Kelly Hunt definitely knows how to talk the talk. The Heritage High sophomore snagged the top award during the 77th Annual Lions Student Speakers Contest, sponsored by Byron Delta Lions Club. The student, along with finalists and fellow Heritage students Ava Alvarez, Jacob Janzen, Chiedu Meta, Paul Ramirez and Allison Rohlfs, was coached and sponsored by Tacy Heath, their English teacher.

Friends, family and community members cheered Hunt on during the big event at Excelsior Middle School. Judges were Joel Bryant, Brentwood vice mayor; Dr. Debbie Burnette, Byron school district superintendent; Jack Gaughan, Brentwood Citizen of the Year; Ann Guinn, retired Poway school district superintendent; Greg Hullen, toastmaster and business owner; and Dr. Don Huntington, magazine editor.

This year's topic was "Community Service -- What Does it Mean and Why Does it Matter?" According to the news release, the program "provides an opportunity for competitive public speaking among students on a subject of vital interest to the contestants and to the American people as a whole. It is an opportunity for students to hone their skills while learning to appreciate how helping others helps change their own lives for the better." Each of the students presented an "exciting and innovative speech with great ideas about community service." Darla Cavallaro, club president, said: "These students are making a difference in our community and are role models for us all." All student participants received a cash award and certificate of appreciation.


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As the winner, Hunt moves on to the Zone Level on March 11 at Brentwood's Independence High School. From there, winners may continue to the final level with the chance to win up to $21,000 in scholarships. For more information, email ellen1010@comcast.net.

ANOTHER BRITISH INVASION: Heritage High brings the Tony-award winning "Spamalot" to the Brentwood school at 7 p.m. Feb. 28, March 1, 6-8 and 13-14, and at 1 p.m. March 15 at 101 American Ave. Tickets are $18 for general admission; $12 for students and children. Heritage High's drama department and its musicians have been producing sold-out shows for the past three years, with award-winning results. For tickets and more info, visit hhsrisingstars.com.

IDOL WORSHIP: The 11th annual Liberty Idol competition was held recently. The entertainingly popular event not only showcases some of the Brentwood's school top talents but also doubles as a fundraiser. This year, the school's Leadership Class helped raised more than $2,250 for the Shepherd's Gate, a local nonprofit that provides support services to women and their children.

Freshman Cruz Conde took the top talent prize for his renditions of "Say Something" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water." Summer Rodriguez, director of student activities, said the support of community helped make the event a success. Supporters included Brentwood Florists & Gifts, Rubio's Restaurant, Dino's Sandwich Shop, Harvest Park Bowl, Game Sports Pub N Pizza and an array of student-and-staff assistance. Also lending assistance were Frank Pappas, Liberty Film Alliance, Christopher Carey, Laura Mack, Theresa Pool, Jimmy Williamson, Mikayla Bone, Christian Castillo, Jason Harpole, Emma Holmes, Rachel Kennealy, Connor Martin, Hugh Patterson, Tayler Rodarte, Jordan Stanton, Sara Branstetter, Ilene Foster, Sandra Guardado, Kevin Morris, Wendy Thigpen and Principal Pat Walsh.

"For (more than) a decade, Liberty Leadership has been able to support local trust funds and charities as a result of the support of the Brentwood community," Rodriguez said.

In addition, Leadership had partnered with American Heart Association, raising more than $900 for that organization. And, most recently, the group raised nearly $1,000 for Pennies for Patients for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Northern California. For more information, call 925-634-3521.

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