fact, be incredibly beneficial.

“New teachers bring an understanding of what living in the digital world looks like and what it means to be part of a globally connected community,” Robinson said. “They have a passion for social justice and what is right and wrong—they’re not going to stand for the status quo. Really, no matter how long you’ve been the one teaching, you can still be the one learning, too.” Then he added, “Leaders who stop learning stop leading.”

In Education, Ellen G. White wrote:

Every human being, created in the image of God, is endowed with a power akin to that of the Creator—individuality, power to think and do. [Those] in whom this power is developed are [those] who bear responsibilities, who are leaders in enterprise, and who influence character. It is the work of true education to develop this power, to train the youth to be thinkers, and not mere reflectors of other [people’s] thought (p. 17).

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Robinson said he can sum up in two words the results of the ValueGenesis study on how to keep young people in the church.

“Love well,” he said. “Though this obviously has implications with students and their families and the community, what about peer relationships with other faculty? Can we love well? Can we be a denomination which embraces both old world and new world thinkers? How can we learn to love well, despite our differences—or maybe even because of them?”

The idea of becoming an educator can be daunting and overwhelming, but it is also incredibly rewarding and fulfilling, Robinson said. Though it may not be for everyone, everyone has a role to play in the life they’ve been given.

“I know how I’m shaped for serving God, and this is it,” Robinson said. “Everyone should find that shape for themselves, and if that’s teaching, fantastic!”

How does one find that “shape?” Robinson said it boils down to a meaningful relationship with God.

“If you focus on that connection with God, you’ll be able to feel Him nudging you along,” he said. “You don’t need to fear taking the next-right-thing baby step of faith, nor the big plunge of faith. You’ll know you’re going where He’s leading you.”

That doesn’t mean where God leads will always be pleasant, he admitted.

“I’ve learned God is far more interested in my

character than my comfort,” said Robinson. “I just keep doing the right thing, and sometimes that means late nights and tough conversations.”

Robinson shared the story of receiving a Facebook message from a former student— someone he had taught 30 years prior. The young man confided in Robinson that he had a drug and alcohol problem and didn’t have anyone else to turn to, but he remembered Robinson had always been his friend at school. Robinson helped the young man get into a rehab program, and he has been clean and sober ever since. “I tell my kids every year I’m not just their teacher for 180 days, I’m their teacher for life,” Robinson said.

“As a teacher, it’s my job to find out what my students know and teach them what they don’t,” he summed up. “To find out where they are and take them as far as they can go. Changing lives just comes with the territory—and many times the life changed is mine.”

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A Mother’s Legacy

My mom always reminded me,” Dr. Wesley Phipatanakul recalled quietly, blinking through his wirerimmed glasses, “that the most important thing in the world was my relationship with the Lord.” That, his mother declared, was the reason she sent him to Adventist schools. “She said that over and over—that by providing me with an Adventist education, she knew in her heart that she’d done everything she could to help my walk with Christ.”

It's a powerful legacy to leave with a child, and her words continue to echo in Wes’s mind even all these years later.

At his mother’s insistence, Wes attended Hillcrest Adventist School, a small elementary school near St. Louis, Missouri. “We may have had 60 kids in the entire school, grades one to nine,” Wes chuckled at the memory. He continued his education at Sunnydale Academy, “out in the middle of nowhere

in Central Missouri, with one Dairy Queen and one Pizza Hut in the nearest town, five miles away.” Wes thrived in the boarding school environment (“The bonds of friendship are different when you live in a dormitory together with no internet or cell phones!”) and left to pursue higher education imbued with a strong sense of purpose. “That’s a huge part of Adventist education, I think,” mused Wes. “A culture and environment that primes you to listen for that higher calling, that purpose, and then answer it by doing your best for God.”

After graduating from Union College with a business degree, Wes crisscrossed the country to fulfill what he felt he was called to do. He completed medical school in Loma Linda, a residency in Detroit for orthopedics, and then a highly coveted fellowship for upper extremity surgery in San Francisco. “My mom made me read Gifted Hands as a little kid, hoping that I’d be impressed to become a neurosurgeon,” Wes smiled ruefully. Instead,

April 2024 25

he traded the complexities of the brain for the intricacies of the shoulder. “I just gravitated toward arms,” he shrugged. “I liked doing replacements and I also enjoyed arthroscopy, which was one of the emerging fields as I was coming through.”

As the current program director for the Loma Linda University Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Program, Wes tries hard to balance his administrative, clinical, and teaching responsibilities. He usually operates two days out of the week, with three to four surgeries scheduled on each day, and what he loves most is being able to guide and mentor his residents through his cases. “It certainly takes longer to do a surgery when you’re teaching— when you have a resident watching and working alongside you,” he noted. But Wes would have it no other way. “I really am a teacher trapped in a doctor’s body,” he laughed. While some surgeons might allow their residents to prep and set up the target area without supervision, perhaps even exposing the bone alone, Wes prefers to be right there guiding and mentoring the resident’s work every step of the way. “I’ve found that there is simply no substitute for that hands-on approach. I have to know what they’re capable of and what they’re not yet able to do—and that’s something I have to evaluate with my own eyes.”

Wes has published numerous research articles and has presented and taught all over the country, but he cites his relationships with the residents, colleagues, and the support staff as the most important part of his successful career. Once or

twice a year, he shared, one of the older doctors will open up his home to the new med students to enjoy Sabbath dinner and vespers together. “We eat, we get to know each other, we swap stories and contact information.” It’s a community not unlike the one he found at Sunnydale Academy, when Friday evenings were spent at various faculty homes. “It’s not just a job,” he insisted. “It’s a mission.”

But, as all teachers know, there’s a heavy weight that accompanies that responsibility. While Wes strives to impart every bit of his clinical knowledge to his residents, the lessons he gained through Adventist education are also always nearby. “Board scores are nice, publications are nice, but at the end of the day, it’s really about your character, isn’t it? Your character, your morals, your integrity.” And so Wes feels blessed to work in an environment where he has the opportunity to impress upon residents what he was taught from an early age.

“Because what is the end goal for our kids? ‘If a man gains the whole world, but loses his own soul…’” Wes trailed off.

I think his mom would be proud.

Aimee Saesim Leukert is currently an assistant professor in the Curriculum & Instruction Department in the School of Education as well as the associate director for the Center for Research on K–12 Adventist Education at La Sierra University.

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“They Served Me”

Liss’ warm smile lit up the screen as she joined our videoconference from behind her desk in northern California, where she holds the position of operations director for Kaiser Permanente Health Connect. “This all started,” she began, looking around her office, “with the CNA license I earned at 16.” Liss shook her head in mild disbelief. “Sixteen!”

Liss Leal was born in Cuba, where her father served as a Seventh-day Adventist pastor. Antireligious sentiments ran high in Cuba in the 1980s, and she and her brother came home with tales of how they were called up in front of the entire student body and openly ridiculed for their beliefs. Their parents decided they could not continue raising their children in such an environment and moved to the United States, eventually landing in Oakland, California, when Liss’ father accepted a call to pastor at a church there. Liss began attending Pleasant Hill Jr. Academy in seventh grade and blossomed under the tutelage of her English teacher, Mrs. Linda Caviness. (Pleasant Hill Adventist Academy moved from junior to senior academy status in 1998.) “English was hard for me,” Liss recalled. “But Mrs. Caviness was the best teacher I could’ve had.” She required students to memorize poems and Scripture passages and engaged them in a variety of projects—all strategies that seemed to target Liss’ eager mind and quickly develop her language skills.

April 2024 27
Liss’ father Roman Leal baptizes her at the age of 9.

She continued her education at Rio Lindo Academy, and it was there during her junior year that she was introduced to the idea of nursing as a career. Debbie Wallace, who was at the time a nursing instructor at Pacific Union College (PUC), came to talk with the academy students about joining the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program. Liss’ ears perked up at the possibility of earning almost double the minimum wage at the time, and she began taking nursing courses alongside her high school classes. “Having my CNA license allowed me to begin working as a teenager in assisted-living facilities and provided me with my first real exposure to the medical field— interacting with doctors and nurses and therapists and patients.”

It was a seamless transition then from academy to PUC, where Liss dove straight into the program to obtain her licensure for nursing. She began working as a registered nurse at St. Helena Hospital

while still finishing her bachelor’s degree in nursing. The promotions seemed to come one right after another—charge nurse, then house supervisor, then the director of the orthopedics and medical/ surgical department. After 13 years at the same hospital, picking up another degree along the way and serving as an adjunct professor at PUC, Liss accepted an invitation to work as an assistant nurse manager at a Kaiser Permanente facility.

She quickly climbed the administrative ranks. In her current role as a nurse informaticist, Liss and her team are responsible for building and maintaining the electronic health record (EHR) system that is used across 21 Kaiser Permanente medical centers in Northern California. Sometimes called the “nerve system” of health care organizations, the EHR is as commonplace and indispensable as a thermometer or stethoscope. Nurses—along with social workers, allied health professionals, respiratory therapists, and chaplains—interact with the EHR in almost every single action they take with their patients during their shift. From workflows to patient monitoring to care plans, Liss stands at this intersection of nursing and technology and calmly manages the immense

“That internal orientation to serve, to do for others, is not born; it’s formed.”
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Liss credits her success to her attendance at Adventist schools: (from left to right) Pleasant Hill Jr. Academy (now Pleasant Hill Adventist Academy), Rio Lindo Adventist Academy, and Pacific Union College, where she got her CNA license, graduated with her nursing bachelor's degree, and attended her nurse pinning ceremony.

amount of data that streams in and out—all the while looking for ways to improve on best practices.

“It’s about anticipating and understanding the needs of our nurses in their clinical practice—on the floor, by the patient’s bedside—and providing ways through our information systems to meet those needs.” During the pandemic, for instance, their department quickly developed a dashboard with data to monitor how each hospital was handling the surge of covid cases. They had to build mechanisms within the EHR to track where all the ventilators were in their region, to note which beds should be used in the event of overflow, and to guide the process in the unfortunate, but oft-occurring, instance when a patient passed away from covid.

As we spoke about her work—both current and past—it became clear that Liss lives to serve. She smiled at my words and mused, “That’s the influence of Adventist education in my life.” Liss spoke of her teachers’ care and obvious commitment to her and her classmates. “They were clearly driven by something other than their salaries; their motives were born out of love.” She paused and added, “They served me.”

And that set the precedent and the expectations she has held for herself in her work. Regardless of her position, she is constantly looking for how she can serve, how she can have the most impact, how she can expand her circle of influence toward positive change, both for patients and for nurses. “I think back on my education: those teachers didn’t

have to be told to care or to be kind—that was in their hearts. That was their motivation and their mission and that is mine now as well.”

Understanding the impact of her teachers’ influence on her life has influenced her own parenting now as a mother of two. “That internal orientation to serve, to do for others, is not born; it’s formed,” Liss emphasized. “It is so important for our children to be surrounded by individuals who model that for them and help them orient their lives toward the ultimate destination of heaven.”

Aimee Leukert is an associate professor of curriculum and instruction at La Sierra University in Riverside, California.

April 2024 29
Liss and Haroldo's kids, Tobias and Gizel, continue the Adventist education tradition at Hilltop Christian School in Antioch.

During her 16 years in Adventist education, Taylor Laurie says she received “amazing support from teachers who loved me and saw potential in who I was.”

When Taylor Laurie reflects on her 16-year journey as a student in the Adventist educational system, it takes about two seconds for the names of her favorite teachers to surface—those who “poured into me love and support,” she said. There’s Cary Ursino, Colleen Brundula, Ginger Hanks Harwood, V. Bailey Gillespie, Maury Jackson, Kendra Haloviak, Jon Paulien, John Peckham, Leslie Pollard, Prudence Pollard.

The list continues, and it’s long and impressive.

“Each of these people took time to sit with me, mentor me, and truly see me,” Taylor said. “Many of us had a teacher who saw us for who we are. That sticks with you in a profound way.”

