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The 2021 Caring Heart Award Winner Is . . .

Ulani Brown



Congratulations to Ulani Brown!

Ulani is the kind of person others want to be near. Her infectious laughter energized our hallways throughout her four years here. Her enthusiastic and collaborative spirit led her friends through thick and thin. Her encouragements helped her PAA community get through the pandemic, wildfires, and the loss of normalcy.


Ulani gave her fellow PAA schoolmates sincerity and encouragement through Zoom during virtual Week of Worship.


Many teachers remember that even as a young freshman, Ulani would volunteer to help out with tasks not tied to a grade or reward. It was easy to see, even then, that she had a growing heart for service.  Ulani’s concern and care deepened during mission trips and downtown service projects. Staff members and her fellow students note how naturally she is able to connect with others. When interacting with people living on the streets, she learned to listen to understand their experiences and see past their vulnerabilities. She saw them through the eyes of Jesus and engaged each of them with dignity.


Ulani Brown, All League Honorable Mention


Embracing discomfort is one of Ulani’s spiritual gifts. When a varsity game got tough, Ulani learned from the loss and encouraged her teammates. When the pandemic robbed her classmates of a normal final year of high school, Ulani continued to find the silver linings. When injustices were exposed on a world-wide stage, Ulani spent her emotional energy finding ways she could improve the world. As the world wrestled with the murder of George Floyd, Ulani’s compassion deepened and matured. Embracing moral courage, she stepped outside her comfort zone to focus her final senior project on exposing and understanding racism within the very communities she loves.


Ulani joined her sister Shaiianne Willis-Brown, and aunt Ul’eee Brown, downtown Portland last summer to see memorials dedicated to George Floyd and Black people killed by police. “Seeing it made me passionate about creating change and wanting something more for our world,” says Ulani.


Ulani is driven to “be the change” she wants to see in her school, in her church, and in our world so that others can thrive in a safer and just year. It is her faith in Jesus that restores her courage to live for justice, to love kindness and mercy, and to walk humbly with Jesus. It is Jesus who renews the strength to walk with moral courage and stay true to her convictions.

Ulani graduates from PAA carrying on the Christ-centered and character-driven values her teachers, pastors, and coaches strive to inspire. Her PAA family celebrates Ulani’s morally courageous spirit and her ever-caring heart.


Photo by Julie Natiak /


What is the Caring Heart Award all About? 

The “Caring Heart Award” for Christian service has been established to give recognition to a student who has demonstrated a personal commitment to serving others through academic, social, and spiritual activities and programs.

The education offices at the North American Division and North Pacific Union Conference, upon voting recommendation from teachers and staff at Portland Adventist Academy, annually recognize a PAA student for their outstanding student achievement in the area of Christian service.

The Seventh-day Adventist church and school believe that teaching young people to be actively involved in witnessing and joining service activities is central to the educational goals and mission of the church.

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