Pittsburg teacher Mary Alexander has been named the local winner of this year's Smart/Maher VFW Citizenship Education Teacher Award.

The Marina Vista Elementary instructor was chosen from entries submitted to VFW Post 1525 and its Ladies Auxiliary.

Alexander will be honored at the groups' annual Christmas luncheon.

Alexander, who teachers third grade, now competes for the state's VFW Teacher of the Year.

That winner moves on to the national level.

According to the news release, Alexander was selected by the local VFW Post "largely because of her dedication to veterans and the involvement of her pupils in the creation of Quilts of Valor for returning injured veterans.

"The VFW appreciates Mrs. Alexander and every teacher who participates in the program. Their commitment to teach good citizenship to their students will greatly benefit our communities as these students grow into involved adults."

In its 15th year, the award gives three national recipients a $1,000 donation to their individual professional development account and another $1,000 to their school, as well as an all-expense-paid trip to attend the VFW National Convention in July to receive their award.

During the nationwide competition, the VFW recognizes more than 1,400 teachers at various levels, presenting more than $253,000 in awards.

Founded in 1899 and chartered by Congress in 1936, the VFW is a nonprofit veterans' service organization composed of combat veterans and eligible military service members from the active, Guard and Reserve forces.

For more information, visit www.vfw.org.

GObBLE FOR THE GOOD: Antioch High is known for its team spirit, and it certainly showed it during the recent holiday.

All staff -- from administrators to teachers to custodial to the support team -- donated money to help its most in-need students get a Thanksgiving meal.

Just over $900 was collected, and thanks to a $100 gift card donated by Safeway, 20 families received a full Thanksgiving dinner.

This is the second year the Antioch High crew has gathered funds to help students and their families for the November holiday.

"I know our teachers and staff want to do everything possible to support students," said Vice Principal Lindsay Wisely, who helped spearhead the drive.

"The generosity was amazing and is a true testament to what amazing educators we have.

"All staff members supported the Thanksgiving Give ... Everyone got involved."

Wisely said the staff hopes to help again soon.

"It's a sacrifice for everyone ...

"However, we know that holiday breaks can put stress on our students and anything that can be done to show our support we want to do that."

If you interested in helping, call Wisely at 925-779-7550.

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