It's not uncommon for former students to visit their elementary schools.

What's not so common is for that student to be a published author.

Turner Elementary recently hosted Ryan McKinley, who returned to the Antioch campus after some 25 years to talk with staff and students.

To set the wheels in motion for the big visit, McKinley sent Principal Sue Ten Eyck a package of books, pins and books titled "The Pirate Bride" last spring.

An accompanying letter explained he was a Turner student, and that "his joy for writing began when he wrote his first book in fourth grade."

Ten Eyck called McKinley called to thank him for the "treasures," and invited the now Oklahoma resident to visit his former campus.

So, visit McKinley did.

He led two assemblies and several classroom presentations throughout his daylong visit. And, McKinley was even on the receiving end of a visit. Retired instructor Paulette Carson, his kindergarten teacher, stopped by to say hello.

McKinley's presentation included a slideshow of his Turner days, and via video introduced the students to his daughter, Anna — "the inspiration and idea person" for his book. He explained that while walking with his then 7-year-old daughter she shared her idea for "The Pirate Bride." The author talked to the students about having wishes and dreams, and how they can realize their "own through lots of hard work and perseverance," Ten Eyck said.


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"He took the time to sign books," Ten Eyck said. "It was an informative, inspirational and educational day for all students." Everyone was even given a sneak peek at McKinley's newest book, "The Lost Crew," due out later this month.

SCOUTING IT OUT: Cub Scout Pack No. 1155 has been busy helping out Loma Vista Elementary spruce up its campus.

The Brentwood school has recently been the recipient of the troop's projects, including painting the ball walls a festive purple paint, which was donated by Sherwin Williams and Ace Painting Service Inc. The boys and their families have more to offer the school soon. On the list: painting benches, a picnic table and tether ball poles.

BIG BAND MOVES: Deer Valley's marching band recently walked away with some solid competition prizes.

The Antioch school's band, led by Larry Widener, took first place in its division at the Franklin Invitational Band Review in Elk Grove. Drum Major Zach Spaulding placed second overall. Then at the Santa Cruz Band Review, Spaulding snagged a first-place award in the Drum Major Mace Category.

If you have school news to share, contact Trine Gallegos at trineg@att.net. You can also reach Judith Prieve at jprieve@bayareanewsgroup.com.