It was feather in the cap of Montgomery High drama students simply to perform and compete at the Lenaea High School Theatre Festival in Folsom.

And look how they fared.

The Montgomery kids won every category of the nearly 60-year-old competition that they entered.

Also, Vikings won more awards than any other of the 58 schools in the festival.

Then there's this: More than 1,100 students took part and Erik Weiss, the Monty actor who as a freshman trekked to the world-renowned Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland in 2011, won the most awards of them all.


<strong> SINGING FOR VERNICE:</strong> One word best conveys how Vernice Thorn is doing as her personal odometer flips to today to 100.


"I really feel that water

exercise is the reason I can move as well as I can," she said poolside at the Sonoma County Family YMCA. At 100 years old, she's a longtime regular in the Y's senior aquatics classes.

For years now, said Vernice, "I've been preaching to people that if you want to keep moving, you'd better get into the water."

Word of her birthday and aquatic fitness regimen reached performing artist Aki Starr, whose credits include singing lead for Jorge Santana's band.

And at noon on Feb. 17 at the Y, Starr will sing Happy Birthday and who knows what else to Vernice alongside the healing waters.

<strong>THE LONG RIDE:</strong> Did you catch local football legends Bob St. Clair and Dick Colombini in Sunday's ESPN premiere of the documentary on the 1951 University of San Francisco football team and the stand it took for racial justice?

It was great TV. The film, '51 Dons, tells how the undefeated team, possibly the greatest in college football history, badly needed the financial boost of a bowl game but stayed home rather than travel to the South without the two African-American players the bowl hosts wouldn't admit.

The documentary hails the team as pioneers in America's civil-rights struggle.

Coincidentally, a Black History Month film festival this week and next screens other documentaries on the long and continuing quest.

"Freedom Riders" shows at 7 p.m. Thursday at Santa Rosa's Arlene Francis Center. And the following Thursday, "Let It Burn" and "The People's Advocate — The Life and Times of Charles Garry."

<strong>HEARTS WILL MELT</strong> like pocketed Hershey's Kisses in a drier Friday, when quartets of students in the concert choir at Santa Rosa High appear here and there to deliver vocal valentines.

It's a local tradition that allows superb young singers to play Cupid and raise some bucks for their program.

For $50, they show up at the home or office of the sender's sweetheart, sing a few love songs and present a flower and custom card.

Today's the last day to arrange a delivery by phoning by 547-9000.

<em>Chris Smith is at 521-5211 and</em>