But Taylor also has mixed feelings about her educational experience. “When I first started in an Adventist school in the sixth grade, I encountered biases. I encountered racism. I had to learn how to navigate and hold on to my faith and my belief in a

Teachers: The Exceptional Humans Who Join Our Journeys

God that is inclusive and loving and supportive of all, regardless of gender and ethnicity and all those other ‘isms’ we put on people.”

Today, as the mission and spiritual care leader for Adventist Health Simi Valley, Taylor weaves both the difficult and the positive experiences together with her faith in ways that allow her to provide practical leadership and emotional and spiritual support for her team of clinical chaplains, the healthcare providers at Adventist Health Simi Valley, and the patients they serve.

Taylor’s 16 years in the Adventist educational system include elementary school, academy, undergraduate work, and graduate school. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in religious studies from La Sierra University, a Master of Arts degree in clinical ministry from Loma Linda University, and a Master of Divinity degree from Andrews University.

“Now that I look back and am well-seasoned in my profession, I am pleased that my Adventist

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education equipped me well. It was quality education,” she said. “At times, because our Adventist educational structure is a little different— we build in time for chapels, for example—you wonder if you’re missing something others got by spending time doing other things instead. And then you realize you are keeping up with those outside the Adventist system. I’ve taken continuing education courses outside the Adventist environment, and I see that I know just as much or more,” Taylor said.

While her educational journey hasn’t always been easy, Taylor said, “Adventist education is about transcending our differences and loving each other. While you’re learning to do that, you are also completing academic accomplishments so you can go out into this world and be the light.”

“Teachers and professors at all points on the continuum of education have significant influence on the lives they come in contact with. This is immense responsibility and power, because they have the ability to build up a person’s life in valuable ways or to tear someone down,” Taylor said. “My prayer for educators is that they are encouraged to strive to be builders, to model love and inclusion, and to be affirmed that their role in society is huge. I pray they will know their calling to the classroom stretches far beyond academic knowledge; it’s another touchpoint in the development of a human being and who that person ultimately becomes. To those who did that for me, I’m so grateful.”

Kim Stobel is the program manager: religion, faith and mission for mission and spiritual care at Adventist Health.

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God Kept the Door Open for Me

May I please, please, pleeeeeeeease come teach a lesson to the threeand four-year-old class at Stepping Stones?” my fifth-grade self asked Shirleen Brown, the daycare director at my church.

“You may come run an activity for the class if you can provide me with a written lesson plan,” she responded. A little while later, I was educating a group of three- and four-year-olds on dental hygiene in the form of a read aloud, a craft, and a snack.

I am forever grateful for church members like Shirleen Brown who provided me with a chance to develop as a teacher. From teaching the preschool and kindergarten levels in Adventurers, to assisting teachers at my local church school, to helping with Vacation Bible School, I was afforded many opportunities to grow as a future teacher. Church members could have stuck up their noses and told me that I was too young to lead out in anything. Instead, they took me seriously and provided the mentorship I needed to become successful. Ultimately, these experiences formed the first part of my teacher training.

The times I made mistakes were generally the ones from which I learned the most. I will always

remember the youth group mission trip during my last year of high school. My youth pastor had asked me to organize the Vacation Bible School (VBS) program for the trip. I had, of course, eagerly agreed to the role. After the first day of the program, my trip teammates and I thought it had been a success. The adult leaders had to disagree. There were only about 12 or so kids at the Vacation Bible School because it was just a neighborhood VBS. There had been many times throughout the program when my teammates had asked me for help with things like getting the attention of the kids or remembering the instructions for the activity they were supposed to teach. Whenever they asked for help, I would step in.

“Grace,” the adult leaders told me, “This program is meant to be a training ground for the other youth on this trip and you. You were able to get away with what you did today because there were not very many kids. If you were organizing a VBS with 100 or more children, it would not work. Tomorrow, you may not step in when someone asks for help.”

The next day's VBS was a disaster. I was upset because I felt that the kids who attended the program deserved better. The adults supervising the trip helped me to process what I needed to do to fix the

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problems we had experienced. “Tonight, at the team meeting, you can train your teammates on how to get the attention of the kids,” they told me. They also helped me brainstorm systems I could put in place to make things easier for my teammates without large amounts of training. The next day’s program went much more smoothly. I am thankful for mentorship like this that prepared me for my time teaching at Holbrook Indian School.

Growing up, when people learned I wanted to be a teacher, they would often ask me where I wanted to teach. Ever since I learned about Holbrook Indian School (HIS), it was always my first choice. Holbrook Indian School is a Seventh-day Adventist first- through 12th-grade boarding school for Native American students. However, I figured that my chances of teaching there, especially right out of college, were fairly slim. There are not that many elementary teaching positions at Holbrook. It was fairly unlikely that a position would just happen to be open the year I graduated. However, that is exactly what took place. The year I graduated, the elementary teacher position was open at HIS. I suppose God kept the door open for me.

This is now my second school year working at Holbrook. HIS is definitely a mission school. Many students do not come from Christian families. Even fewer come from Adventist backgrounds. It can be

heartbreaking to learn of some of the challenges my students face. I am thankful for our counseling department that helps students to emotionally work through many of their traumas. While there are many struggles, there are also many joys. I have been amazed at the large number of my students who have chosen to study the Bible after school. Some have also decided to get baptized. It is inspiring to see the love for Jesus and the desire to share Him with others that many of my students have. I even saw a student on a recent field trip take initiative to talk with people they met on the trip about Jesus and how much He loves us. Most of my Bible class also decided to take home gospel tracts to share with their families on their most recent home leave.

Another joy of working at HIS is the family-like nature of the school. Every student is assigned to a faculty family. Faculty families get together at least once a month to share a meal and do activities together. I love having my faculty family kids over to celebrate birthdays and holidays and just hang out. Faculty families give staff members a chance to get to know students on a more personal level.

All in all, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Holbrook Indian School.

Grace Babcock writes from Holbrook, Arizona.

April 2024 33

Dig Deeper, Think Bigger: The Impact of Adventist Higher Education on One Grad’s Life

When Julie Lee was young, nearly everyone at her church in Bakersfield, California, went to Pacific Union College (PUC). She planned to, as well. During her senior year at public high school, most of her peers, who were primarily non-Adventist, were applying to a variety of UC and Cal State schools.

“I did feel a certain pressure to apply to schools outside of the church,” Lee said, “but I was definitely looking forward to experiencing a Christian, Adventist campus for the first time.”

From the time she was little, Lee had dreamed of being either a teacher or a writer. She ended up doing a double major in English and psychology, with plans to become a high school English teacher. She also got involved in various groups and activities across campus. She was involved in student leadership as a senator and senior class president, was part of academic societies for both psychology and English, wrote for the Campus Chronicle, was a member and leader for the Korean Student Association, and became involved with theater groups on campus.

“I had very limited involvement with drama in high school due to Sabbath performances,” Lee said.

Julie with a member of the Lenchani Seventh-day Adventist Church in Kenya. As part of her work with Maranatha, she travels around the world to collect stories on how the mission is impacting lives.

“So being involved in the campus Dramatic Arts Society and Napa Valley Musical Theater while at PUC was a dream come true.”

It was her time as a writer on the yearbook staff that set her on the path to her future career. Though Lee had written for the paper and yearbook in high school, this editor held a much higher standard.

“She gently but firmly pushed me to improve my skills, even sharing articles with me on how to write feature stories,” Lee recalled. “I learned so much from the experience, not only about writing but about what I wanted to do with my life.”

Lee’s advisor suggested she apply for a student writing job in the college’s Public Relations office, which she did.

“It was in that office I got my first taste of being published and collaborating with a creative marketing team. I was hooked,” said Lee.

She graduated from PUC in 1998 with Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and psychology. Soon after, she took a permanent position as a writer in the college’s PR office. She later served as vice

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president of marketing and enrollment for the college. Today she is marketing vice president for Maranatha Volunteers International in Roseville, California. She commutes two days a week from her home in Angwin, where she lives with her husband, Milbert Mariano, and their two boys, Diego and Luca. Milbert is dean of the School of Arts, Humanities, and Professions at PUC; Diego is a senior at PUC Preparatory School; and Luca will be headed to Prep in the fall. As a family, they are inextricably tied to the PUC community through their history, continued involvement, and deeply valued relationships.

Relationship-building began while Lee was still a student, not only as she interacted with her friends and peers but also with her professors.

“I had incredible professors who opened my mind and eyes to another level of critical thinking about our world, our faith, and my own life,” she said. “Each of them taught me so much outside of the classroom, just in the way they lived their lives.”

Lee noted Aubyn Fulton, her psychology professor, who “demonstrated integrity, conviction, and compassion;” Monique Pittman, her English professor, who “encouraged us to be constant seekers of truth and growth in our faith;” and Bruce Bainum, Lee’s advisor and psychology professor, who was “a little intimidating in the way he pushed all of us to excellence, but also compassionate in how genuinely he cared for us as his advisees.”

Many of Lee’s former professors are now her friends. “Not too long ago, I reached out to Bruce Bainum for career advice,” she said. “He’s still teaching me after more than 25 years.”

The most important parts of her college experience were the connections she made and the guidance she received from caring, Christian adults who were her professors. “They gave me the space, tools, and wisdom to help me figure out who I was and who I wanted to be,” she added.

The small-town atmosphere at PUC was also a benefit; it meant attending a lot of dinners and vespers at faculty homes, seeing professors with

their families at church, and running into them on the trails in the forest.

“It cultivates a level of connection that is harder to find on a larger campus,” she pointed out. “And each of those interactions taught me a lot, because every exchange modeled a different aspect of life for me to learn from.”

Lee’s work with Maranatha, an Adventist mission organization, has taken her to 21 countries, and she has met a variety of people. The lessons she learned at PUC have served her well as she encounters a diversity of people, beliefs, experiences, and cultures. She can spend time with a woman from the Samburu tribe in the Kenyan bush one month, and the next month worship with a congregation in the Dominican Republic, and then turn around and go home to her church in the Napa Valley.

“The most important lesson I learned while in college was to dig deeper and think bigger about the themes and issues that surround us,” she said. “To speak up with compassion for the marginalized, to seek a deeper faith, and to make a difference in this world for God. These are values that still inform my life today—in my work, in my family, and as a member of my community.”

Becky St. Clair is a freelance writer from Angwin, California.

April 2024 35
Julie at an event with her psychology professors from PUC. She says each of them played a significant, positive role in helping to shape her life, values, and faith.

The Appeal of Angwin: The Small College Community with a Big Heart

Driving through the world-renowned Napa Valley along the Silverado Trail reveals breathtaking views of rolling vineyards and lush green and gold trees—all surrounded by coastal mountains. Near the town of St. Helena, turn to ascend Howell Mountain and appreciate the beauty of its wooded tapestry.

Near the summit, the forest clears, revealing the campus of Pacific Union College—the vibrant heart of the idyllic community of Angwin.

Home to a mere 3,000 residents, many of whom are employed by the college, Angwin offers a unique sense of community beyond the workplace. In Angwin, everyone feels like a cherished member of an extended family.

The community has much to offer residents:

• Safe neighborhoods with friendly residents provide families with a safe environment for their children to play and explore freely outdoors.

• Proximity to a wealth of outdoor and recreational activities, including cycling, horseback riding, hiking, trail running, and on-campus amenities, including a gym, track, tennis, and pickleball courts. Additionally, dirt bike riding and water sports are readily accessible nearby.

• The charm of small-town and rural living all within driving distance of world-class dining and cultural experiences in St. Helena, Napa, and San Francisco.

• Convenient access to high-quality healthcare

services within a 5-minute drive.

• Opportunities for engaging in various community events, including concerts, lectures, and more on the PUC campus.

• Pacific Union College, a major employer, offers a comprehensive pay and benefits package featuring staff housing options, employee tuition assistance, discounted tuition for students from kindergarten to college, generous retirement benefits, and a Christ-centered work environment.

• First-class Adventist educational opportunities ranging from preschool all the way to graduate studies at PUC.

Here are three stories from residents about why they value and love working for PUC and living in Angwin.

