A CUT ABOVE: No one can say Ray Witte isn't a man of his word.

The principal of Old River Elementary told his Brentwood students if they made $5,000 in sales during the school's recent catalog fundraiser, he'd sport a green-and-yellow Mohawk. As top seller, student Jenna Harrison won the honors of shaving Witte's head during an assembly earlier this month. She was assisted by Deidre Hachmann, chair of the fundraiser. Proceeds from the fundraiser were applied to the ongoing "Save Old River" fund, which is helping keep the Brentwood school open despite drastic state budget cuts. For more info on contributing to the trust, call 925-626-3304.

HARD AT WORK: Trevor Pels was recently recognized by the LUHSD Board of Trustees for earning several accolades at Freedom High School, from a perfect score on the ACT Exam to becoming president of Freedom's National Honor Society. The Oakley school senior participates in the Interact and BETA clubs, and on Challenge Day committed himself to becoming a positive change agent for students. Trevor was also on the varsity swimming and water polo teams.

But, that's not all. Trevor also volunteers as a cabin leader at O'Hara Park Middle School's Outdoor Education Program, is in four Advanced Placement courses and is studying for two additional AP courses on his own in hopes of attending Stanford University after graduation. For fun, Trevor enjoys reading and writing, especially creative writing, novels and plays.

ACTIVE FOR AUTISM: Dozier-Libbey Medical High recently participated in National HOSA week with a number of activities, including spreading awareness of its national service project, Autism Speaks. Also on the five-day event list was participation in a countywide shelter in place disaster drill and taking the blood pressure of students and staff. DLMHS HOSA will be recognized at the Cal-HOSA State Leadership Convention in March for all this work. For more info, call 925-779-7540.

DOGGONE GOOD: Carmen Dragon Elementary has a new pet project. Through Dec. 11, the Antioch school is gathering donations of old towels, blankets, pet toys and pet food to give to the Antioch Animal Shelter. Assistant librarian Barbara Blacker is heading up the community outreach project for the second year, working with Student Council to promote it. Says Didi Del Chiaro, principal: "The entire school is involved, in the sense that we are raising everyone's awareness about shelters for animals and the needs that they have."

She adds that "this kind of drive is more successful than some because everyone can contribute something." She notes that the school is also shooting for the larger concept "of raising overall awareness and giving for the sake of giving." For more information or how to help, call 925- 776-4760, ext. 1300.

BREAKFAST OF CHAMPS: Dallas Ranch Middle School held a recognition breakfast for the two top classes that participated in its Safe Routes to School Program, which promoted National Walk and Bicycle to School day. The Antioch students were asked to pledge to walk/bike to school during October. More than 135 took the pledge and then kept a monthlong diary of their walks/biking. To organize the program, Dallas Ranch worked with 511 Contra Costa, a public organization that works to promote clean air transportation options. This is the first year Dallas was involved in this program.

"We had lots of participation from our DRMS students and staff," says Joy Motl, school administrator. "And, what a fun time we had celebrating the classes that had the most participation."

The 40 students from Channelle Criqui and Nicole Salice's homeroom students enjoyed a healthy breakfast with the school's administration and guests, including school board members Diane Gibson-Gray and Wade Harper. And, prizes added to the festivities with Rhyan Jacobs Fulcher, a seventh-grader, winning the certificate for a new bike, while the two teachers received gift cards to benefit their classes. In addition, 30 of the participants received Barnes & Noble gift cards. Principal Bob Sanchez reinforced the importance of walking and bicycling to school during the breakfast celebration.

According to Matt Wood of 511 Contra Costa, the goal of the program is to "decrease the number of cars driving to school, improve air quality and increase the health of the students through physical activity."

For more information about the program, call 925-706-4491.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS: Gehringer Elementary hosts its annual Winter Social from 6-8 p.m. Dec. 10 at 100 Simoni Ranch Road in Oakley. The community event features face tattoos, a Santa letter-writing area, free holiday crafts and ornaments, candy grams and entertainment by the Oakley Unified Chorus. Cost is $5 for the pizza and salad dinner, and $2 for a picture with Santa. Only 200 tickets are available and must be purchased by Dec. 7. For a free raffle ticket, bring a nonperishable food item to the social for the Lions Club's Gift Basket program. For more information, call 925-625-7070.

School Bell is compiled by Trine Gallegos. If you have news you'd like to share in the column, e-mail her at trineg@att.net. You can also reach Judith Prieve at jprieve@bayareanewsgroup.com.