MUSIC TO THEIR EARS: Steven Ernest was happy with a recent performance of his Heritage High Jazz Ensemble's performance. But the bonus of having three guest artists made it extra exciting.

During a recent show, the Brentwood school musicians had the chance to play along with Wayne Gross on tenor saxophone, Nate Lopez on 8-string guitar and Nioshi Jackson on drums. Jackson produces music and works as a professional musician in Nashville.

"Each of the guest artists was featured on several tunes with the HHS ensemble in the first half of the concert," Ernest said, while the second half "focused on a small group playing with (them)."

The concert was the start of a campaign to raise money for a soprano saxophone for the instrumental music department.

For more information or how to donate, call 925-634-0037.

BEAUTIFY TIME: Marsh Elementary is a bit tidier thanks to a group of students, families and staff. The Antioch school recently held a beautification day in conjunction with the 180 Degrees youth program. Teacher Michelle Reece, who runs the program, decided to spruce up the campus as part of the community service portion of 180 Degrees.

According to fellow teacher Roxane Johnigan, students and families came out and helped plant flowers, paint the ball walls and spruce up the kindergarten yard.

"Our students were so excited to be able to help make Marsh 'beautiful,' " Johnigan said. "One of my students, who talked about how not just students but also adults came to help, said he was happy to know that other people care about our school."

Her fourth-grade class took a tour of the school to see all the work, and then wrote about the changes and "how it made them feel."

THEY REALLY CLEANED UP: The Keep Antioch Beautiful event not only spruced up the city but helped several Antioch schools rack in some green.

The fifth annual event, created by Martha Parsons, encouraged residents to help clean up and provided incentives for schools to earn money. Those with the most participants earned monetary prizes.

This year's event featured more than 200 volunteers picking up more than 4.5 tons of litter and illegal dumping in the community.

During a recent City Council meeting, the following schools were recognized for their work. First place received $500, second place earned $300, and third place got $200.

Winners in the high school category were Deer Valley, first, and Antioch High, second. Middle school recipients were Black Diamond, first; Dallas Ranch, second; and Antioch Middle, third. For elementary, Turner, first; Antioch Charter Academy, second; and Antioch Charter Academy II and John Muir tied for third.

LMC SCHOLARS: Among the many Los Medanos College grads, at least two made a mark.

Antioch's Kellie McCown was named a semifinalist in the Next Generation, a statewide media competition sponsored by the Entertainment Industry Council.

The competition received more than 100 proposal submissions, with only 12 semifinalists making the cut. The final 12, with their initial proposal in hand, had the opportunity to work with a team of professional mentors.

According to a news release, while McCown didn't take a top prize, she said it was an amazing experience.

McGown is set to transfer to Sacramento State University in the fall, and plans to major in journalism.

In other good news, LMC student Janis Hatchl was one of 85 grads to receive an undergraduate transfer scholarship.

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation narrowed the field from 3,705 applications representing 737 community colleges from 48 states, two U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.

According to a news release, the Cooke Foundation is the largest private scholarship for community college transfer students in the country. Scholars were selected based on "high academic ability and achievements, persistence, leadership and financial need."

The average GPA of the incoming class is 3.98.

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