Sam and Jodel Heier: A Leap of Faith and Love of Family

Sam and Jodel Heier began their journey as a couple while students at PUC and married not long after graduation. Over the past two decades, they resided in the Redding area as they raised their two boys, Rylan and Luke. Sam was a general manager of a large manufacturing facility, and Jodel worked parttime as an occupational therapist for two school districts. With a passion for outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, water sports, and winter sports, the Heiers had a fulfilling life.

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When Sam was offered the position of executive director of financial administration at PUC, the family had a difficult choice. “We lived near lots of family, had good jobs, and enjoyed our church community immensely,” Sam said. The Heiers spent much time in prayer and contemplation about the move— specifically about a new church family and schools for their sons.

Upon learning that Nate Furness had become the senior pastor at PUC church, and after visiting PUC Elementary School and PUC Preparatory School, the Heiers decided to take a leap of faith and relocate to Angwin.

The family has embraced the experience of small-town life and the proximity to many attractions in Northern California. “Living here, you wouldn’t immediately know how close you are to fascinating recreational opportunities, the ocean, and San Francisco,” Sam said. The Heiers also appreciate the milder summer temperatures and the wonderful neighbors with whom they’ve forged friendships.

When asked what he would say to those considering moving to this area and working for PUC, Sam emphasized the importance of prayer and seeking God’s guidance. “We did not have PUC on our list of future destinations—but God did,” Sam said. The Heiers feel blessed to have just a three-minute drive to their sons’ schools and access to activities and events at the college and the surrounding area. “There are some amazing things happening at PUC right now,” he said. “It’s an exciting time to be here. It’s a beautiful part

of the country, and the community makes it even more special.”

James and Ellen Dick: Blessed by Close Community for Over Two Decades

In 2001, James and Ellen Dick found Angwin to be the perfect home for their family after returning from missionary service in Madagascar. James worked with PUC’s academic administration, playing a vital role in the Adult Degree Completion Program. He later served as principal of PUC Elementary School for 17 years until his recent retirement. With a background in public health, Ellen worked in several positions at St. Helena Hospital. In recent years, she has been actively involved with PUC’s Department of Nursing and serving as a mentor for students at the Student Success Center.

Their three children attended PUC Elementary and PUC Prep before moving on to college, ultimately graduating from PUC in 2019 and 2020. “The quality of the education has been excellent,” they said. “The opportunities for exposure to a wide range of sports, play, and leadership roles were outstanding. Each of them has been well prepared to take on adult life, whether with entrepreneurial business start-ups or graduate studies.”

James and Ellen actively participate in tennis, pickleball, volleyball, climbing, futsal, soccer, swimming, and other outdoor pursuits in the beautiful PUC Forest and the Back 40.

When asked about their favorite aspects of living in Angwin, the Dicks highlight the rural setting and

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the natural beauty surrounding them. “It’s fun to grow and harvest our own fruits and vegetables in the garden,” the couple said. “We are close enough to the sea, the mountains, and the cities of San Francisco and Sacramento to access the natural and cultural wonders with relative ease. We have been blessed with a network of friends and a strong church family that gives us a sense of community here in Angwin.”

Nephtali Marin: Outdoor Adventures and Nurturing Friendships

Nephtali Marin, a 26-year-old videographer for PUC, has moved a lot. Raised as a pastor’s kid, he lived in many places and attended multiple schools in Texas and Arizona. When his father accepted a position at the Northern California Conference, the family moved to the Napa area. Nephtali graduated from PUC in 2015. He then temporarily lived in Walla Walla, Washington, for a few years before returning to Angwin to work for PUC.

“My favorite things about living in Angwin are its size, the landscape, and the community,” he said. An outdoor enthusiast, he enjoys trail running, cycling, and hiking. Nephtali especially loves how accessible the forest trails and roads are in the Angwin area. “I mostly cycle from Angwin to St. Helena and Napa, which is beautiful,” he said. “Cycling is common here, so bike lanes are fairly wide, and cars are attentive

with many other cyclists.”

He loves the social life, too, which revolves around PUC and Angwin. “I have an amazing community here at PUC; whether attending student events, intramurals, music concerts, and more—there is always something to do.” He also regularly has dinner and movie or game nights with friends. Nephtali believes the slower pace of life away from towns and cities is beneficial for strengthening relationships.

Nephtali also appreciates the housing benefits provided by PUC and Adventist Health, making the area more financially feasible for residents. “I think the beauty and the benefits you get from living in Angwin or around the area are truly priceless,” he said.

For current job opportunities at PUC, visit

Laura Gang is a staff writer in the marketing and communication department of Pacific Union College.

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Beyond Textbooks: Students Find Foundation, Transformation at La Sierra

When senior exercise science major and soccer player Madyson Cornish enrolled at La Sierra University four years ago, she could not have envisioned the difficult turns ahead of her, the resulting groundswell of support she would receive in response, or its significant impact on her life.

She was a freshman in 2020 when she witnessed the death of her boyfriend during a car crash that resulted when another driver ran through a stop sign. The dark phase that followed nearly derailed

her, but university and department leaders and exercise science faculty members rallied around her and her family, providing constant emotional, spiritual, and academic support.

“Honestly, if it wasn't for being at this school, I would have dropped out,” she said, noting the daily prayers of Campus Chaplain Jason Decena, the check-in calls and advocacy of Dean of Students Marjorie Robinson, the support of teammates, coaches, Athletics Director Javier Krumm, and her professors. “They truly will hold a special place in my heart for the rest of my life. I cannot thank this

April 2024 39

university enough for treating me like family and coming together to help me when I was at my lowest.”

Cornish is among several students who recently talked about their pivotal experiences at La Sierra University, which have involved caring guidance, mentorship, faith development, strong friendships and connections, career direction, and deep learning opportunities all combining to form a strong foundation from which to enter the world—and with outcomes that often exceeded the students’ expectations.

In addition to the focused individualized attention of faculty and staff, the university provides multiple

resources and points through which it strives to provide a wholistic, supportive educational experience for students encompassing their spiritual, physical, emotional, and intellectual wellbeing. These resources include the Collaborative Learning Center and its tutoring services, counseling through Student Wellness Services, services and programs through Spiritual Life, mental health workshops, writing assistance, academic advising, Career Center, and first-year experience support services for new students, among others.

Students’ experiences are reflected in U.S. News & World Report college rankings this school year in which La Sierra is listed as No. 4 out of 115 universities in 15 western states for social mobility, an indicator of its support and graduation of those facing greater challenges, including Pell grant factors and other criteria. La Sierra also posted a strong ranking as a Best Value school.

“I believe students who study at La Sierra University receive an educational experience that helps not only with social mobility but supports and nurtures every aspect of their lives,” said Provost April Summitt. “We address what is happening in the classroom and directly assist in preparation for graduate school or future employment, and we come together collectively for them in life’s most difficult moments.

“Because of the broad support students receive, they are able to move forward in ways they may not have considered at the start of their college career. Their own resilience and flexibility, their ability to find creative solutions for challenges that we don't even know about yet, to collaborate, to think across disciplinary boundaries—all this binds together during their experience with us,” she said.

Unexpected impact

Senior communications-public relations major Ayana Felton, an award-winning outside hitter with the Golden Eagles’ women’s volleyball team and a first-generation college student, believes her

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achievements are due to the particular type of instruction, guidance, coaching, and opportunities she has received at La Sierra, particularly when she compares her experiences with friends from high school who enrolled at public institutions.

“I'm sure I have benefited from my educational experience at La Sierra University in many ways that I haven't even experienced yet,” she said. “The relationships I've built with professors and even those of higher rank on campus are a huge benefit to me simply for their insights on my plans past graduation this June.”

For freshman music major Alvin Estrada, his involvement in the university’s music department this year has moved him past insecurities over the rigors of the field and toward focused goals he previously had not dared to entertain—a degree in music performance with an emphasis in education and a career path as a teacher in middle or high school.

“I never expected to ever become a music major. I never imagined that I could be or would be up for the challenge,” Estrada said. “But La Sierra did it. It helped me, not just as an institution but also creating a dynamic that enables me to push my skills, within music, with compassion and authenticity to the creativity of the art of music— experimenting and experiencing more than what I was originally capable of.”

“La Sierra University has opened my eyes to aspects that I would not have considered outside of this campus,” said Cornish. “For example, I learned about Adventist culture and their beliefs. We are required to take three religion courses and attend chapel one time a week, and when I stayed in the dorms, I had weekly dorm chapel as well. This opened my eyes to the Bible and how Adventists differ from other religions.”

Tomas Godoy, a freshman business accounting and management major and forward with the

“The relationships I've built with professors and even those of higher rank on campus are a huge benefit to me simply for their insights on my plans past graduation this June.”
April 2024 41

men’s soccer team, said, “I have benefited from being a part of the La Sierra community by being surrounded by like-minded students who carry God throughout their journey and can connect with me spiritually and socially. I believe La Sierra is helping me continue to find my passion through my chosen major.”

Strong social interactions and friendships are vital to a well-rounded college experience, and for Felton they came more readily than she expected at La Sierra.

“I feel the thing that moved me the most beyond my expectations is just the type of people I've developed friendships with,” she said. “I've met some pretty cool people here, people that will be at some big milestones in my personal life. That was something I did not expect to happen so easily.”

Similarly, Godoy noted the welcoming community and high level of professionalism he has encountered at the Zapara School of Business. “I really enjoy being a part of the group there as it helps me stay focused but, as well, enjoy the process,” he said. He has his sights set on a career in either sports management or with a Big Four accounting firm.

“Due to the size of the campus, socially we get to know many people,” added Cornish. “I have met new people and created bonds here that I will never forget. Another aspect of La Sierra University, socially, is that pretty much everyone at this school is respectful and kind to others. I believe I can make a difference in my field because of the love and support I have received from La Sierra University.”

Students often cite La Sierra’s close-knit and

welcoming community as reasons for enrolling. Estrada, who is from Moreno Valley, California, chose La Sierra not only for its close location but also because of its atmosphere, he said. “Home will always be home, but I can proudly call La Sierra my second home. The second I got on campus it felt like home. It felt like a place that I could feel comfortable at—the programs, the professors, and of course the administrators and advisers.”

Athletics factor

Students are also drawn to La Sierra’s athletics department, which is expanding its programming and scholarships. The university’s Golden Eagles athletics department, which is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, employs a highly qualified coaching staff that uses a teamwork and collaboration approach, said Krumm. “We implement strategies to create a supportive and challenging environment, and our athletics department helps our students to reach new levels of success in their athletic journey.”

An array of athletics activities and programs are offered, including the NAIA’s Champions of Character threeday retreat, which includes

“I have met new people and created bonds here that I will never forget.”
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team building and a spiritual retreat; a system for tracking and monitoring athletes' progress toward their academic, health, and athletic goals; and recognition events such as Sports Awards Night.

Varsity athletics options were instrumental in decisions Felton, Cornish, and Godoy made to enroll at the university.

“The simple answer is sports,” said Felton when asked why she chose La Sierra. “I was fortunate enough for my coaches to see something in me worth taking a chance on. For that I will be grateful, because it's gotten me an education that my family has always wanted for me.”

Godoy, who arrived at La Sierra’s Riverside, California, campus from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, said he was attracted by “its well-respected business program, its very welcoming community, and the athletic opportunity to be a part of the men's soccer team.”

Cornish, who goes by Mady, plays midfield on the Golden Eagles’ women’s soccer team. A resident of Beaumont, California, she became aware of the

campus and its offerings through an athletics soccer recruitment effort. When the Golden Eagles offered her a position on the university team, Cornish mulled the option and did her research, unaware of the deeper future implications of her decision.

“One aspect that helped sway my decision was how La Sierra is a small school and is like a tight-knit community,” she said. “I wanted to be able to have a connection with my classmates and professors in a way that if I needed help, I could reach out. La Sierra has provided me with just that.”

As winter quarter melts into spring, La Sierra’s senior class is in full gear, racing for the finish line and graduation. Felton is looking forward to a first job traveling the world as a flight attendant. “Then, hopefully, opportunities align for me to go where the wind takes me with my degree,” she said.

