Archive for the ‘Youth’ Category

Antioch Eagle Scout graduates from Coast Guard Academy

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

McNell is congratulated by President Donald Trump at the Coast Guard Academy graduation, May 17, 2017.

Bradley McNell accepted his commission from his Commander in Chief, President Donald Trump during the U.S. Coast Guard Academy graduation ceremony on Wednesday, May 17th, 2017.

After completing four years at the Academy in New London, CT and    receiving a Bachelor of Science degree McNell’s first tour of duty will be as an Officer on the 418 foot National Security Cutter, USCGC Waesche – whose homeport is Alameda, CA.

He is an Eagle Scout from Troop 450 and a 2012 graduate of De La Salle High School.

To watch the speech by given to the graduates by General John Kelly, the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, click here and to see highlights of the graduation, click here.

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Deer Valley High graduates one of its smartest classes

Friday, June 16th, 2017

Valedictorian Henry Rausch, left and other Deer Valley High Class of 2017 grads celebrate and get hyped during the ceremony on Thursday, June 8, 2017. Photos by Luke Johnson

DVHS alum and Vice Principal Blair Wilkins addresses the graduates.

By Luke Johnson

An unlikely dream came true for a Deer Valley High School alumnus.

Blair Wilkins – who ranked No. 317 out of 400 students in DVHS’s first graduating class in 1999 – spoke during the commencement ceremony for the Class of 2017 as the school’s vice principal.

“For me graduating 18 years ago – half my life ago – it’s been very surreal for me to come back and it’s been a great pleasure to serve as a vice principal,” Wilkins said.

Approximately 475 diploma recipients filed in on the campus’s football field Thursday, June 8, on an unusually cloudy evening for this time of year with an estimated 3,000 loved ones in the stands.

A grad cheers on one of his peers.

Wilkins said this was one of the school’s most successful years academically with nearly one-fourth of graduates finishing with a 3.5 GPA or higher.

“We have had a lot of growth with our students – most recently being recognized as a California Honor Roll School,” Wilkins said. “Which to me is a great honor and really shows how great of a school community we have.”

Every year students and administrators agree that DVHS has an unfair negative reputation. However, Valedictorian Henry Rausch believes the school took a step forward this year in progressing public opinion.

A grad celebrates as she receives her diploma.

“From the inside, we don’t have a bad reputation. We all like the school,” Rausch said. “It’s just a small fraction of the school that’s making trouble and giving us bad press, and from the inside we don’t see any of that.”

Before the event began, everyone in attendance had a moment of silence to pay tribute to Reggina Jefferies, who was on pace to graduate that day but tragically passed away in a mass shooting in Oakland last summer.


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Contra Costa Supervisors Consider Banning Flavored Tobacco Sales to Youth

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

By Daniel Borsuk

Expect Contra Costa County Supervisors to have on the books at either their July 11 or 18 meeting an ordinance outlawing the sale of flavored tobacco products to youths at 93 licensed tobacco retailers located in unincorporated parts of the county.

Should county supervisors adopt the proposed ordinance next month, the East Bay county will join Yolo and Santa Clara counties and the cities of El Cerrito and Los Gatos to have passed ordinances banning the sale of flavored tobacco products to youths under the age of 21.  Yolo and Santa Clara counties and Los Gatos have gone the extra mile to ban the sale of menthol flavored cigarettes that are a leading contributor to heart and lung disease related deaths especially among African Americans.

Supervisors balked on Tuesday acting on a proposed ordinance aimed to protect youth under the age of 21 from buying flavored tobacco products including e-cigarettes, vape pens, e-liquids, snuff, chewing tobacco, little cigars, cigarillos, hookah tobacco, and vapor solutions for electronic smoking, mainly because they could not agree on some technical issues, one being whether a retailer selling these products should be 500 feet or 1,000 feet from either a school, library, park, or playground.

County records show 48 of the 93 licensed tobacco retailers in unincorporated Contra Costa County are within 1,000 feet of a school, park, playground or library.  Some 57 retailers are located within 500 feet of another tobacco retailer and 13 of these 57 stores are also within 1,000 feet of a school.

Saying she prefers setting a 500-foot distance, District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill said it is important for the board to draft an ordinance that supervisors can be satisfied with so that elected officials on city councils in the county will be potentially interested in adopting similar anti-flavored tobacco product ordinances.

