Teresa D'Alfonsi may have lost the bet, but she sure won a lot of wee fans along the way.

At the beginning of the year, the Marsh Creek Elementary principal challenged her students to read 100 million words through the Accelerated Reader program.

The encouragement and possibility of having their principal sitting on the school's roof for the day was apparently a great motivator.

"I could not be more proud of the students for reaching their goal," D'Alfonsi said. "One hundred million words are pretty awesome."

Of course, the Brentwood students won more than the challenge. D'Alfonsi said, "The more students read independently, the stronger their reading skills become."

Because her students met the goal, on a recent school day the principal prepped herself with sunscreen, water and a patio umbrella for the roof-raising party, which left her "stranded" there for five hours.

"What a terrific day. I thought I'd be able to sit on the roof and get some work done, but (because of various events) and lunch, I was standing and waving to students most of the day."

She said the reading goal was set at the beginning of the school year.

Students read books and took quizzes all year, while school librarian Cydni Lopez kept track of the points and motivated them.

On the big day, students, staff and some district staff gathered on the campus. Brentwood Union School District Superintendent Dana Eaton praised the students for their accomplishment and thanked the teachers and aides for their support.


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Said D'Alfonsi: "I told them if you set goals in life and work hard to achieve them, then the rewards will be worth it."

She said that throughout the day students were "just thrilled as they walked by the building, calling my name and waving exuberantly. Almost every minute of the day, groups of students would go by and shout up new cheers of support and appreciation. I was on the roof until the last student left for the day."

CENTER STAGE: A few Brentwood high school stars were aptly featured in the Delta Moon Student Festival.

Held at Walnut Creek's Lesher Center for the Arts, the event is directed by Frank Pappas, Liberty High's video teacher.

In its 14th year, the festival of student works featured a short film by Heritage High students.

Teacher Gus Guardado said, "I felt their work could compete and do well against other student work."

More than just having their film seen, Guardado said the students also "had a genuine feeling of accomplishment."

"It's one thing to hear compliments and praise from their teacher; it's another to get it from unbiased filmmakers. (The festival entries are judged by Pappas' colleagues in the film industry.)

"(It also showed) they truly are meant to continue in this field," he said of "Every Avenue" taking the Best Drama award.

"It proves to them they're on the right track and that with hard work and a little luck, this will be the first of more awards to come."

The students from the winning film were Madisun Marquez (writer/director), Megan Welker (producer), Megan Boyle (director of photography), Kyle Williams and Nina Myers (lead actors) and Johnathan Davis (production, sound).

The night before the big festival, Heritage held its eighth annual Video Showcase, featuring the best from the beginning and advance classes.

The works ranged from public service announcements, commercials, music videos, trailers and short films. In its first sold-out year, the event raised $900 for the department.

For more or how to contribute to the school's video department, email guardadog@libertyuhsd.k12.ca.us.

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