Cornish is aiming for a master’s degree after earning a Bachelor of Science degree in exercise science this June. She is entering a teaching internship in spring quarter, following an internship in sports management with the athletics department during winter quarter. She is trying to decide between teaching physical education and eventually becoming an exercise science professor or a career as a sports management professional.

“Whatever I decide to do, I want to be a positive role model and help future generations the way my role models—both in sports and in school—did for me,” she said.

Darla Martin Tucker is director of public relations at La Sierra University in Riverside, California, where she has worked the past 16 years following a 13-year career in journalism.

April 2024 43

A Calling and a Mission

What is growth in a school? The obvious answer is increased enrollment; however, growth is much deeper. Growth is a mindset of a community that says, “We are going to offer more than we previously have.” Prescott Adventist Christian School (PACS), located in Prescott, Arizona, is accomplishing both of these aspects of growth.

When Jennifer Montalban arrived at PACS in 2018 as a teacher, the two-teacher school had an enrollment of 15 students. The next year, the school and conference asked her to take on the role of head teacher and eventually take on being a teaching principal. With wonderful collaboration between Montalban, the school board leadership, the church and its pastor, and the community as a whole, PACS has grown to 65 students and has become a junior academy. For the 2024-2025 school year, three classrooms are already

44 Pacific Union Recorder Arizona Conference
Students participate in a scavenger hunt around the school property. Students make Valentine’s cards and messages for residents of a local skilled nursing and rehabilitation center.

Career Day with Dr. Rukshana Cader gives students the opportunity to participate in hands-on experiences to learn what a gastroenterologist does.

full, with anticipated enrollment of close to 80 students. In addition, the school has grown from a two-teacher school to having six teachers next year—and there is a building project, including four additional classrooms.

God has blessed in Prescott with enrollment, but the school community has also grown its impactful influence on the central mountain region of Arizona. PACS is known in the community. Relationships with other community and government leaders have helped to build a familial atmosphere that has expanded to the non-Adventist community as well.

in leading kids to Jesus and providing a safe place for them to learn.”

On Fridays, PACS invites local homeschooled students to enroll in and attend the school and participate in the many Friday activities. These activities have created a community with an often-neglected group. Local business owners, university professors and students, and non-profit organizations become the instructors and are promoted and advertised by the school. Some of the activities have included ceramics, candle making, STEM, creative foods, pickleball, obstacle and ropes courses, robotics, rocketry, computer coding, acrobatics, quilting, canvas painting, hiking, scavenger hunts, and gardening. These connections with the community and homeschoolers have expanded the reach of PACS. Principal Montalban believes, “What we do here is a calling and a mission. We serve not just our own but those outside of our faith. My team is invested

Prescott Adventist Christian School has grown in its social media outreach. The school’s website is vibrant and full of pictures of PACS students participating in great activities. The school lists 29 partners on its Building Partnerships page. Montalban regularly posts on Facebook and Instagram showing the great events happening at the school.

Spiritual growth is vital for an Adventist Christian school. PACS has seen growth in that area as well. The pastors, board members, and parents are regularly in the school and participate in meaningful, spiritual conversations with the students. The school has an enrollment that is predominately non-Adventist. However, there have been 16 baptisms of PACS students over the past several years.

Growth at PACS isn’t done! As stated, the school is adding four additional classrooms in anticipation of continued increased enrollment. Prescott added ninth grade this year and began to departmentalize the subjects taught. The school plans on adding a core science teacher next year and expanding to 10th grade. The goal at this time is to add 11th grade for 20252026 and 12th grade the following year. Growth! Student growth. Community growth. Social media growth. Spiritual growth. For more info on PACS, check out the school web page:

Mr. Charly Mabry, a motocross/ motorcycle racer, teaches the students about centripetal force and friction. He also provided several interactive handson demonstrations.

Arizona Conference April 2024 45

Growth Hotspots Lead the Conference Mission

Churches that baptize 15 or more people in one year are considered growth hotspots, and they are becoming an exciting part of the Central California Conference (CCC). These churches are passionate about winning souls and training, equipping, and mobilizing their church members for ministry. Churches that embrace this mission have been encouraged by receiving more funding, helping them reach the goals they have set.

“This is going very well,” said Antonio Huerta, CCC vice president of ministries. “We have already had 16 churches become growth hotspots and receive funding, and we have another five that have reached that status.”

These growth hotspots are not only focusing on baptism; they are also organizing small groups and coordinating evangelistic meetings. These connect with the community and create ways to both grow the church and create new churches.

The program embarked on its journey in 2022, bringing together a vibrant community of churches. The initial roster featured Mountain View Hispanic, San Jose Hispanic, Bakersfield Central Hispanic/Lamont, and Discover Life Sonora, along with San Francisco's Latin-American, New Covenant, and Voice of Hope congregations. Further enriching the mix were Fresno Spanish, Tulare, Bakersfield Hillcrest, Gilroy/Salinas Spanish, Madera Hispanic, San Francisco Central, and San Mateo Hispanic. The year also saw the inclusion of Fresno Remnant/Sequoia Hispanic and Los Banos Hispanic.

As the program progressed into 2023, it continued to evolve, welcoming back Los Banos Hispanic, Bakersfield Central Hispanic/Lamont, and Fresno Spanish for another year of participation. The expansion included newcomers

such as Salinas Spanish/Seaside Hispanic/King City Group, San Jose Hispanic, and San Jose Central/Santa Clara Hispanic. Milpitas, Bakersfield Central, and Clovis were also introduced into our growing family. This ongoing growth underscores our commitment to embracing diversity and broadening our community's reach.

Once the churches are recognized as growth hotspots, they are encouraged to expand through resources provided to them by the conference. This includes outreach programs designed to help the churches bring people together throughout the year, leading to an evangelistic series in the Central California Conference led by General Conference president Ted Wilson.

The conference will also be encouraging more churches to become growth hotspots. “We’re inviting all of the churches to participate. In January we’re visiting all of our areas. We have 150+ churches, and we're going to be meeting with the pastors, the elders, and the teachers. We want them all to adopt this plan,” explained Huerta. They will teach how to start new groups and prepare these churches for an evangelistic effort. “We want all of our 150+ churches to hold a oneweek reaping campaign.” This will prepare the churches for the event led by Ted Wilson.

“We have a long way to go; this is just the beginning. Momentum is building, and I praise the Lord,” said Huerta. “None of this would have happened if we did not get the initial financial help from the union. I appreciate the leaders for their help.”

Learn more at

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This Is My Story

Young adult event focuses on Ruth

The most recent young adult conference delved into the book of Ruth, with the theme “This Is My Story,” and the attendees discussed how God works in the midst of brokenness. This event, which took place Dec. 2, 2023, at the Mountain View Japanese church in Mountain View, California, had about 180 attendees from all over the conference—and even from Northern and Southern California. This was powerful, as about 100 were expected to attend.

Dwayne Lemon, evangelist and director of PTH Ministries, was the speaker for the event. The book of Ruth was the focus because of how applicable it is to a young adult’s life and how many different themes can be seen within the book. “There are so many themes in Ruth: relationships, guidance, the gospel, redemption, purpose, and God’s providence in the midst of tragedy,” said Anil Kanda, who organized the event.

Small groups were used as the primary way to connect attendees. They had a light breakfast, then small groups discussed Ruth 1. Lemon spoke about Ruth 2, then after lunch they featured a discussion about Boaz versus Ruth, focusing on relationships.

Then one more discussion and presentation followed, focusing on Ruth 4.

Young adults broke up into groups throughout the event to create more long-term connections. “We had young adults show up who said they hadn’t been to church in a very long time,” said Kanda. “Some were so excited about the event they wanted to start a vespers in their area.”

These young adult events, which take place about three times per year, lead up to a larger evangelistic series near the end of the year. At the end of each event, the opportunity is presented to set up groups in the area where an attendee lives. These include prayer groups, outreach groups, fellowship groups, or Bible study groups. “Our plan is a wholistic discipleship plan for young adults to move closer to Jesus, to fall in love with His Word, and to be excited about mission,” explained Kanda.

Learn more about this and upcoming young adult events at:

Central California Conference April 2024 47

Community Outreach at Kohala Adventist School

Students at Kohala Adventist School lovingly crafted Valentine’s cards for residents at our local senior living facility. With high hopes of brightening the lives of our local kupūna (elderly), our students put tremendous effort into creating their cards.

As their teacher, I was deeply touched. “Do you think they’ll feel the love I put in the card?” asked Wyatt, a first-grade student, upon completing his card. “I’m

Here is a sampling of the verses the students chose to include:

• “Do everything in love" (1 Corinthians 16:14, ICB).

• "So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love" (1 Corinthians 13:13, ESV).

• "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13, ESV).

• "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end" (Lamentations 3:22, ESV).

• “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, NIV).

• "The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love" (Psalm 103:8, ESV).

• "But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation" (Psalm 13:5, ESV).

• "I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you," (Jeremiah 31:3, ESV).

sure they will Wyatt. I can feel the love just holding it,” I assured him.

Students were challenged to take on the perspective of someone who rarely gets out and needs the outside world to come to them. “I would get so lonely and bored,” responded Lena in seventh grade. “Exactly!” I said, “Which is why what we are doing is so much more important than just making cards.”

Our students are beginning to grasp what it means to be active, contributing members of a community— and that in doing so, we come closer to knowing God’s heart of love for humanity. When I shared with the students that my grandma kept a card from a local Adventist school on her wall for over a year, the students were floored. “Does it really bring them that much happiness?” asked Theo in third grade. “That’s up to each individual person,” I replied, “but it sure doesn’t hurt to put good energy out there and pray that God uses it as an opportunity to help someone feel His love.”

As students created their cards, they chose a quote or poem to include, alongside a Bible text about God’s love for us.

Valentine’s Day took on a new meaning for many students at Kohala Adventist School as they came to see it as an opportunity to share God’s everlasting love with those around them.

48 Pacific Union Recorder Hawaii Conference

Students Shine at Hawaiian Mission Academy Ka Lama Iki STEAM Fair

Early in February, the students at Hawaiian Mission Academy Ka Lama Iki participated in the school’s annual STEAM Fair. Every class from kindergarten to eighth grade worked together to present one or more projects at the fair. Many of these experiments had a special twist that made them unique to the school’s home in Hawaii by embracing elements from around the island.

The kindergarten and first-grade students' colorful slime creations were a fun way to represent the rainbows that our islands are so well known for. Next to them was another splash of color in the form of the second- and third-grade student’s dioramas, which offered an in-depth look at Hawaiian marine life.

Students from fourth and fifth grade created miniatures of traditional Hawaiian hales (houses), which they experimented on to see the effects of erosion. In a similar vein, the sixth- and seventhgrade class put together a model of Iolani Palace, which they illuminated with a series of lights and simple circuits. While conducting these experiments, the students were not only offered a close look at a

scientific process, but they were also able to connect with Hawaiian history through the study of its architecture.

The eighth-grade class experiment was focused on protecting the environment through the use of sustainable building materials. Using a mixture of milk and vinegar, the students created a type of biodegradable plastic, which was then taken and molded into the style of Hawaiian canoes.

We are so proud of all our students for the hard work and care they put into creating each project at the fair. Through their implementation of elements specific to the islands, each class’s exhibit helped to foster a deeper appreciation and understanding of Hawaiian culture while also highlighting the ingenuity of the students who made them. It is our hope that, through the study of science, our students will realize that the same God who put so much care into making the world around them also put that same level of care into shaping their lives as individuals.

Hawaii Conference April 2024 49

Life After HIS: College From a Graduate’s Perspective

Our students at Holbrook Indian School (HIS) are afforded every opportunity to choose college or trade school as a plan for after they graduate. Not all students choose to continue their education. For those who do, we try to prepare them as best we can for what lies beyond the gates of HIS. We recently caught up with Shawnewa (Class of ‘20) to get her perspective on college life.

