Byron Delta Lions Club recently held its 76th annual student speaker contest, and Heritage High's Carla Cernat won first place.

The Brentwood sophomore received $75 for her win, and now moves on to the second zone level competition on March 7.

Cernat was chosen for her "informative, articulate and intelligent speech" on the given theme of "How Do We Create and Keep Jobs in America." Other participants were Kevin Avalos, Erin Furnary, Chris Maxwell, Alex Ronning and Nabiha Syeda Zahra, all from Heritage.

Lions Club member Kathy Doty said the five-judge panel had a difficult job picking the winner.

Each year, Lions of California presents a new topic for the state-wide contest, which is open to ninth- to 12th-graders. The contest includes five levels, ultimately earning the top finisher a $10,000 scholarship. The state level competition is set for June 1 in Sacramento.

GLOBE TROTTERS: Since 2009, Pittsburg High has been active in the Global Glimpse program, which gives students experiences abroad to help build educational leadership, said teacher Erick Valenzuela.

"It also helps foster a sense of the global world we live in," Valenzuela said. This summer about 13 students will leave their home and families when they venture to Nicaragua for 21 days.


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The program only accepts juniors, who must be nominated by teachers.

There are three dates to four destinations: Leon, Jinotega, Esteli and Matagalpa. Each student picks a date and destination based on interest, said Valenuelza, who will be traveling to Leon from late July to August.

While the trip is months away, the students have begun fundraising efforts. Although each accepted student receives an $1,800 scholarship from Global Glimpse, a balance of $12,000 remains for the group.

So far, the young travelers have been selling snacks at school and soliciting local businesses, family and friends. More moneymakers are in the works.

Valenzuela is excited about this opportunity for the students.

"I was able to study abroad in college, which really transformed me," he said. "This is exactly why I'm supporting this organization and this group of students."

If interested in donating to the Global Glimpse students, call 925-473-2390 or email evalenzuela@pittsburg.k12.ca.us. Tax-deductible checks may be made to the Global Glimpse Club.

THE LATEST BUZZ: Lone Tree Elementary School recently held semi-finals for its sixth annual spelling bee.

Aizaiah Laxamana took first place, and now moves on to the regional level, set for March 23 in Walnut Creek. Victoria Williams placed second and Jes Vincent Ballesteros was third.

The other finishers were: Aizenosa Aunaghise, Alicia Anyanwu, Joviance Cen, Andy Corning, Solee Guinto, Ahmarii Hil, John Portillo, Maakiah Sanders, Danika Saucelo, Daphne Saucelo, Noelle Smith, Makaia Villagas and Samuel White.

WASTE NOT, WANT NOT: Clean out your space and help a school by ditching outdated and unwanted e-waste. The LUHSD ED Foundation hosts an e-water recycle event from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 2 at the Streets of Brentwood shopping center, Sand Creek Road at the Highway 4 bypass.

While the event is free, cash donations are welcome. Accepted items include monitors, televisions, computers, hard drives, computer peripherals, laptops, DVD players, VCRs, printers, scanners, FAX/copy/answering machines, servers, radios, stereos, recorders, phonographs, circuit boards, CDs/videos/cassettes, CD players, calculators, power supplies, connectors/cables, telecommunications equipment, main frames, peripherals, all consumer electronics and minor appliances. Batteries and light bulbs are not accepted.

The ED Foundation is a community-based organized to benefit students of the Liberty high district. For more information, visit www.educationwins.org.

POET PLACERS: Two East County participants recently placed in the county Poetry Out Loud contest.

Joshua Herman, a Monte Vista High senior, took first place in the county level and goes on to compete in the state contest against 33 other students later this month.

Runners-up were senior Christine Osiuwhu from Antioch's Deer Valley High and sophomore Amata Abatcha from Brentwood's Independence High. Osiuhwu performed "Father, Son and Holy Ghost" (by Audre Lorde), while Abatcha delivered Emily Dickinson's "I felt a Funeral in my Brain."

The three were among thousands of students from across the state to participate in the national recitation contest, a program started by the national Endowment for the Arts and run by the California Arts Council and locally by the Arts & Culture Commission of Contra Costa County.

For more info, visit www.poetryoutloud.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.