County Health Director William Walker recommended that supervisors adopt the proposed ordinance that attracted more than 50 speakers, most of them calling on supervisors to pass the ordinance.

“Smoking is a pediatric disease, “said Dr. Walker.  “It is a leading factor for why this county spends $334 million a year in medical costs per year.  Flavored tobacco products are the gateway products to being a habitual smoker.”

Ninety percent of United States smokers began to smoke on average by age 18, he said.

Walker estimates the county receives $30 million in all tobacco sales tax revenue a year, a figure that includes tax revenue from flavored tobacco product sales in the county.

Dr. Phillip Gardener of the University of California San Francisco encouraged the board to adopt the ordinance noting how menthol flavored tobacco products are a major contributing factor for a high death toll in African American community.

“Menthol flavored tobacco products are a starter products for our youth,” he said.

“While store employees try to keep these products out of the hands of youth, the reality of the problem is that these products do get into the hands of our youth,” said Rachel Lazarus of the Contra Costa Tolerance Prevention Coalition.  “This ordinance will control this problem.”

With the prospects that the tobacco industry might file a lawsuit to block the county from enacting the ordinance, Jag Sing, a board member representing 12 Contra Costa County 7-11 Stores, opposed the proposed ordinance saying “No retailer wants to sell to minors.  Let’s work together.”

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Deer Valley High volleyball player Carson Zollars named league MVP

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

Carson Zollars goes up for a spike. photo courtesy of

By Jesus Cano

Deer Valley outside hitter Carson Zollars is praised to be a leader and powerhouse player on the court by his team and the rest of the league. His hard work has paid off, as he was named the 2017 Most Valuable Player for the Bay Valley Athletic League.

The senior is regarded to be one of the top hitters in all of the North Coast Section. Zollars was a league leader in kills with 365 and serving aces with 56. Defensively, he came second in with 353 digs. Along with his work on the court, he maintained a 4.0 Grade Point Average all four years of high school.

“I’m so honored to be recognized by the BVAL as the most valuable player,” Zollars said  “I’ve worked hard and put in countless hours of gym time, and it just feels incredible to have it all pay off”

Zollars has been on the varsity squad since his freshman year. Many people state that the teams he participated in were considered one of the best in Deer Valley history. Not only that, but he played under the direction under legendary Deer Valley coach Lou Panzella.

Deer Valley had a championship year. They began their season by conquering the Golden Valley Tournament in Merced,Calif. Later in the season they captured their ninth BVAL Boys Volleyball League title in the past decade. The season ultimately came to an end in the NCS Division one playoffs where the lost to Foothill (Pleasanton) on the road.

His coach and father Andrew Zollars describes him to not only be a phenomenal player, but mentor to the entire program.

“Carson was our team captain and led by example with his positive attitude, constant communication on the court and ongoing encouragement to his teammate,” Zollars said “He was mentally tough all season and simply refused to let negative emotion determine the outcome of any match this season.”

He had received many scholarship offers to play volleyball in college, however many of those schools were located on the other side of the nation. Zollars stated he did not want to make the long move in order to have a more traditional college experience.

The newly crowned MVP will be attending the University of Nevada, Reno where he intends to major in Mechanical Engineering and play on the club volleyball team for the Wolfpack.

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Deer Valley freshman, Trinity Bolden headlines BVAL Championship Track Meet

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

Trinity Bolden wins the 100 meter race at the BVAL track and field championship. screenshot from YouTube video.

By Jesus Cano

The elite runners of the Bay Valley Athletic League showcased their skills on Saturday, May 13th at Deer Valley High School where the BVAL League Championship track meet was held.

The city of Antioch was represented by both Deer Valley and Antioch High School at the meet, but freshman Trinity Bolden stole the show by taking home first place in both the 100 and 200 meter races. 

Bolden was not the only female competitor to place first for the Wolverines, as her teammate Lauren Siao come out on top in the 100 meter hurdles competition.

Not far behind Siao was Antioch’s Alyssa Morelli, who came in third place for both 100 meter hurdle and 300 meter hurdle. Morelli also placed third in the 4×400 relay along with Taaje Pete, Jenna Salas and Zoe Davis-Watkins.

Antioch Junior Dalaan Green’s speed helped him accolade him to place first in the Boys 100 meter dash and second in the 200 meter.