1. What has been the thing you like most about college so far? One of the classes I’m taking this semester is Human Genetics, and I’m loving it so much. One of our big projects is studying Drosophila flies (aka fruit flies). By doing this, we are learning more about biological processes and how they play a role in genetic disorders. This particular project has made me fall more in love with the sciences. Overall, I like seeing how the material from the various science classes I’ve taken

comes together to paint a bigger picture, which has made learning new things so much fun and exciting for me.

2. What has been the most challenging thing about college so far? One of the most challenging things about college so far is preparing for post-graduate studies, such as taking the MCAT and when to apply to medical schools.

3. What would you say prepared you most for college while at HIS? There are a few experiences at HIS that prepared me for college, such as:

Living in the dorms - Living in a dorm while at HIS has made living away from home easier, improved my study skills, and taught me a lot about time management.

Girl’s Group - Girls’ Group gave me the skills I needed to grow as a leader. It was such a privilege to be a part of Girl’s Group, and it’s helpful when you apply for scholarships. Some scholarship applications ask about any leadership positions you’ve held, and when you mention a unique leadership opportunity, like Girls’ Group, it makes you a stronger applicant.

Helping in the dorm - I’ve applied to be a Resident Assistant (RA) for the upcoming school year. An RA is like being a dean for the Residence Halls. I’m grateful that I got to help out in the dorm while I was a student at HIS because it taught me a lot about how to manage a dorm, how to build community, and how to plan fun events for fellow students.

A Seventh-day Adventist Boarding Academy Serving Native American Youth Since 1946
50 Pacific Union Recorder Holbrook Indian School

Calculus - Calculus prepared me for a lot of my science classes. As a biomedical sciences major, I have found that calculus has been a great tool to have in my toolbox because it’s allowed me to focus more on studying the conceptual material rather than the computational material. If you plan to go into a sciencerelated field, I recommend taking calculus.

4. What is your field of study/end goal for a degree and career path? I am majoring in biomedical sciences. My goal is to go to medical school and become a pediatric orthopedic surgeon. I would very much like to return to the Navajo Nation and serve my community by providing specialized care.

5. What do you miss the most from HIS? One of the things I miss most at HIS is Outdoor School. There’s so much to be said about learning outside the classroom.

6. What would you recommend for improvements to our College Transition program? One of the things I recommend for the College Transition program is offering a chance for HIS seniors to meet with HIS alumni who are in college. I think this will allow HIS seniors to ask questions about college, whether it be about what it's like, classes, clubs, etc. It’s one thing to think about going to college, and I have found it helpful to hear from those who are in college or have gone to college.

7. How has it been creating a new social network outside of HIS? It was easy for me to create a new social network outside of HIS. Anyone can be in your social network, but make sure they are going to be there to cheer you on and help you grow as an individual. My social network is the reason why I am still in college, and I’m so grateful.

8. What would be your advice to students at HIS who are preparing for college? Try to be involved on campus and run for class offices or student government positions. These experiences will open doors for you and can help you if you choose to run for leadership roles in college.

Apply for scholarships. I know you’ve probably heard this one repeatedly,

Holbrook Indian School (HIS) is a first- through twelfth-grade boarding academy operated by the Pacific Union Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. HIS also manages a firstthrough eighth-grade day school on the Navajo reservation in Chinle, Arizona. Eighty-seven percent of funding comes from individuals who have a desire to support Native American ministries and Christian education. Your generosity makes a difference in the lives of our students, their families, and the communities they serve.

Thank you for your support.


P.O. Box 910 • Holbrook, Arizona 86025-0910 (928) 524-6845 (Ext. 109) •

but trust me, it’ll pay off in the long run. Some of the scholarships I’ve applied for include the Navajo Nation Chief Manuelito Scholarship, the American Indian Education Fund, the Cobell Scholarship, and the American Indian Services Scholarship.

Start building a support system. It’s important to choose people who will support you and help you grow to become the best version of yourself. Those in your support system will be with you as you celebrate both small and big milestones, and they will also be there in both good and bad times.

If you are thinking about going to college and want to learn more about the process, I am willing to serve as a resource for you. We can talk about the college process, how to apply for scholarships, or chat about other things you’d like to know about. Feel free to reach out to me—the staff at Holbrook can connect us.

As Shawnewa shared, there are many good reasons and resources to assist students who want to continue their education after they graduate from HIS. To learn more about how you can support our College & Trade Prep program, please visit: holbrookindianschool. org/college-transition-program.

Holbrook Indian School April 2024 51

Preventing Injury During Your Next Pickleball Game

Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the nation, according to the American Sports & Fitness Association. Between August 2021 and August 2022, 14% of adult Americans—36.5 million people—played pickleball at least once.

Why? It’s great exercise, easy to learn, and people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds can play.

Pickleball is also a friendly game that provides the perfect amount of exercise, exertion, and sweat. Played as singles or doubles on a smaller court than tennis with a hard paddle and a polymer ball, pickleball is challenging without being overly complex. Across the country, you can find indoor courts and outdoor courts, courts at community centers and neighborhood recreation areas, and even tennis and basketball courts at parks that have been converted into pickleball courts.

Many people have caught the pickleball bug, and pickleball-related injuries have increased along with the popularity of the sport.

Dr. Ryan Morgan, orthopedist and sports medicine specialist at Adventist Health Glendale, reports a noticeable uptick in patients experiencing pickleball mishaps. “I see at least a few pickleballers each week. Knee injuries, including meniscus tears, hamstring strains, and ankle sprains are the most common complaints.”

Dr. Morgan himself plays pickleball a couple of times per month and offers the following tips for avoiding injury:

• Warm up well. As with any athletic activity, proper pre-game warm-up and stretching help prevent injury.

• Remember to hydrate. Drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after you play, especially as outdoor temperatures rise.

• Be realistic. Pickleball is a great game for all ages, but as people age, their bodies no longer perform as they once did. Accept your physical limitations and play at your own skill level.

• Don’t showboat. There’s no need to go all-out to make a diving return in a friendly game of pickleball. Just let the ball go and play for the next point. “It’s a game,” Dr. Morgan reminds his patients. “Don’t overdo it. It’s pickleball. It’s supposed to be fun.”

52 Pacific Union Recorder Adventist Health
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Education Major to Pay It Forward With Adventist Schools Career

When Molly Gram was coming up through the Seventh-day Adventist school system, she encountered teachers who became her guides, mentors, and friends; whose presence was interwoven throughout her life; and who helped form the foundation of faith and purpose that now motivates her.

An English-secondary education major at La Sierra University, Gram aims to become a middle or high school teacher within the Adventist education network to provide its students the same support, inspiration, and friendship that was afforded her during her formative years.

“I’m locked into the Adventist system,” Gram said. “I grew up in the Adventist system, and I truly believe that Adventist schools changed my life and made me a better person. I can see the impact that it had on my life as a student, and I want to be that impact for other students.”

Gram graduated from Newbury Park Adventist Academy in 2019 and earned an associate degree in English at Ventura Community College before transferring to La Sierra toward completing a bachelor’s degree with a teaching credential.

She spent her first two and a half years of college studying entirely online due to the covid pandemic and enrolled at La Sierra in 2022. For a time she contemplated teaching in the public school system, but after working as a teacher’s aide at Conejo Adventist Elementary in early 2022, her career track came into focus.

“I love that school with all my heart,” Gram said. “That’s where my heart got 100% committed to Seventhday Adventist education.”

She chose to enroll at La Sierra as it proved to be the best close-to-home option for finishing her degree at an Adventist school.

Gram hopes to engage in mission activities, another aspect of Adventist faith culture that she values. At La Sierra she has participated in a homeless outreach ministry, and in the past she joined North American mission trips to repair a damaged youth camp and to help with a homeless program, and she went to Peru to help finish construction of a school. “I love mission work,” she said. “It builds so much spiritual confidence and confidence in yourself in general.”

Finances have proven to be her greatest challenge in tackling university life. Gram had earned as much money as possible while attending community college, but she was concerned about affording La Sierra’s tuition. She decided to go forward and focus on covering one quarter at a time, trusting God to help her. “Every single time God’s provided,” she said.

“I love that school with all my heart. That’s where my heart got 100% committed to Seventh-day Adventist education.”
La Sierra University April 2024 53

‘Stronger Together’ Campaign Will Strengthen Healthcare, Education, and Research Efforts

Loma Linda University Health officially launched “Stronger Together,” a $300-million initiative intended to support researchers’ efforts to find new treatments for those facing life’s most challenging diseases, expand the preparation of more skilled, compassionate healthcare workers, and enhance access to healthcare services for the Inland Empire’s residents, particularly for its children. Richard Hart, MD, DrPH, president of Loma Linda University Health, made the campaign’s public announcement during an event at Loma Linda University Church on February 28.

“This forward-looking initiative reflects our commitment to mission and presents a clear vision of how Loma Linda University Health’s continuing efforts in education, research, and healthcare will impact our region and the world,” Hart said.

Highlights include academic innovations, as well as advances in healthcare and research:

• Construction of a major new cancer research and treatment center, a place that will serve as a catalyst for breakthrough research and highly personalized cancer treatment approaches—including targeted cell therapy, theranostics, and Boron Neutron Capture Therapy.

• Opening a new Pediatric Outpatient Specialty Clinic, bringing together specialties and services to provide expanded access to much-needed outpatient care for our community’s tiniest, most fragile patients.

• Modernization of Children’s Hospital surgical suites and expansion of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

• Expanding the facilities and student capacity of the School of Nursing, allowing Loma Linda University to address the region’s and nation’s critical nursing shortages.

• Creating new clinical space for the School of Dentistry, allowing this flagship school to provide expanded services to the community while preparing students for future practices.

“A group of mission-minded donors have already pledged almost $95 million to ensure the vision for ‘Stronger Together’ becomes a reality,” said Rachelle Bussell, senior vice president of advancement. “These

individuals hope their generosity will inspire all to realize what is possible to accomplish together.”

“‘Stronger Together’ builds on Loma Linda University Health’s 120-year history as a faith-based academic healthcare institution—a place uniting healthcare, research discovery, and educational excellence on one campus,” Hart said. “When combined with our spiritual focus, Loma Linda University Health offers a unique vantage point as we shape the future of healthcare. Support for ‘Stronger Together’ will allow us to build on our mission of sharing the teaching and healing ministry of Jesus Christ.”

Additional information about the “Stronger Together” campaign and ways to become involved in supporting this important initiative can be found on the “Stronger Together” website at stronger-together-campaign.

Linda University Health at 54 Pacific Union Recorder Loma Linda University Health
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In Service and Faith: The Inspiring Journeys of Two Couples in Adventist Education

For more than 140 years, Pacific Union College (PUC) has prepared students for lives of service and leadership. Many alumni have embarked on remarkable journeys of faith and service, particularly as teachers. Among those educators are two couples who stand out as examples of the impact of Adventist education.

Matt and Kim Bennie work at Redlands Adventist Academy, where they strive to instill a love of Christ in their students.

Matt grew up in Southern California, and education was deeply ingrained in his family. His grandfather, Rue Hoen, led the department of chemistry at PUC from 1937 to 1954.

Kim taught swimming lessons while at Modesto Adventist Academy. Before starting PUC, she realized how much she missed interacting with children. She promptly changed her major to education.

Matt and Kim began dating during their first year of teaching—Kim at Napa Adventist Junior Academy and Matt at Redlands. Eventually, Kim moved to Redlands to teach sixth grade. In June 2004, they married.

In 2009 they welcomed their first daughter, prompting Kim to focus on being a full-time mother. Three years later, they had their second daughter. Though she wasn’t teaching, Kim remained engaged in part-time roles at RAA, including as the school’s K-12 librarian.

Looking ahead, Matt and Kim are confident about one thing: “My daughters only have two choices for college: Pacific Union College or PUC,” Matt said.

Matt and Kim remain passionate about their work with students. “I want to make a difference in their lives

by loving them, supporting them, and leading them to Christ while providing an excellent education,” Kim said.

Scott and Stacy Knight, educators at Columbia Adventist Academy in Washington, are committed to supporting students.

Stacy found inspiration in her father, Doug Herrmann, who devoted many years to Adventist education. “I enjoyed the interactions I had with teachers and wanted to have that with my own students,” Stacy said.

