They only sang one song, and still walked away with a return engagement date.

"The kids were amazing," said a proud Mark Morello about his choir's performance of the national anthem at a recent Sacramento Kings basketball game.

"We had 32 singers and they did an outstanding job."

The Bristow Middle School group and its choir director spent the day at the Sleep Train Arena, going courtside early in the day to practice.

They rehearsed the song before the huge crowd filed in, had lunch and then readied for their time in the spotlight.

"Through it all, the students handled themselves like professionals. They were so excited to see the players up close in rehearsal and just before the game, and also stand on the court to sing," Morello said.

The teacher said once the spotlight was them, "they knew exactly what to do and performed flawlessly."

Morello loved watching them hit that last big note with huge "smiles on their faces as the crowd of nearly 15,000 started cheering.

"They knew they did a great job."

He said this performance gave them extra confidence as they prepare to sing the anthem again, this time for the Golden State Warriors on March 23.

Morello said the following stuck with him well after the event. "I told one of my students (Abby Jeans) we were sitting way up in the upper deck. 'I don't care where we sit. It was just an honor to sing at a Kings game!' That sums up how special these students are. It'll be something we'll never forget."

HEART SMART: These students are certainly practicing what they preach.

Recently, Antioch's Dozier-Libbey Chapter of HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) partnered with the Contra Costa County Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) to teach hands-only CPR to as many students as possible. Steve Huck, assistant MRC coordinator, and HOSA spearheaded the effort.

Over the course of a week, 281 students learned the vital skill.

Teacher and advisor Cyndi Soraoka said now 536 Dozier-Libbey students "know how to save a life using CPR. That's 86 percent of our student population."

Soraoka said the academy's offered CPR to juniors and seniors for the past year. "This year's partnership with the MRC allowed freshman and sophomores to learn, too."

The teacher is thrilled about this latest accomplishment. "(This) makes me feel (good) for our community that they have these skills."

She added the students are feeling "important that we trust them to take the initiative to use CPR in a life-threatening situation." For more info, call 925-779-7540 ext. 40350.

PLETHORA OF PENNIES: First-grade teachers at Belshaw Elementary wanted to introduce their students to community service and experience the "character trait of caring." Coordinated by teacher Connie Azevedo, the Antioch school raised $255 to donate to St. Jude Children's Hospital.

"We discussed that we all get sick but some children get so sick, they have to go to a hospital a long distance from their homes and stay a long time. Those children miss their beds, their toys, etc. ..."

The Kids Helping Kids project collected spare change during all of February, which "was appropriate since that is the month associated with hearts." And, now at Belshaw, the entire student body is collecting Pennies for Patients, which benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

The campus joins 400 other Bay Area schools helping to raise funds for cancer research. The drive runs through March 22. For more info or how to donate, call 925-779-7495.

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