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I feel seen here

Updated: Jun 30

"I feel seen here..." - PAA student

It was only days before the first day of school of Gloria’s* sophomore year. She wanted so badly to attend Portland Adventist Academy, but she still faced a major hurdle – funding school costs. (*Not her real name)

     “At this point, my attitude was, ‘I’m going to PAA, there’s gotta be a way.’ I kept praying and asking God if there’s still a way” to be at PAA.

     A year earlier, before her freshman year, Gloria had asked her parents if she could attend PAA. But there was just no way they could afford it.

Gloria long had a desire to go to PAA because of friends and relatives who had attended, and having worshiped at an Adventist church all her life.

     “I have friends who had gone to PAA, and they told me it’s a really good community,” she said.

     Gloria’s pastor invited her to join a group from their church visiting PAA and took a tour of the school.

     When she got home, she told her mother, a PAA alum, about her visit. “I told her I liked the school, the teachers I met were really nice, they were welcoming,” she said, “so I was excited to learn more about attending school there.” But the doors didn’t open for her that school year.

     Just adding to her determination was meeting more PAA teachers and students when a friend took her to PAA’s spring banquet. A few weeks later she went to the spring music concert and met music director Dr. John Carter, further fueling her desire to attend PAA and join choir and band.

     But still, Gloria’s parents resisted. Paying for tuition was just too big a barrier.

     Still firm in her longing to attend PAA her sophomore year, she created a slide show for her parents stating all the reasons she should go to PAA. And they still said ‘no’ with their own reasons.

     Gloria had wanted more of the spiritual environment she saw her friends had at PAA. She wanted a deeper spiritual experience with a community of her peers.

     In spite of her parents’ resistance, she was still unwavering. If I can find a way to make it possible, such as solving the funding problem, she thought, perhaps then they would let me attend.

     That’s when she prayed, asking God for a way to attend PAA.

     Gloria then turned to her pastor. What could she do? she asked.

     The first piece came from PAA. Thankfully Gloria’s family qualified to receive student scholarship funding from PAA, but that didn’t cover all the costs.

     Next was an award from the Partnering for Eternity scholarship program for Adventist schools, which provided 70% of a scholarship partnered with the school providing the remaining 30%.

     But there was still a gap. And she was still determined to go to PAA.

     Again with help from her pastor and her aunt, who was a member of her church, she crafted a message to take the huge leap of asking her church family for help. And people responded!

     All the effort paid off! Just in time! “I think I signed up the day before school started,” she said.

     How many more students are a Gloria, who desire the opportunity to attend PAA, yet don’t have the means?

     Would you consider making a gift to the PAA Student Scholarship (PAASS) Fund to help another student like Gloria attend PAA?

     How has attending PAA changed Gloria’s life?

     At her previous high school of 4,000, “I just felt like a number,” just one of so many.

     “But here, I don’t feel that,” she said. I feel seen here. The staff really tries to build connections with students, they really try to build that personal relationship” as part of the PAA community.

     And unlike her previous high school, Gloria says PAA is a place you can ask someone if they’re having a bad day, and you can support and pray with them.

     Because of this newfound sense of community, Gloria is willing to take risks that help her grow.

     Admittedly someone who’s been quiet and reserved, she’s making efforts “to put myself out there” by taking Drama Class this past year. And next year she’s taken on more visible leadership roles, such as getting on stage to regularly lead announcements for the whole school.

     She’s grateful especially for Bible class, where she’s been able to question, explore and find answers to questions she’s had about her faith.

     Perhaps the most significant testament is her father’s reaction, who grew up in a home that had no connection with a church or religion. He feared she would become judgmental of him.

     “I talked to him about it the other day. He said, ‘This school has grown you. You’re confident in your beliefs and you’re not afraid to show them, but you still love others and respect their opinions.’”

     As you might imagine, Gloria’s situation really isn’t all that unusual for many students who attend Adventist schools.

     Please consider giving to help another student like Gloria experience life-changing love and community at PAA. You may give securely online at

     Thank you in advance for your kind consideration.

     Your gift supports all the work here at PAA for students. Thank you for providing a way for students to experience the loving, life-changing community at PAA.

     Consider making a long-lasting impact by giving a monthly gift that adds up over time. It's easy! Set it up once, and you're good to go. Learn more here:

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