Scott earned a B.A. in graphic technology from Pacific Union College, then he spent a year as a student missionary in Palau. Shortly after his return, Scott started dating Stacy at PUC. They married in December 2006.

The couple moved to Palau after Stacy graduated. She taught English at Palau Mission Academy. He taught computers and graphic design. They loved mission work so much that they stayed for a third year.

Scott and Stacy returned to the U.S. in 2010 amid a tough job market. A chance encounter led them to Holbrook Indian School in Arizona, where they taught for three years.

In 2013, the Knights moved to Washington, and Stacy began teaching English at Columbia Adventist Academy while Scott stayed home with their two daughters. After they started school, Scott transitioned to teaching fulltime again. This year marks Stacy’s 11th year at CAA and Scott’s sixth.

The Knights strongly believe in the importance of a Christian school environment. “Adventist education gives students a safe space to grow, question, and explore,” Stacy said.

Pacific Union College April 2024 55
The Bennie Family The Knight Family

Spiritual Impact of Adventist Education

Dani Wyman and her parents, Krista and Mark, found themselves disappointed with the public school near their home in Reno, Nevada, and were providentially led to Riverview Christian Academy. They actually just noticed the sign as they were driving home after much searching for other options, and they decided to check it out!

Dani, a second grader-to-be at the time, had experienced some rather harsh and challenging situations with the public school teacher and students at her previous school, which she had only attended a few short months after the family moved into town. Dani met the second-grade teacher at Riverview, and they hit it off right away with their mutual admiration for animals. So Dani and her family eagerly committed to giving Adventist education a chance. Her older brother enrolled as well.

In second and third grades, Dani noticeably grew spiritually. She so enjoyed the times spent in class reading and studying the Bible that she searched for Bible shows to watch at home, read daily devotions and the Bible with her mom and to anyone who would listen, and carried her Bible everywhere— even to sleepovers, where she would read to the

With other students, Dani Wyman sings the “Sabbath School songs” she learned while attending Riverview Christian Academy.

younger siblings of her friend! She loved learning God’s Word so much so that she requested to learn more about baptism, despite being baptized as a toddler in another denomination. Associate Pastor Damon Washington began preparing Dani for baptism, along with several other classmates. She and two of those classmates committed their lives to Christ through baptism at the end of the school year program and graduation. It was inspiring to see the enthusiasm Dani and her friends had for Jesus!

The story doesn’t end there, though. Dani continued her enthusiasm for Bible study and sharing her love for Christ! She continues to be a spiritual leader among her peers.

Although the rest of her family didn’t attend the Riverview Adventist church as often as she would have liked, Dani made sure she got there by asking them to drop her off each Sabbath morning so she could attend Sabbath School and the main service to praise God. The mother of her classmate and friend Eva Lujan offered to nurture Dani’s love for Jesus and take her home afterward. Eva’s mom, Brissa, said that Dani has been such a blessing to their family, and her eager participation in Sabbath School has really inspired other children.

Dani is now in sixth grade. She and her family had to relocate to a different state, but Dani continues to visit Riverview Christian Academy every opportunity she has when her family is in Reno. Her friendships with her peers at Riverview run deep, and they continue to remain in contact. God has big plans for Dani Wyman, and we can’t wait to see where the Lord continues to lead her!

56 Pacific Union Recorder Nevada-Utah Conference
RIGHT: Dani Wyman gets ready to be baptized by Damon Washington, the pastor who taught Bible class to the students during the 2021 school year. FAR RIGHT: Dani Wyman and the other two baptismal candidates stand in front of parents and the community at large during 2021 graduation night.

New Communication Director Appointed

In December 2023, the Nevada-Utah Conference Executive Committee appointed Neat Randriamialison as the communications and public relations director for the conference. Previously, Neat served as pastor of the Sparks church in Sparks, Nevada, for five years.

In the vastness of the conference’s territory, effective communication is paramount for the mission. This pivotal ministry involves orchestrating communication efforts, shaping and managing reputation/brand inside and outside the organization,

“I am a visual content creator, and I enjoy helping people experience God’s presence in their lives.”

and fostering transparent and engaging interactions with all constituents. By overseeing brand management, crisis communication, media relations, internal communication, and digital presence, this ministry becomes an invaluable asset, contributing to the overall success of our goal to work together in growing loving followers of Jesus.

When asked about his passion, Neat said, “I am a visual content creator, and I enjoy helping people experience God’s presence in their lives and embrace their journey so that they can find their purpose and become an inspiration to themselves and others.”

In addition to holding a Master of Divinity degree and a B.A. degree in marketing and business communication, Neat is currently working on a doctorate in mass media for ministry. In his spare time, he enjoys watching basketball, participating in karaoke, and spending time with his wife, Sylvana, his daughter, Keilah, and his son, Lucas.

Nevada-Utah Conference April 2024 57
LEFT: Neat Randriamialison, communications and public relations director of the Nevada-Utah Conference. ABOVE: The Randriamialisons: Neat, Keilah, Lucas, and Sylvana.

Evangelism at Its Roots: NCC Adventist Education

Northern California Conference (NCC) schools, totaling 33 institutions and catering each year to an average of 2,300 students over the past three years, exhibit diverse approaches to meet their communities' multifaceted needs.

In the realm of cultural enrichment, schools like Paradise Academy, Pine Hills, and Orangevale shine in their pursuit of theater and visual arts, garnering recognition in local media outlets. Meanwhile, institutions such as Rio Lindo, Sacramento, and PUC Preparatory excel in athletics, showcasing the distinctiveness of Adventist athletes.

Innovative educational experiences are championed by Paradise Elementary, Redwood Academy, and Napa, which pioneer outdoor education initiatives, illustrating the value of wholistic learning. The spirit of evangelism thrives across campuses like El Dorado, Pleasant Hill, and Lodi Academy and at elementary schools, where a collective effort has led to many student baptisms.

In schools like Ukiah, Yreka, Crescent City, Middletown, Red Bluff (ACES), Yuba City, Bayside, and Hilltop there are a high percentage of non-SDA or unchurched children, which highlights a commitment to embracing diversity in the entire community.

The commitment to providing dynamic and creative learning environments remains unwavering in schools like Echo Ridge, Chico Oaks, Redding Academy, Tracy, Galt, Westlake, Clearlake, Vacaville, and PUC Elementary. This dedication is mirrored across small rural schools like Feather River, Foothills, and Fortuna, demonstrating a shared commitment to educational excellence.

The two following stories showcase specifically how Northern California Conference schools are connecting children and youth to an abundant life in Jesus Christ and preparing for the Second Coming— evangelism at its heart.

Small School Pastor Program

The Small School Pastor Program stands as a beacon of support and spiritual nourishment for 16 small rural schools found in the vast expanse of the Northern California Conference. These educational outposts face unique challenges because of their remote locations and limited connectivity. Recognizing their unique needs, the NCC Education Department operates the Small School Pastor Program, embodying the commitment of the NCC to provide wholistic education that transcends mere academics.

At the helm of this pioneering initiative is Larry Untersehr, the dedicated small school pastor. Covering approximately 2,500 miles each month, he traverses the rugged terrain to provide spiritual support and guidance to these remote

communities. His role extends far beyond conventional academic instruction, encompassing teachings on community-building, spiritual enlightenment, health, and Bible knowledge and fostering a profound sense of connection among students.

One of the hallmarks of Untersehr's approach is his inclusive mindset, recognizing that many students may come from non-SDA or unchurched backgrounds. He emphasizes the universal message of Jesus' love and

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grace, endeavoring to meet each child wherever they may be on their spiritual journey.

Albert Miller, the superintendent of schools, lauded the indispensable nature of this as he explained, “Our smallschool pastor program is important. It gives an added dimension to the schools that supports our awesome

Tteachers. Unterseher is willing and able to reach out to each and is an asset to leading our students to Jesus.”

This pivotal program addresses the unique needs of rural schools to create an environment where all students can flourish in their personal and spiritual growth, regardless of their backgrounds.

Music and Its Muse

he introduction of the Worship Leadership class at Rio Lindo Academy marks a significant shift in recognizing the profound impact of music within spiritual practices.

Spearheaded by Annie Moravetz, a language teacher with a passion for music, this initiative seeks to enhance musical involvement in church activities while providing students with a platform to explore and nurture their musical talents.

More than just a class, this program serves as a dynamic training ground for student musicians, fostering the development of crucial life skills alongside musical proficiency. Through participation in the Worship Leadership class, students experience tangible growth in leadership, decision-making, public performance, and teamwork, all of which are essential for their personal and professional development.

What sets this program apart is its ripple effect beyond the confines of the Rio Lindo campus. Moravetz proudly shares anecdotes of students who have taken the skills and confidence acquired in the class to lead worship services in churches beyond the school community. This broader impact underscores the transformative power of the Worship Leadership class, not only enriching the lives of participating students but also benefiting the churches where these talented young individuals attend.

By empowering students to become leaders in worship, the Worship Leadership class not only enriches their own spiritual journeys but also strengthens the fabric of the wider church community. Through music, these young people become agents of positive change, inspiring and uplifting congregations with their passion, talent, and devotion to serving in worship.

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Orangewood Students Prep for Success with College Readiness Week

At the close of the 2023 fall semester, Orangewood Academy launched an innovative initiative aimed to create ministry, college, and career-focused opportunities for its seventh- through 12th-graders. The preschool to 12th-grade academy considered the fact that they have international students and that families often go on vacation over the Christmas break. Recognizing this, they decided to move their finals one week ahead, allowing students to not only take their exams but also receive meaningful feedback from their teachers. With the last week of school now fully available, the team

decided to launch a career and college readiness week.

Each day of the week, teachers and staff provided different activities and opportunities for students to help them anticipate college, make informed decisions about potential careers, and engage in ministry, as explained by Zaidy Olivarria, the assistant principal. Each activity was curated to be appropriate and relevant for the different grades. The school also partnered with OCGrace church and Relove church to provide ministry opportunities for the students, such as painting fences in an art garden and cleaning out the church closets.

Both students and faculty felt that this week was informative and meaningful. “Dedicating an entire week of school to getting a better understanding of how to apply for colleges, student athlete scholarships, what type of degrees there are, and how to sign up for government-funded programs to help further my education was definitely a big help,” said Victoria Perez, a 10th-grader. Kimberly Analco, another 10th-grader, said that this week helped her and others consider possible expectations for different careers and narrow down potential fields they may like to pursue in their future.

Olivarria explained that this initiative was successful because of the significant amount of teamwork that went into planning. More than a year of intentionality went into developing this event, and they are hopeful that this is something they can continue in the future. Congratulations to Orangewood Academy for finding dynamic new ways to engage and prepare their students for not only a life of service but of excellence.

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Students paint fences with art as a ministry opportunity. Gatra Suhari speaks to students on Career Day about being a pastor.

Hearing From Our Teachers: Co-Teaching With Christ

In the Adventist education system, being a teacher provides fulfillment not only as an educator but as a spiritual guide. I always tell my students that prayer is a luxury. There are many schools where teachers and students cannot pray together.

This month in our classroom, we have been going over ways to pray. One of my personal favorite ways to pray is inspired by Bob Goff in his book Love Does 1 Goff, a lawyer, introduces a powerful technique that extends beyond the courtroom and into the fabric of daily life. He insists on a strict rule for his clients when testifying on the witness stand: they must keep their hands open, palms up. This technique challenges our instinctive response to stress: fist-clenching, which is an attempt to retain control and pride. However, this only internalizes conflict. Living with "palms up" means surrendering to God, letting go of control, and trusting in His identity and authority.

I shared this with my students as we started our prayer unit. I had students pick a corner of the room, sit down, take a deep breath, and pray silently with

their palms up. I assumed they would pray for 20 to 30 seconds, but when I peeked my eyes open, I saw 28 fourth-grade students earnestly surrendering their burdens, praises, and requests with their eyes shut and palms up. When we wrapped up, we talked about how it feels vulnerable—and for many of us, our palms even feel a little tingly when we do this.

