Laurel Elementary will participate in the city of Oakley's Annual Tree Lighting ceremony on Saturday at Civic Center Plaza, 3231 Main St. The event starts at 5 p.m. with performances by Oakley's district choir, featuring many Laurel students, along with free cocoa and cookies. Included will be a children's craft area and photos with Santa. The lighting takes place about 6:15 p.m. For more information, call 925-625-7090.

HOLIDAY HOOPLA: Freedom High hosts a holiday vendor event from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 14 in the Oakley school's multipurpose room, 1050 Neroly Road. Included will be pictures with Santa, desserts and more than 50 vendors selling a variety of goods. For more information, call 925-625-5900.

But, before that, the school joins forces this Saturday with Heritage and Liberty high schools for a Holiday House Tour. Tickets are $35 and will benefit the Liberty Union High School District Foundation. The event is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., followed by a reception at Brentwood's Trilogy at the Vineyards for a silent auction, raffle and food. For more information, call 925-634-2166 or visit www.educationwins.org.

MAY I HAVE THIS DANCE?: Deer Valley Academy of Performing Arts presents its 15th annual winter dance showcase at 7 p.m. Dec. 13 and at 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 14 in the Antioch school's theater, 4700 Lone Tree Way.


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The event features the school's dance classes, dance team, cheer squads and dance crew. In addition, guests include Dancers Elite, Step 2 This Performing Arts, Delta Ballet Academy, and Opportunity Core.

Tickets are $10 at the door; presages (available at the school) are $8. For more info, call 925-776-5555.

GIVING SEASON: Park Middle recently collected about 1,000 cans of food for area families in need. The Antioch school donated the goods to a local outreach program, which serves Antioch, Bethel Island and Brentwood.

A participant for years, Park's collection were bagged and given out for Thanksgiving. The school also collected turkeys for the Salvation Army. Shelly Lucido, leadership teacher, said the students always rally for the big give.

And, for the first time, all students participated in the "Holiday Mail for Heroes" program. Students were encouraged to write a letter or make a card to send to enlisted soldiers away from home. The debut program went well with more than 300 cards being mailed out.

"I think many of our kids are interested in helping in any way they can," Lucido said. "This was an opportunity to participate in something without any cost. Kids feel good when they are helping and I think many of them have a personal connection to this event in some way."

In other Park news, the school hosts a holiday vendor event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 14 in the multiuse room, 1 Spartan Way off Putnam Avenue. A variety of vendors -- from Mary Kay to Pampered chef to Barefoot Books -- will be hand to help raise money for the school's PTSA, which supports numerous student activities and projects. The day will also include photos with Santa from 10 a.m. to noon, a Toys for Tots drop-off, and a clothes and food drive. A raffle will also be included. For more information, call 925-779-7420.

If you have school news to share, contact Trine Gallegos at trineg@att.net. Note: Trine also does community outreach for Antioch High.