CORRECTION (Published Brentwood News, 5/23/2014)

An item in the School Bell column on Black Diamond Middle School's spirit day incorrectly reported the first name of Antioch City Councilwoman Monica Wilson.

The Showcase of the Schools is set for May 21, and with it comes an opportunity for the community to see progressive works from students in the Antioch Unified School District.

Dr. Sean K. Wright of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce said in an email the goal is to "educate business and leaders about the exceptional programs offered in our community by having them actually talk to and interact with the students who benefit from these phenomenal programs."

Organizers also hope to "inspire these business and community leaders to help our students gain work-based learning opportunities."

The event's keynote speaker is Superintendent Donald Gill. Also on hand will be teachers, academy students and work-based learning coordinators from Antioch, Deer Valley and Dozier-Libbey high schools.

The hope is to make connections between community leaders and members. There will be two ways to attend the event: Purchase a $20 ticket or make a commitment to volunteer two hours for a school. In addition, the East County Business Education Alliance is accepting event sponsorship, ranging from $500 to $2,500.

The event runs 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at 4701 Lone Tree Way in Antioch. For more information, email or or call 925-550-8026. Register at

MONEY TALK: Freedom High recently learned the importance of a budget -- and keeping to it.

According to a news release, more than 70 of the Oakley students attended Bite of Reality, an interactive financial education program designed to "teach them how to manage money responsibly." The program was hosted by Delta Schools Federal Credit Union and the Richard Myles Johnson Foundation. The two partners helped highlight the importance of financial literacy.

The event teaches the basics of personal finance by simulating a real world situation requiring the students to make challenging financial decisions. Students were given a fictional identity, complete with occupation, salary, spouse, children, student loan debt, credit card debt, etc. They had to provide for their family's needs for a month but live within the fictional budget, writing checks for purchases and tracking their balance.

Many students ran out of money halfway through the exercise and had to visit a financial counselor, who explained the "difference between needs and wants."

"Kids are expensive," one student said. That "bite of reality" is exactly what event coordinators hope young people take from the event.

"I thought it was an incredibly successful event, and I am hopeful we can offer this experience to our entire freshman class in the coming years," said Erik Faulkner, Freedom principal.

PRETTY, NICE: Nearly 460 people swarmed Park Middle as part of the Comcast Cares Day on April 26.

The Antioch campus was one of only 16 in California scoring this big give, and the only recipient from Contra Costa County. The event is the company's annual day of service, when the employees and their families and friends "partner with local organizations on projects that benefit the communities where they live and work."

"We were all very excited about having Comcast Cares come to our school," said John Jimno, Park's principal. "It is first an honor to be chosen and humbling to have so many community members advocating for our school."

Jimno, a former Park student himself, thanked the eager and energetic crowd. Also on hand that day were Mayor Wade Harper, school board President Joy Motts, board member Diane Gibson-Gray and Councilwoman Monica Wilson.

A big portion of the work was done to the sixth-grade area. The to-do list included weeding, graveling dirt walking strips and the bike area, flower planting and sprucing up the nearby courtyard.

In addition, a huge storage room on the other side of the campus was cleared out, and two gardens were cleaned up with new planters installed in them. And some major pruning and clearing out was done to the large sloping area that hugs the back side of the school.

The principal and staff were thrilled about getting the Comcast Cares treatment, knowing it will give the nearly 1,000 students a sense of pride in their school.

For Jimno, just as important as the beautification was the outpouring of support. Among the huge crowd were staffers, students and their families.

GOOD NEWS: Black Diamond Middle School has found a lot to celebrate in recent weeks, including its first Honor Roll Dinner Gala on April 14 and a recent spirit day with the city and other dignitaries.

Hosted by the newly formed BDMS Parent Teacher Student Organization at Golden Hills Community Church, the gala was held to encourage and reward students who earned a 3.5 GPA or higher for the third quarter. The event, which featured a catered Italian dinner for students and their families, was held in two sessions as more than 200 students qualified for the honor. Following dinner, all the honorees were presented with medals.

On April 30, the celebrations continued with a spirit day honoring teachers, staff and students. Joining in were Antioch Mayor Wade Harper, police Chief Allan Cantando, AUSD board President Joy Motts, City Manager Steve Duran, AUSD board member Barbara Cowan, APD Commissioner Bill Cook, City Councilwoman Monica Wilson and Assemblyman Jim Frazier. After the rally, everyone was treated to pizza.

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