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CURRENT ISSUE:  April 9, 2012   •   VOL. 50, NO. 7   •   Oakland, CA
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Field no longer a dream at St. Paul School
The work crew checks out the view from the bleachers at St. Paul School in San Pablo.

A dream has been realized at St. Paul School, where a long-neglected field is now ready for baseball.

Joe Fraga and Bill Fellows had been nurturing the field since the summer. Powered by a $2,000 Beacon Grant from the Richmond Elks Lodge 1251, 16 hard-working parents brought their brawn and tools and from 7:30 a.m. to after noon on Feb. 11, hoed and raked weeds, carried infield mix and spread it over a 70-by-70-foot area.

Thanks to Miguel Garcia, father of a sixth-grader, who brought his automatic nail gun, three raised beds were built in no time. With first-grade teacher Liz Gray's expertise in sun location, the beds were set facing the rising sun and filled with premium compost mix.

Recycle More, a division of the West Contra Costa Integrated Waste Management Authority, will teach classes in worm composting and gardening to teachers and students in three grades, who will teach the rest of the student body, said Principal Natalie Lenz-Acuña.

St. Paul School
Black & White Gala

When: April 27,
from 6:30 to 11 p.m.
Where: Rockefeller Lodge,
San Pablo
What: Music, dance, food, libations and Auction for Education
Benefits: Families who want to attend Catholic school and professional development opportunities for the teachers
Tickets: $35;
phone 510-233-3080
Garcia also power-washed the cracking paint on the bleachers, backstop and playground retaining boards, giving the field a sharper, cleaner look.

Elks members Bob Ostini, Gloria and Mark Maltagliati and Conrad Ettling were there to help. Doughnuts, hot coffee and pizza from Fina's nourished the group.

The project was nurtured further by a $400 grant from the Oakland A's, which added another layer of infield mix.

"As principal of an incredible school, it was wonderful to see parents and the greater community come together to re-create a place for our kids to play and to learn in new ways," Lenz-Acuña said. "Thanks to the Elks and these parents, we will be able to organize a T-ball and softball team!"

The Diocese of Oakland CYO made a donation to the project, said Bill Ford, CYO director. Possibilities exist to create opportunities for St. Paul students to play games with students from neighboring Catholic schools, and perhaps establish a softball league in their area. League schools have decided to hold a tournament this spring. A dedication ceremony is planned after the students return from Easter vacation.

Also on St. Paul's calendar is the Black & White Gala on April 27. Proceeds from the evening will help families who want to attend Catholic school and professional development for the teachers. Tickets, at $35 each, are available by calling the school at 510-233-3080.

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