Lunchtime came around, and when we got ready for prayer, I said, “OK, let’s bow our heads for prayer.” While I waited for everyone to settle down, I saw the students close their eyes… with their palms up. It’s these moments where I remember my crucial role. Although I am the teacher, I am co-teaching with Christ himself— I am a vessel in His great plans to teach these kids about Him and His love.

Ever since, we have been praying palms up, and it is so beautiful to remember the impact we can have with just a quick five-minute activity. I may not fully comprehend how much this truly affects my students, but I am honored and joyously fulfilled to serve as a vessel for Christ, allowing Him to work through me every day.

Southeastern California Conference April 2024 61
1. Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World (Nashville, Mrs. Korompis demonstrates “palms up.” Students pray with the palms up technique.

Student-Run News Show Builds Community at South Bay Christian School

Welcome to South Bay News (SBN), a student-run news broadcast in which middle school students at South Bay Christian School (SBCS) share relevant and interesting news and campus life stories once a month. What began last school year as a project with students meeting once a week—often after school—has grown into an elective that middle school students can sign up for each semester. Students choose how they want to participate—in roles such as camera operator, script writer, director, editor, interviewer—and they determine what segments to produce. The class is organized into five production teams that mix students in fifth through eighth grades. Typically, an eighth-grade student is a production team leader. Creativity and independence are encouraged at SBN under the supervision of Amanda Johnston, middle school principal and science and language arts teacher, and Chris Watkins, middle school


Please take notice that the 66th regular Constituency Session of the Southern California Conference of Seventhday Adventists is called to convene as follows:

Place: White Memorial Seventh-day Adventist Church 401 North State Street, Los Angeles, California

Date: Sunday, September 29, 2024

Time: 7:55 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., or until business is completed

The purpose of this session is to receive reports, to elect conference officers, the Vice President for Education, the Executive Committee, and the Bylaws Committee; and to transact any other business that may properly come before the delegates in session.

Delegates are invited to join with the SCC Prayer Team for prayer from 7:00 – 7:50 a.m.

Velino A. Salazar, President John H. Cress, Executive Secretary

math teacher and IT manager.

Brooke, eighth-grade student and yearbook photographer, initially joined SBN because of her interest in photography. She began as a camera operator, but after the on-air talent left, Brooke pivoted from behind the camera to in front of the camera.

“Honestly, it wasn’t that big of a difference,” Brooke said about the transition, a testament to the skills developed and confidence built by students’ involvement with SBN. “It teaches you teamwork skills, how to be patient, and it’s taught me how to not procrastinate.”

Seeing the students thrive in this way excites Johnston. “I enjoy seeing a student who finds something they didn’t know they’d be good at,” she shared. “To see Brooke step up in front of the camera—she’s always been one of the quieter students, and she’s really coming into her own as a leader this year.”

Owen, an eighth-grade student, is the director and camera operator for Production Group A. His motivation for joining SBN was the fun of being part of a community. “For me, it’s been great making friends with everyone and being able to work together,” he said.

SBN’s first season included 15-minute episodes that were shared at chapel. This year, the shorter two- or three-minute segments focus on campus life and are distributed to the school’s constituent churches.

How does SBN create relatable and engaging content? “Humor!” Owen said enthusiastically. “And high-quality videos.” The class constantly keeps their audience in mind. “We ask ourselves what we would want to know about certain events,” Brooke added, “or what we think others should know.”

“I think this is something that any school can do,” Johnston added. “It builds unexpected skills, and it’s made the kids feel more connected to their school.”

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PHOTOS: SOUTH BAY CHRISTIAN SCHOOL FACEBOOK PAGE RIGHT: Aleshanee, Hudson, Gracie, Willow. Production Group D films an interview on AstroCamp. FAR RIGHT: KyLynn works on a script for her next segment.

Pathfinders Commit to God and Recognize Achievements at Annual Convocation

White Memorial church was packed and buzzing with energy as 62 Pathfinder clubs—about 1,400 attendees total—gathered for the annual Pathfinder Convocation this January.

“For more than 20 years, the Southern California Conference (SCC) has held the annual Pathfinder Convocation to celebrate, reward, and inspire the next generation of Pathfinders in Southern California,” said Sal Garcia, youth ministries director.

The program began with song service and familiar exercises, such as the color guard, Pathfinder pledge and law, pledge to the Bible, and the Pathfinder song. Opening prayer was spoken in multiple languages, including English, Tagalog, Spanish, and Mandarin.

Velino A. Salazar, SCC president, thanked all who have contributed to the spiritual growth of young people through the Pathfinder ministry in SCC. “This is the perfect place to inspire these young people to continue carrying the gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said. “Jesus is coming soon, and we need to be ready for that day.”

Pathfinders voted on pins to trade at the International Pathfinder Camporee in Gillette, Wyoming, this summer, 15 clubs were awarded trophies, and 18 clubs received pins recognizing their advancement to the conference-level testing of the Pathfinder Bible Experience. A special choir of 25 to 30 Pathfinders—seven clubs—provided music throughout the program.

Armando Miranda Jr., North American Division

youth and young adult ministries associate director, shared an encouraging message on the prodigal son, emphasizing the importance of God’s forgiveness and how nothing can separate us from His love.

“No matter how much you’ve messed up, or are messing up right now, the Father still looks out for you,” Miranda said. “The Father still calls you His son or daughter. Nothing changes His love for you.”

At the end of his message, he made a baptism appeal to Pathfinders, inviting them up front to fill out decision cards, and he prayed for their decisions in saying “yes” to Jesus.

“The purpose of the convocation is to bring together all SCC Pathfinders to celebrate God’s work of salvation in their lives,” Garcia added. “We believe the event is important because it uplifts Jesus as Savior and Friend and invites Pathfinders to be servants of all and friends to mankind.”

Miranda (back left), alongside Pathfinder leaders and Salazar (back center), prays for Pathfinders’ desire for baptism.
Southern California Conference April 2024 63
LEFT: Pathfinders vote via phone for their favorite pins during a presentation on the upcoming International Pathfinder Camporee in Gillette, Wyoming. RIGHT: A representative from the White Memorial church Pathfinder club is one of 15 clubs to accept their club of the year award. PHOTOS: ARAYA MOSS


Journeya to Excellence


Adobe Adventist Christian School Apache Junction/Mesa

Cochise Christian School Bisbee

Glenview Adventist Academy Glendale/Phoenix

Maricopa Village Christian School Laveen Village

Prescott Adventist Christian School Prescott

Saguaro Hills Adventist Christian School Tucson

Thunderbird Adventist Academy Scottsdale

Thunderbird Christian Elementary Scottsdale

Verde Valley Adventist School Cottonwood

Yuma Adventist Christian School Yuma

Impacting Lives in Arizona FOR THE FUTURE

Arizona Adventist Education

A Journey to Excellence

Whether large or small, our Adventist schools in Arizona are impacting the lives of students, parents, teachers, congregations, and communities from north to south, east to west. Students are learning how to be Christian leaders, influencers, and impactors through service, academics, and spiritual leadership. We are raising student leaders…student servers!

Arizona Conference April 2024 65

Armona Union Academy (K-12)

Bakersfield Adventist Academy (K-12)

Central Valley Christian Academy (K-12)

Chowchilla Adventist School

Dinuba Junior Academy

Foothill Adventist Elementary

Fresno Adventist Academy (K-12)

Hollister Adventist Christian School

Los Banos Adventist Christian School

Miramonte Christian School

Monterey Bay Academy (9-12)

Mother Lode Adventist Junior Academy (K-10)

Mountain View Academy (9-12)

Peninsula Adventist School

San Francisco Adventist School

Sierra View Junior Academy (K-10)

Templeton Hills Adventist School

Valley View Adventist School (K-10)

VHM Christian School



Hands Preschool 209-538-6443

Milpitas Discoveryland 408-263-7626

Sonora Kiddie Kollege 209-532-8612

Valley View Children’s Center 805-481-7534

Growing Students Spiritually BY SERVING OTHERS Central California Adventist Education A Journey to Excellence 559-347-3055 • EDUCATE.CCCADVENTIST.ORG
66 Pacific Union Recorder Central California Conference
Hawaii Conference April 2024 67


CHRISTIAN SCHOOL Bishop, California

(760) 872-1036

BISHOP RAINBOW CONNECTION (PRESCHOOL) Bishop, California (760) 972-1272



(775) 423-4185

RIVERVIEW CHRISTIAN ACADEMY Reno, Nevada I (775) 322-0714

SUMMIT CHRISTIAN ACADEMY Salt Lake City, Utah I (801) 613-1722


CHRISTIAN SCHOOL Susanville, California susanvilleca.adventist

(530) 257-5045



Las Vegas, Nevada I (702) 871-7208

Nevada-Utah Conference Adventist Education

A Journey to Excellence


schools enable learners to

develop a life of faith in God and to use their knowledge, skills, and understanding to serve God and humanity.

To learn more about Adventist Education in our territory, visit us at .

68 Pacific Union Recorder Nevada-Utah Conference

Excellence for Eternity


Northern California Adventist Education

A Journey to Excellence

Adventist Christian Elementary School of Red Bluff (530) 527-1486

Adventist Christian School of Yuba City (530) 673-7645

Bayside SDA Christian School (510) 785-1313

Chico Oaks Adventist School (530) 342-5043

Clearlake SDA Christian School (707) 994-6356

Crescent City SDA School (707) 464-2738

Echo Ridge Christian School (530) 265-2057

El Dorado Adventist School (530) 622-3560

Feather River Adventist School (530) 533-8848

Foothills Adventist Elementary School (707) 963-3546

Fortuna Junior Academy (707) 725-2988

Galt Adventist Christian School (209) 745-3577

Hilltop Christian School & Preschool (925) 778-0214 (925) 779-9297

Lodi Academy (209) 368-2781

Lodi SDA Elementary (209) 368-5341

Middletown Adventist School (707) 987-9147

Napa Christian Campus of Education (707) 255-5233

Orangevale SDA School & Kingdom Kids Christian Preschool (916) 988-4310

Pacific Union College Elementary (707) 965-2459

Pacific Union College Prep School (707) 200-2648

Paradise Adventist Academy (530) 877-6540

Paradise Adventist Elementary School (530) 877-6540

Pine Hills Adventist Academy (530) 885-9447

Pleasant Hill Adventist Academy (925) 934-9261

Redding Adventist Academy (530) 222-1018

Redwood Adventist Academy (707) 545-1697

Rio Lindo Adventist Academy (707) 431-5100

Sacramento Adventist Academy & Preschool (916) 481-2300

Tracy SDA Christian Elementary School (209) 835-6607

Ukiah Junior Academy (707) 462-6350

Vacaville Adventist School (707) 448-2842

Westlake SDA School (707) 263-4607

Yreka Adventist Christian School (530) 842-7071

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA CONFERENCE OF SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS I I (916) 886-5645 Northern California Conference April 2024 69
70 Pacific Union Recorder Southeastern California Conference



Adventist Education Simi Valley Preschool

Child Development Center of SFVA

Conejo Adventist Preschool

SBJA Discoveryland Child Care and Infant Center

lruka Yochien

Los Angeles Discoveryland Preschool

Three Angels’ Preschool and Infant Center


Adventist Education Simi Valley Adventist Union School

Antelope Valley Adventist School

Conejo Adventist Elementary East Valley Adventist School

Linda Vista Adventist Elementary

Los Angeles Adventist Elementary

Ridgecrest Adventist Elementary South Bay Christian School

West Covina Hills Adventist School


Glendale Adventist Academy

San Fernando Valley Academy

San Gabriel Academy


Newbury Park Adventist Academy


Southern California Adventist Education

A Journey to Excellence

The mission of the Southern California Conference Adventist school system is to glorify God through academic excellence in nurturing Christian environments. Here, students establish a lifelong friendship with Jesus Christ while preparing for a lifetime of devoted service to Him and to humanity. The system pursues this mission by educating for eternity. • 818-546-8451 Southern California Conference April 2024 71
Armona Union Academy 14435 Locust Street • P.O. Box 397 • Armona, CA 93202 • (559) 582-4468 • A K-12 Seventh-day Adventist Christian School Serving Kings and Tulare Counties Since 1904 The mission of Armona Union Academy is to inspire and mentor our students to Love God, Serve Others, and Value Learning. 72 Pacific Union Recorder PACIFIC UNION CONFERENCE SCHOOLS
April 2024 73
Ceres, CA

Escondido Adventist Academy

Escondido Adventist Academy, a TK through 12th-grade school, provides a welcoming community in a small, nurturing environment.

