Today we are bringing you stories from Sacramento and Rio Lindo Adventist academies in California (SAA and RLAA). SAA students focused on a year of selflessness and gained the many benefits of music education. RLAA students served in Hawaii on a mission trip and continued a 60-year tradition.
Sacramento Adventist Academy
High School Drive Day
This year, SAA’s theme was “More than Me.” The goal is to encourage students to look beyond self and realize there is a whole world out there that needs help, encouragement, and love. It’s easy for students to focus on self-gratification and their wants and needs. To help foster an environment of selflessness and to help grow kids into giving and loving members of society, this theme of “More than Me” became the focus.
To help meet that goal and live out this theme, Campus Ministries coordinated a Service Day for all SAA high school students. Various groups served in the community at several locations, including helping at WEAVE thrift store (which supports domestic violence victims), visiting and providing music for Walnut House Senior Living, cleaning up a local park, packing bags of blessings and delivering them to the homeless in downtown Sacramento, and more.
It's a blessing to see the youth of the Pacific Union engaging in acts of service and love, and we couldn’t be prouder to see them actualizing their theme!
Music at SAA
It’s well known that music education is overwhelmingly beneficial to the growth and development of students. Music sparks a student’s creativity, which encourages their vivid imagination. Additionally, learning music expands language and vocabulary, increases self-confidence, helps self-discipline, develops motor skills, improves listening skills, and more!
At SAA, under the direction of Nina Negretti, the K-8 music director, students are being fully immersed in the fun and benefits of music. During the month of May, both elementary and middle school students performed musicals! Grades K-5 presented “Summer Camp” a musical about the wackiest summer camp experience you could ever wish for—where one musical camper finds a place to belong. Sixth- through eighth-grade students staged the beloved classic “Mary Poppins.” Both groups performed for students, parents, and the community. What a great experience for these students!
Rio Lindo Adventist Academy
RLAA Students Serve in Hawaii
Painting pews in an outdoor church, orchid tending with a shut-in “auntie,” helping to build a treehouse for kids, and helping with other local projects: these weren’t even the biggest blessings received by students and chaperones on RLAA’s spring break mission trip to Hawaii. Practicing communication skills, working hard, and living in a whole new culture are not foreign concepts to the boarding school students, but this trip provided the opportunity to practice what they’ve learned at Rio Lindo this year.
The best part of the trip, according to Zaylee Vazquez (a sophomore at RLAA), is that she got to know many more RLAA students, “There were people on our trip that I never really even spoke to at school—I didn’t have any classes with them and didn’t really hang out with them because they weren’t in my grade. But on this mission trip, we worked together on the projects, and we got to know the Rio people. I saw friendships start on that trip that are still going, even way after the trip.”
In total, 30 students participated in this trip. Principal Lepulu said that the true blessing of the mission trip was “seeing our kids get closer to Jesus as they talked about their own experience with Him. Hearing them share their testimonies with people they were sent to help with a project was really rewarding—because our ultimate goal as a school is for them to know Jesus!”
Canoe Trip for Rio Lindo Students
For the past 60 years, it’s been an RLAA tradition to take the entire school to the Russian River for canoeing! It’s a bittersweet moment, because this is when RLAA "launches" almost a quarter of its students as graduates to take what they've learned at Rio Lindo out into the world. A great indicator of the growth of these seniors—the ones most experienced with canoe day and running the river—was seen as they helped the freshman figure out how to paddle, showed them how to steer clear of the rapid parts of the river and the hidden rocks, and beached their kayaks and canoes to help look for the phone that was lost when a boat flipped.
These students are the fruit of Adventist education at its best. They independently navigated a river for almost three hours—most in their own kayak—leaning back confidently to look at the sky, watch the birds, and experience a nature that, after they leave, many won't have access to for the summer. These are students from all over the world—China, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, and Haiti—whom parents dropped off 10 months ago, asking RLAA to take good care of them. RLAA is now sending them back to their communities—confident, independent, mission- and service-minded, and with an increased awareness and love of God.