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Park Middle School’s Gabriella Gipson and 1,200 of her fellow Antioch sixth graders had the opportunity to attend a Saint Mary’s College girls’ basketball game recently. The trip to Moraga was more than just a day to see the hoops team, but also a chance for high school students to get their first glimpse of life on a college campus.
“We took a long walk around campus,” the 11-year-old Gipson said. “It was very exciting to go because I love basketball.”
In fact, the youngster’s dream has long been to become the first girl to play in the MBA, says her mother, Annabel Carvalo. Gipson plays basketball at school and is part of the AA youth traveling team. During the spring, Gibson’s older brother, Isaiah, was also able to make the trip with her eighth-grade class. On that trip, Carvalo was able to attend.
“The program works to spark interest through sports so kids start thinking about a path to college,” Carvalo said.
The 1,200 sixth graders who visited Saint Mary’s College represented Antioch, Black Diamond, Dallas Ranch and Park High Schools, Orchard Park School (in Oakley) and Thomas Gaines Virtual Academy. About 55 officials from Antioch High School also helped out.
High school students were greeted by a group of Saint Mary’s students and counselors and then watched the Gaels women’s basketball team play, listened to speakers discuss the university and course offerings, and toured the campus.
Lindsay Wisely, Saint Mary alumnus and former Saint Mary women’s basketball player, Director of Educational Services, Antioch Unified School District Secondary Support, said this was a “great opportunity for our students. We really appreciate the generosity and warm welcome from Saint Mary’s.”
The tour coincided with the Saint Mary’s women’s basketball team season opener against the University of Nevada. The field trip is part of the Antioch School District’s efforts to expand college and career curricula to high school students. It comes from a grant they received three years ago to implement a career class, digital curriculum and other work-based learning experiences.
“The kids created a tremendous atmosphere and our girls’ basketball team defeated Nevada, 67-58,” said Ben Enos, director of media relations for Saint Mary’s College.
Holiday Choir: With the holiday season just around the corner, the Brentwood Community Choir is looking for voices to help share the spirit. Under the direction of Susan Stuart, the Brentwood Community Choir will perform holiday music for East County communities.
The music will include a variety of seasonal songs such as “Sing Noel”, “English Carol Medley” and “Keep on Ringing the Bell”. They also plan to bring to life several choirs from Handel’s “Messiah” with a string quartet. The Celebration Ringers Handbell Choir will also join the festivities.
The Community Choir is open to all who wish to apply and participate. Rehearsals will be held on Tuesdays from 7-9 pm and all ages are welcome. Holiday functions begin at 3 pm on December 4 at St. Ignatius Church of Antioch, 3351 Contra Loma Blvd. Goodwill offerings for this performance are appreciated.
Another public performance will take place at 2 pm on December 18 at the Brentwood Community Center, 35 Oak St. Admission is $10 per person, free for children 12 and under. Tickets are available at the door or on the choir’s website at brentwoodcommunitychorus.com.
The Brentwood Community Choir is also participating in a recycling fundraiser. Bring sneakers, athletic shoes, and used or empty inkjet cartridges to the performance on December 18. Collection bins will be available in the lobby of the Brentwood Community Center.
Roni Gehlke can be reached at [email protected]