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Nine Academy Students Recognized for Their “Caring Hearts”

Compiled by Visitor Staff
Published 8/28/12

Each year the Columbia Union Conference Office of Education recognizes one senior or junior from each senior academy who has made an impact on the lives of those within their community with the Caring Heart Award. Winning students are selected for their demonstration of personal commitment to service and witnessing activities. Below are this year’s award recipients:

Johnathan Dixon, a member of Pine Forge Academy’s “Inimitable Class of 2012,” not only graduated with high honors, he also received the Caring Heart Award. “Because of Johnathan’s love for his peers, acts of love and kindness, exemplifying what it means to be a Christian and for eternally impacting the lives of staff and students of Pine Forge Academy, he was overwhelmingly chosen to be the recipient of the 2012 Caring Heart Award,” said Delmas Campbell, principal of the Pine Forge, Pa.-based academy.
As religious vice president, Dixon planned weekly prayer meetings and other spiritual programs for students and staff. In recognition of his positive impact on the campus at large and for being a model student, Dixon was also named male student of the year.

Graduating senior Timothy Davis won the award at Shenandoah Valley Academy in New Market, Va. “He is one of those people who is irreplaceable!” said Ron White, IT director, who oversaw Davis as a student worker. “When people saw him coming, they were happy. They knew he would fix their problem.”
Nominated by the faculty and staff for his kindness to others, integrity in the workplace and classroom, and cheerful personality, they report that Davis always had a smile on his face and was ready to help anyone get the job done. He was also heavily involved in the music program as a member of the handbells ensemble, concert choir and select choir, the Shenandoans. Davis is now attending Southern Adventist University (Tenn.) with a major in computer science.

When asked which of senior Daniel Byrkit’s qualities led them to select him for the award, the faculty at Highland View Academy (HVA) in Hagerstown, Md., said: 

“Daniel … is always helping someone,” commented Julie Recker, registrar. “He’s the kind of kid who looks out for others and sits by the new kid in the cafeteria or voluntarily tutors other students.”

John Henline, Byrkit’s dean and HVA’s athletic director, shared, “Daniel was a great RA with a mission-oriented heart. Even after he changed jobs, he continued to help out in the dorm whenever I needed him. He really cares about the needs of others.”

Byrkit is studying psychology and modern languages at Southern Adventist University (Tenn.).

While at Mount Vernon Academy in Mount Vernon, Ohio, Evelyn Ruiz, a recent graduate, was active in leadership positions, mission trips, community outreach programs, student weeks of prayer and served as the religious vice president for the Student Association. “Evelyn is a nurturing, helpful, spiritual person; she is kind and thoughtful toward everyone she meets,” said Robert Stevenson, former principal. “She is a wonderful person and possesses an exemplary character.”
Stevenson recalls that during last year’s mission trip, Ruiz not only participated in the painting project, but also spoke for worships and interacted with the children. She even woke up early to help cook breakfast for the students.

Spring Valley Academy’s (SVA) salutatorian, Taylor Bartram, was honored at this year’s Commencement ceremony with the Caring Heart Award. One of Bartram’s former teachers at the Centerville, Ohio, school said about him: “Taylor loves the Lord and shows it. He is a gentleman and takes the time to be courteous and helpful.” Another said, “He is kind and mature in the treatment of younger and older peers alike—an outstanding example for God, his parents and SVA.” Still another said, “Congratulations, Taylor, on this achievement and may the Lord continue to bless you in all your future service to Him!”

Although Takoma Academy’s graduating senior Adrian Dixon received the Caring Heart Award this year, it is clearly he who seeks to make those around him succeed. Dixon has conducted himself as a true scholar, gentleman and Christian, say his instructors. The school conferred this honor on him for his servant leadership and for his demonstration of selflessness, dedication and leadership, both in the classroom and on the field, where he has made a tremendous contribution to the varsity basketball team.
“We are proud to have him as an ambassador of Takoma Academy,” said David Daniels, former principal of the Takoma Park, Md., school. Dixon is now a freshman at nearby Washington Adventist University where he is majoring in theology.

Staff members of Spencerville Adventist Academy in Spencerville, Md., describe
Josué Hernández, as “a positively delightful young man with a loving heart for all people.”
Although Hernández, who graduated in May, had limited contact with elementary students, staff says they clearly know who he is, look up to him, sense his caring spirit and appreciate how he treats them like his own little brothers and sisters. His high school friends see him as genuine—not putting on airs.
“His love for others is not contrived, but natural,” explains DeWayne Boyer, religion teacher. “He’s not been at Spencerville Adventist Academy for long, but he’s earned admiration from his classmates and seeks to instill in others the same passion he has to reach out and touch a hurting world.”

At Blue Mountain Academy in Hamburg, Pa., the award went to graduating senior Maile Hoffman. “Maile is one of the most outgoing and caring students that I have had the privilege to work with,” comments Cory Enochs, Student Association sponsor. “As Student Association president, I have watched her grow into a great leader among her peers. She is a very important part as to how our student body views caring for one another. We are honored to recognize her for this award.”

Sydney Huffman from Richmond Academy in Richmond, Va., also received the Caring Heart Award.

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