The Antioch Creek overflow area is a whole lot cleaner thanks to a concerned group of students and teachers.

The Eco-Cats, Antioch High's environmental cleanup team, recently visited the trash-ridden area and worked some magic.

"I was thrilled the students learned where the random garbage that gets (incorrectly) dumps ends up," said Scott Lewis, resource specialist with the school's Environmental Studies Academy.

"Some were a little reluctant to get muddy but once they saw (the need), they dove in with fervor to help," Lewis said of the 18 participating students.

The event was to provide community service time to students and "to make them aware of the enormous amounts of garbage that ends up in our waterways in the hopes that they will share (their experience).

"We were all astounded at the sheer volume of garbage and even more (at finding) an old television, tires, (multitude) plastic bags and bottles, and so much more on the banks of our river."

AHS instructor Rick Barton leads this enviro academy. It features fellow teachers Lewis, Kristen Morey, Shira Sweitzer and Harold Henderson. The Eco-Cats have been around for two years as a small learning community and has morphed into this academy, which is in its first year.

"Our team is incredible, and committed to encouraging our students to take an active role in learning about and protecting our environment," Lewis said. "We truly believe we have a responsibility to promote a healthy environment." Lewis urges residents to "reuse, recycle and dispose of garbage properly. Every time it rains, more and more garbage ends up there." For more info and how to help, call email ScottLewis@antioch.k12.ca.us


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POETRY IN MOTION: Independence High recently held its fifth annual Poetry Out Loud competition. Ten participating Brentwood students memorized, interpreted and recited poems.

First-place winner Amata Abatcha delivered Emily Dickinson's "I Felt a Funeral in my Brain," earning $100. Katherine Buffum took second and $75, while Keana Blomquist placed third and $50. According to the news release, Independence principal Colleen Sanchez praised the entire "group's talents, commitment and initiative in taking on the challenge of poetry recitation." Also hitting the poetry trail was Antioch's Deer Valley High in its sixth year.

Led by teacher Pandora Bethea, 15 students shared their renditions of works by famous poets.

First prize and $100 went to senior Christine Osiuhwu for her "amazing recitation of 'Father, Son and Holy Ghost' (by Audre Lorde)," Bethea said.

Jada Malone ("The Kiss by Robert Graves) took second prize and Marlon Santos ("Dirge Without Music" by Edna St. Vincent Millay) snagged third place. The two won a Barnes and Noble gift card.

In 2010, DV produced the state's third-place winner in Cheryl Evans.

The two area winners now move to the county level later this month with hopes of heading to the state contest.

Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation contest conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.

CRAB CLASSIC: Dallas Ranch Middle hosts its fourth annual crab feed from 6-10 p.m. March 2 at Antioch Community Center, 4701 Lone Tree Way in Antioch. The all-you-can-eat crab event features beer, wine, a coffee bar, a dessert auction and prize drawings. Cost is $45; $20 for under 14. All proceeds benefit the supply budget for the Antioch school. For more info or to donate, call 925-778-6632 or 925-642-1500.

If you have school news to share, contact Trine Gallegos at trineg@att.net. You can also reach Judith Prieve at jprieve@bayareanewsgroup.com.