Inspiring Students, and Toothpicks!

April 11, 2023





Today we are bringing you stories from South Bay Christian School (SBCS) and West Covina Hills Adventist School (WCHAS) in California. South Bay students are being inspired through the life of one particular student. Meanwhile, WCHAS students are coming together as older students take younger ones under their wings!


South Bay Christian School

South Bay Student Inspires Hope

In the midst of war and tragedy, there is always hope. One such example is seventh-grade student, Pavlo. Pavlo fled the war-torn country of Ukraine to live with his aunt, uncle, and grandparents. His mother and father remained behind to fight. Tragically, his brother lost his life in the conflict. Despite the immense challenges, this young student has found solace and a sense of purpose at SBCS.

The school provides a supportive and nurturing environment for Pavlo, who is thriving both academically and socially. He is known for his infectious smile and positive attitude, which have made a significant impact on his classmates and teachers. Through his experiences, he’s developed a deep appreciation for the value of education and the importance of community. Pavlo has shown a remarkable ability to persevere and overcome adversity and is an inspiration to all those who know him. 

Pavlo says, "This school is very important for me because this is a Christian school where I can get not only a quality education but also study the Bible, which is very important to me.” 

SBCS is proud to have such a remarkable student as part of its community. His story is a powerful reminder of the resilience of the human spirit and the importance of providing a safe and supportive environment for all students, regardless of their background or circumstances.

West Covina Hills Adventist School

Big Brothers and Sisters

With a student population of 51 students from TK to eighth grade, Don Shelton, principal and teacher at WCHAS, teaches fifth through eighth grade with 24 students. Using quick math, one sees that is roughly half the student body. This gave him the idea of matching each of his fifth- through eighth-grade students with a primary student. 

“I had hoped that the older kids would take it upon themselves to look out for the younger kids, creating a caring ecosystem,” stated Shelton. 

This mindset also led him to seek fun opportunities in which the kids could collaborate. This would satisfy two goals: 

  1. The older kids could experience authentic service beyond their classroom.
  2. The younger kids would have a great example to model themselves after.

These goals, along with some unforeseen positive outcomes, were met when the older students treated five unsuspecting TK/K students to an activity that involved creating a stand-alone building made up entirely of candy and toothpicks. The idea for this collaboration came from WCHAS TK/K teacher. Every student jumped into this activity enthusiastically, and the little ones made friendships and got a big brother or a big sister in the deal!