“We’re all Lions”—Elevate Alumna Unites Peers

hannah bald“Real adventures, real Christians, doing the real work of God,” high school junior Hannah Baldoz says of her Elevate experience.

During the weeklong summer leadership lab at Gordon last year, Hannah’s team focused on bridging the social gap between international and domestic students—a passion born when a close international friend expressed her difficulty in finding ways to connect with domestic students.

The language barrier and cultural differences, Hannah says, can make it tough for a community to come together as one. But Hannah wanted to make an impact, not only for her friend, but for other students at her school.

“Our differences help us see and approach the world in new ways,” she says. “Differences should unite us, rather than divide us, if we choose to embrace and learn from them.”

Over the past year, Hannah has continued her work as a bridge builder and connector by co-founding a club called “We’re all Lions” at her school, Oaks Christian School (California). “We’re all Lions” builds on the unifying school mascot and mirrors the schoolwide focus on empathy.

Hannah and friends are working to construct an environment where students are encouraged to come together as one in the spirit and the mind, following the charge in Philippians 2:2. “We’re all Lions” meets once a week on campus to share traditions, food and stories, all the while getting to know one another better.

“Elevate was life-changing,” Hannah says. “The most impactful part of the program for me was the community. We bonded over our pursuit of Christ and leadership, and we always had each other’s backs. We worked, we laughed, we learned, we celebrated… Elevate helped me realize the power the Christian community has when they support and pray for each other.”

Extending that experience back to Oaks Christian, Hannah is part of a leadership team that connects middle school and high school students. A varsity lacrosse players and an admission ambassador, Hannah plans to study pre-law in college and continue working to bridge the gap between international and domestic students. Ultimately, she hopes to combine her passion for youth with a desire to advocate for people in need.

“As Christians we are called to go out and serve in the name of Jesus,” Hannah says. “And Elevate equipped us to do just that.”

By Caleb Minns ’20, English language and literature