Ryan Redman, Dior Walker, Jason Johnson and Jamir Collier worked together in the 4×400 meter relay and took third place.

To view a YouTube video of Trinity’s first place run in the 100 meter race at the BVAL Championship, click here.

For more information on Trinity’s track and field times and results from this year’s competitions, visit

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Middle school teens get their own space at Antioch Community Center starting tomorrow

Monday, June 12th, 2017

Summer Open Gym at the Antioch Community Center is for middle school teens only!  Hang out with friends or play basketball, rule the table games or take part in other activities.

The gymnasium is open on Tuesdays beginning June 13th from 3:00 to 6:00 pm for only $3.00 per visit.  Purchase a punch card in advance and get one visit free. Leave your brothers and sisters home and come enjoy an afternoon set aside for just you and other middle school teens. 

Antioch Recreation staff will provide supervision throughout the afternoon.  For more information call the Recreation Department at 925-776-3050.

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Teenage boy dies from accidental BB gunshot wound to the chest, in Antioch Thursday morning

Thursday, June 8th, 2017

By Sergeant John Fortner #3264, Antioch Police Investigations Division

On Thursday, June 8, 2017, at approximately 9:55 AM, Antioch police officers responded to the 4300 block of Palomar Drive for a subject who was accidentally shot with a BB gun. Once at the scene, officers located a15-year-old male victim, who was on the ground with what appeared to be a small wound to his chest. The victim was unresponsive and first-aid/life saving measures were started. The victim was transported to a local area hospital where he ultimately succumbed to his injury.

During the investigation, it was learned that the juvenile victim was shot with a pellet rifle once in the chest, by a juvenile, male friend, also 15-years-old. At this time, based on several witness statements and evidence located at the scene, the incident appears to be a tragic accident. All of the parties at the scene are cooperating with the investigation which is ongoing.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925) 778-2441. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

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Antioch High to introduce Puente Project next school year

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

Antioch and Pittsburg High School students and staff work together to present the Puente program. Top left to right: Stephon Cartwright, Ivana Zelda , Danni Le, Andrea Zárate, Jennifer Swatzell and Violeta Orozco. Bottom: Daniel Villafan and Jesus Cano.

To offer students a bridge to college, community service

By Jesus Cano

Established in 1981 at Chabot College in Hayward, according to their website, “the Puente Project is a national award-winning program that…has improved the college-going rate of tens of thousands of California’s educationally underrepresented students. Its mission is to increase the number of educationally disadvantaged students who enroll in four-year colleges and universities, earn college degrees and return to the community as mentors and leaders to future generations. The program is interdisciplinary in approach, with writing, counseling and mentoring components.”

The program’s headquarters are located at the University of California, Berkeley but expand all over the Golden State as north as Woodland all the way the way down south to Coachella Valley.

Some of Puente’s statistics include having 800 students in Northern California, but the number that left the families in the room most impressed, was a 79 percent, four-year university acceptance rate amongst program members.

The word puente in Spanish means bridge, and the program helps provide a bridge for students to college and community service.

“Bringing Puente to Antioch High is one of my biggest successes,” Antioch Vice Principal Stephon Cartwright said. “The immediate goal is to build up a Puente Family.”

Since Antioch will inaugurate their first year of Puente, they will be receiving a lot of assistance from eight year Pittsburg High School Puente counselor Danni Le and her staff. In fact, Le brought four of her elite Puente students to speak at the meeting in order to provide personal experience about the program.

“The biggest advantage about being in Puente is having a family bond with your fellow Puentistas,” Le said.

In order to be accepted into Puente, you must complete a summer session, where members interact with each other in order to have that early family aspect. Le states that the summer session is one of the most pivotal moments in the program’s duration.

Antioch High is currently recruiting 8th graders that will be attending the school in the fall. The process will consist of submitting an application, then following an interview. However, not all students will be admitted.

Principal Louie Rocha made an appearance and introduced the Puente staff who will include Violeta Orozco – Puente Counselor, Stephon Cartwright – Puente Vice Principal and Jennifer Swatzell – Puente English Teacher

Personally, I am part of the Puente program at Pittsburg High School and it is a very beneficial program to be in. It heavily improved my writing and opened my eyes about college and my future. If you are a parent wanting to enroll your child in this program, do not hesitate. This is a positive life changing program that any student must take advantage of.

To apply contact Mrs. Orozco at or call (925)729-7550 ext. 40230.

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