Offerings include Advanced Placement courses, art, music, community/global missions, and a strong athletics program.

74 Pacific Union Recorder
Fresno Adventist Academy • Biblical Values • Dual Credit options available in High School • K-12 Music Program • Competitive Athletics • Financial Aid Available 5397 E. Olive Avenue, Fresno, CA 93727 Phone: 559-251-5548 I Fax: 559-252-6495 I I Now Offering $1000 Scholarships for all new students ENROLLMENT IS NOW OPEN FOR THE 2024-2025 SCHOOL YEAR! PACIFIC UNION CONFERENCE SCHOOLS


April 2024 75 GLENDALE ADVENTIST ACADEMY Grades TK-12 NOW ENROLLING 700 Kimlin Drive, Glendale, CA 91206 (818) 244-8671
is no greater gift to the future
a generation of young
who are empowered
Glendale Adventist Academy (TK-12) is at the forefront of developing such young people. New families receive 50% off first month’s tuition for the 2024-2025 school year! (with ad) PACIFIC UNION CONFERENCE SCHOOLS APPLY NOW FOR FALL 2024 Scholarships Available
with spiritual commitment,
academic preparation,
skills, and a
awareness and sensitivity.

Holbrook Indian School (HIS) is a first- through twelfth-grade Christian boarding school for Native American children and youth.

Located in Holbrook, Arizona, just a few miles from the Navajo Nation, HIS serves indigenous youth from many tribes: Navajo, Hopi, Apache, Havasupai, Lakota, Pima, Crow, and Micmac, to name just a few.

PO Box 910 • Holbrook, AZ 86025

2001 McClaws Rd. • Holbrook, AZ 86025

928-524-6845 (Ext. 109) •

A Seventh-day Adventist Boarding Academy Serving Native American Youth Since 1946


At Mother Lode Adventist Junior Academy, we aspire to nurture a love for God and a Biblical worldview. We seek to develop lives that are balanced academically, spiritually, socially, and physically. Our students are prepared to achieve excellence in their service to God, the church, and their community.

Mother Lode Adventist Junior Academy

80 N. Forest Road

Sonora, CA 95370 (209) 532-2855

ur curriculum is dynamic and diversified, offering humanities, mathematics, science, language, and the arts. Mastery of the traditional academic disciplines is interwoven with artistic and practical activities to provide a dynamic and engaging educational experience for every student. Central to our K-12 educational program is a recognition of and a respect for the child’s unfolding Godgiven individuality. Our education values difference and strives to support children in such a way that each child’s unique gifts are utilized and challenges are faced. WWW.NAPACHRISTIAN.COM I 707-255-5233 “The Napa Christian Campus has a wonderful blend of academics, art, and nature. The staff and students are like family. It is truly a magical place.” - PARENT Schedule a visit and your child’s personal kindergarten readiness evaluation. HAPPY CHILDREN Learn Best
1:10 Student-Teacher Ratio
Daily Activities in Our Farm/ Garden
Fully Accredited
Student Aid Available
Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)
Project-based Learning The mission of NPAA is to develop Christ-like character, gain wisdom through Biblical principles, and foster unselfish service. WWW.MYNPAA.COM | 805-498-2191 80 Pacific Union Recorder PACIFIC UNION CONFERENCE SCHOOLS • Quality Christian Education • Boarding School With Dorms • Strong Fine Arts, Music, & Athletics • Beautiful Campus & Safe Location • WASC Accredited & UC Approved • Caring and Dedicated Faculty • Small Student-Teacher Ratio • International Student Program

13732 Clinton Street I Garden Grove, CA 92843 I 714-534-4694 I

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14

WITH A HIGHER PURPOSE Spirituality I Scholarship I Sportsmanship I Service A Seventh-day Adventist Preparatory School PACIFIC UNION CONFERENCE SCHOOLS April 2024 81

Pine Hills Adventist Academy



College prep curriculum with A-G approved classes, AP, and dual-credit classes taught by certified teachers.


Career-focused class offerings, career shadowing, and wide range of subjects, including Art, Drama, K-12 Music, Orchestra, and Strings.


Small class size fostering close relationships, team-building and collaboration, community service, and involvement.

Life with Christ

Daily Bible classes, small group ministry, church music outreach, community service, Christ-centered teachers, and a dedicated chaplain.

Pine Hills Adventist Academy • 13500 Richards Lane • Auburn, CA. 95603 •

Pleasant Hill Adventist Academy

Pleasant Hill Adventist Academy offers a quality, preschool–12, Christ-centered education, preparing students not only for college but for eternity. In the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area, we promote Christian values in and out of the classroom—especially through service to others as modeled by Christ who inspires, transforms, and serves. Our WASC-accredited academic program is focused on college readiness, and all high school classes meet the A-G requirements for the University of California and California State University systems, with PHAA graduates attending Stanford, UC Berkeley, Pacific Union College, La Sierra University, and numerous other in- and out-of-state colleges and universities.

(925) 934-9261 •

796 Grayson Road • Pleasant Hill, CA 94523

K-12 Christian Education
PACIFIC UNION CONFERENCE SCHOOLS Mission Statement “Preparing students to use their heads, hearts, and hands for now and eternity.” 2980 Willow Creek Rd, Prescott, AZ 86301 928.224.8022 I I Open enrollment for grades K-10 • Nurturing Potential • Vigorously Academic • Thoroughly Christian
Emphasizing Service April 2024 83
84 Pacific Union Recorder PACIFIC UNION CONFERENCE SCHOOLS 1356 E. Cypress Ave. Redding, CA 96002

5601 Winding Way

Carmichael, CA 95608 (916) 481-2300

Sacramento Adventist Academy educates students in preschool through twelfth grade, offering opportunities to develop their knowledge, skills, and spiritual life. SAA is a private Seventh-day Adventist Christian school, fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. As such, the faculty and staff work to provide a strong understanding of the Bible as well as tools to become lifelong learners and critical thinkers.



Contact us:

Phone: 818-349-1373

17601 Lassen St. Northridge, CA 91325




Ukiah Junior Academy

"Ukiah Junior Academy provides the best education for the money in the Ukiah area."

School Highlights:

• Christ-centered education

• Grades K-10

• ACS-WASC Accredited

• School-wide music program, including choir, orchestra, and a spring musical each year

• Field trips to Washington D.C., science camps and trips, forty-niner camp for grade 4.

180 Stipp Lane, Ukiah

• Gardening projects

• Community service for all students, all grade levels, with projects at the community food bank, Plowshares (feeding the homeless), community garden, visiting the assisted living communities to share music, and more.


• 707.462.6350

Vegas Valley Adventist Academy

Our classes are sized to allow one-on-one attention to specific areas of need and to motivate the student to think outside the box when approaching an assignment.

We offer classes ranging from K through 10th grade. The entire academic program is well-rounded and balanced, giving your child a great education.

We honor God by striving for academic excellence, character development, and positive relationships with our community and each other.

6059 W. Oakey Blvd.

Las Vegas, Nevada 89146

(702) 871-7208


Assisting families as they make educational decisions at key progression points in their student’s life

Kindergarten Scholarships $750 $250 to

Ninth-Grade Scholarships $2,500 $1,000 to

• Not limited to members of the Adventist Church

• For full-time enrolled kindergarten or ninth-grade students

• Nominated by the local conference education department

• Regardless of other scholarship funds or tuition assistance

• Based on submission of online essay-based application

Application deadline: Varies by conference

scan the
To apply,
Next Step

Pray for the students and

92 Pacific Union Recorder

and teachers in our schools

April 2024 93


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The Pacific Union Recorder is published 12 times per year with a circulation of approximately 75,000. For more information about advertising, please email to recorder@adventistfaith. com.

Upcoming Deadlines

These are the advertising deadlines for the Recorder. Your local conference news deadlines will be earlier.

May: April 4 • June: May 2


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Recorder Membership

The Pacific Union Recorder is provided as a free service to members of the conferences that are part of the Pacific Union Conference (Arizona, Hawaii, Northern California, Central California, Southern California, Southeastern California, and NevadaUtah). Each conference maintains the list of members, based on the reports from their churches. If you would like to make a change to your subscription (name, address, cancellation), please contact your local conference. The staff of the Recorder does not have access to the circulation lists, other than the paid subscriptions.

April 2024 Sunset Calendar

“So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.” Hebrews 4:9
City/Location APR 5 APR 12 APR 19 APR 26 Alturas (Modoc Cty.) 7:33 7:40 7:48 7:56 Angwin 7:37 7:44 7:50 7:57 Bakersfield 7:21 7:27 7:32 7:38 Calexico 7:05 7:10 7:15 7:20 Chico 7:36 7:43 7:50 7:57 Death Valley (Furnace Ck) 7:13 7:19 7:25 7:31 Eureka 7:46 7:53 8:01 8:08 Four Corners [E] 7:42 7:48 7:55 8:01 Fresno 7:25 7:31 7:37 7:43 Grand Canyon (South Rim) 6:54 7:00 7:06 7:12 Half Dome 7:25 7:31 7:38 7:44 Hilo 6:35 6:37 6:39 6:42 Holbrook (Navajo City) 6:46 6:51 6:57 7:03 Honolulu 6:47 6:50 6:52 6:55 Joshua Tree 7:09 7:15 7:20 7:25 Lake Tahoe 7:28 7:34 7:41 7:48 Las Vegas 7:06 7:12 7:18 7:24 Lodi-Stockton 7:32 7:39 7:45 7:52 Loma Linda 7:13 7:18 7:24 7:29 Los Angeles 7:17 7:22 7:28 7:33 McDermitt [N] 7:21 7:29 7:37 7:44 Moab 7:46 7:52 7:59 8:05 Monterey Bay 7:33 7:39 7:45 7:52 Mt. Whitney 7:12 7:17 7:22 7:27 Napa 7:36 7:43 7:49 7:56 Nogales [S] (Los) 6:46 6:51 6:56 7:01 Oakland 7:36 7:42 7:49 7:55 Paradise, CA 7:35 7:42 7:49 7:56 Phoenix 6:52 6:57 7:02 7:07 Pu‘uwaiau, Ni’ihau [W] 6:39 6:40 6:43 6:45 Reno 6:38 6:40 6:42 6:45 Riverside 7:13 7:19 7:24 7:29 Sacramento 7:33 7:40 7:47 7:53 Salt Lake City 7:57 8:04 8:11 8:19 San Diego 7:12 7:17 7:22 7:27 San Francisco 7:36 7:43 7:49 7:56 San Jose 7:34 7:40 7:46 7:53 Santa Rosa 7:38 7:45 7:51 7:58 Sunset Beach 7:33 7:39 7:46 7:52 Thousand Oaks 7:19 7:25 7:30 7:36 Tucson 6:46 6:51 6:56 7:01 [N]=Northernmost [S]=Southernmost [E]=Easternmost [W]=Westernmost point in the Pacific Union ! 94 Pacific Union Recorder

People’s educational experiences influence their lives in many ways. These experiences provide role models, inspiration, guidance in choosing a career, and relationships that may last a lifetime. And the right type of experience can provide a foundation for a successful adult life.

Seventh-day Adventist educator Aimee Leukert has witnessed the development of her own students into contributing members of society who themselves have become an inspiration to many around them. This book is a collection of stories from people who have built upon the foundation of their Adventist education and have thrived in their fields.

The Continuing Influence of Adventist Education

Available from your Adventist Book Center, 1-800-765-6955, and online at It is also available as an eBook at
P.O. Box 5005 Thousand Oaks CA, 91359-5005
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