In a fitting move, the Martin Luther King Jr. Junior High recently jumped into a day of community service in honor of the Nobel Peace prize winner.

Held around King's birthday, the Pittsburg school hosted Voices of the Community, which featured inspirational messages and activities.

Coordinated by school staff, the cleanup event featured about 85 students.

Principal Angela Stevens-Stevenson said the big focus was on picking up trash in a nearby ravine.

"Students collected a full truckload of debris, five shopping carts and several other larger items," she said. "We were extremely proud of the students. Their enthusiasm was an inspiration to all involved."

Stevens-Stevenson said she's grateful to the participants and to those who helped make it possible, including the city's Don Buchanan, police officer Nicolas Law and teacher Belinda Burns.

In addition, history students contributed to the MLK Inspirational Messages Wall with the sentence starter was "I Have a Dream."

READ IT & REAP: Laurel Elementary students were recently treated to the writing talents of Jeff Savage.

The award-winning author has written more than 170 books, most of them biographies of athletes.

Librarian Laurie Seeno said his message to the Oakley students was "filled with tales of his encounters with famous athletes."

Among the stories, he shared tales of major league pitcher Jim Abbott, Olympic gold-medal skater Kristi Yamaguchi and X Games superstar Travis Pastrana.

Caden Lewis, fifth-grader, told Seeno he really liked the event.

"I liked the way he answered our questions and he was really humorous," Lewis said.

Savage hosted two assemblies, encouraging students to set goals and strive to reach them. He explained that his writings involve a lot of research. "All that means is that you are going to learn stuff," he said.

After the two assemblies, the author visited the four fifth-grade classes to further discuss his writing process. He finished up the day autographing books. The event was sponsored by the school's PTA. For more information, visit www.jeffsavage.com/

HELPING THE CAUSE: With graduation just four months away, Deer Valley is stepping up its fundraising efforts for its annual Grad Night.

The Antioch school's committee hosts a garage sale from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 23 at 5062 Carbondale Way in Antioch. Next up: a carwash from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 10 at Brentwood's Les Schwab Tires at 6361 Lone Tree Way, and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. March 10, Carino's Italian restaurant (5799 Lone Tree Way in Antioch) will share a portion of its sales to the school.

For more information and how to help with Grad Night, call 925-706-5555.

HIT THE STAGE: Deer Valley hosts its student talent show at 7 p.m. Feb. 28 in the Antioch school's theater, 4700 Lone Tree Way. Community leaders will judge the performers and pick the top three acts. Tickets are $5. For more information, call 925-706-5555.

PITCHING IN: The California Retired Teachers Association recently gave $100 to two Liberty High teachers.

Celebrating its 50th year of helping, the Diablo Vista Division 52 boasts nearly 1,100 members.

Sticking with their passion, the group last year started the Save Our Schools program, which chooses schools that "may benefit by extra funds to classroom teachers," member Lorrie Osborn said. "We recognize many teachers pay for supplies."

During each meeting, two teachers' names are randomly drawn for $50 each. In addition to Liberty, the group also recently gave money to teachers from Antioch Middle School and Pittsburg's Stoneman elementary among others. More schools will be chosen in the spring.

Money for the SOS program is from member contributions. The group also donates thousands of hours in the community and awards scholarships to area community college students.

"Last year, we gave eight $5,000 scholarships," Osborn said.

In addition to helping classroom teachers, the organization supports legislation to benefit students and teachers, provides retired teachers with resources and offers travel opportunities. For more information, call 925-687-5246 or visit www.div52.calrta.org.

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