The Lake Union and North American Division’s Office of Education believe that teaching young people to be actively involved in witnessing and service activities is central to the educational goals of the school and the mission of the church.

June 6, 2024

Academy Students Recognized for Caring Hearts

The Lake Union and North American Division’s Office of Education believe that teaching young people to be actively involved in witnessing and service activities is central to the educational goals of the school and the mission of the church. 

For this reason, the Caring Heart Award for Christian Service has been established to give recognition to those secondary students who have demonstrated a personal commitment to active service and witnessing activities. 

The Caring Heart Award is provided to each North American Division-accredited senior academy that has selected an eligible candidate. The award consists of a special scholarship award certificate with a value of $600, paid by the Union, and accompanied by a plaque and engraved Bible provided by the NAD Office of Education. 

Below are the recipients for the 2023‒2024 school year: 



Andrews Academy senior Marco Sciarabba’s faith holds significant importance in his life. Throughout his time at the academy, Marco has actively participated in various leadership roles, including serving as junior class vice president and senior class pastor. He is deeply involved in the spiritual life committee, where he contributes to the school's spiritual aspects. Marco's commitment to service led him to participate in the SOW Safari mission trip to the Dominican Republic in January 2024, an experience that profoundly impacted him by teaching him the value of gratitude and true service. He eagerly anticipates future mission trips where he can continue to serve and connect with others. Marco plans to attend Andrews University and is considering majors in theology and engineering. 





Daniel Sian Pi is a dedicated leader at Battle Creek Academy, having held the offices of student association pastor and religious vice president. He has a heart for music and shares his love for Christ through his musical talent. Daniel is passionate about his service for his church, helping with youth ministry and music programs. After the loss of his father at a young age, Daniel has, without hesitation, cared for his family, especially his younger brother and sister.  







Throughout her four years at Great Lakes Adventist Academy, Selah Garcia has allowed Jesus to shine through her. She has a keen eye to see when there is a need – a sad or lonely classmate, an undesirable task that needs to be completed, someone who needs joy – and her compassionate heart drives her to eagerly fill the need. It is not uncommon for her to share uplifting notes, sing to one of “her girls” in the dorm, pray with a classmate, or sit with a friend and just listen. These Christ-like characteristics have helped her be an incredible leader on campus, serving as class pastor her freshman and junior years, and as the public relations officer her sophomore year. During her senior year, Selah has served as the bell choir’s “ringleader,” the National Honor Society president, and as the head resident assistant in the dormitory.  





Samuel Cruz’s calm demeanor, commitment to academic excellence, and love for God have been a positive example to everyone at Grand Rapids Adventist Academy. He has a creative mind and sense of humor that he has injected into many school projects (and to amuse classmates and school staff). Samuel has a strong work ethic and is active in his local church serving as deacon, audiovisual team member, and a staff leader in the Pathfinder club. He has also participated in numerous community outreach activities through school and church, including a mission trip to Peru in 2023. Samuel’s consistency and dependability have been a great asset to GRAA and to the Seventh-day Adventist community in Grand Rapids. 






As senior class president and member of the Hinsdale Adventist Academy chapter of the National Honor Society, Nathan Tessalee gets much opportunity to showcase being a servant leader.  When he interacts with his classmates on class projects, varsity sports teams, orchestra, and choir, he leads from the front by setting the tone of service by maintaining a Christ-centered focus.  Nathan, with willful joy, engages in several community-oriented outreach projects ranging from coat-drives for homeless people and refugees in Chicago to collaborative music performances with several Protestant churches in the local area. He is very active at his church, often leading out as deacon or with the church youth and young adults. His humble demeanor is the best evidence that Christ is Nathan’s example of true servant-leadership.   





Indiana Academy has been positively impacted by the care and compassion of senior Hsa Eh Law Chaw. If someone needs help or assistance in any way, Hsa is often not only the first to volunteer, but he has also made it a habit to see a need and start addressing it. This initiative to support and encourage is a hallmark of his character. As a senior resident assistant, Hsa was willing to oversee support and direction for the freshman hall. His consistent mentorship makes a practical difference in the lives of these young men. Additionally, when not helping with some worthy cause, he often spends his time off with his own family and being a mentor and role model to his younger siblings. Hsa is active in numerous musical groups on campus and leads out or is a supportive participant in student engagement activities.  





Omar Garay possesses a strength that enables him to stand firm to his convictions. He is also thoughtful. He regularly asks how teachers and students are doing and offers help if he notices a need. Another example of Omar’s character comes from his recent involvement in the Andrews University Newmyer Classic basketball tournament. After the tournament was over, Wisconsin Academy received a call from the parent of one of the students Omar played against. Omar and this other student were opposing centers, and they battled the entire game. Through this high level of competition, the other student and their parent had taken notice of Omar’s good sportsmanship, and that parent wanted to commend him.  




Compiled by the Lake Union Office of Education.