St. Anastasia School

was the only Delaware County learning center to be honored this year by the U.S. Department of Education as a No Child Left Behind-Blue Ribbon School.

Among 289 schools given the prestigious recognition, 50 were private ones, said Brad Kohlhepp, who started as principal of the Newtown Square Catholic school earlier this year. Carol Cary, the principal for five years, left in September to become director of secondary curriculum and instruction for Archdiocese of Philadelphia schools.

The pre-kindergarten to eighth-grade school with 638 students placed in the top 10 percent of schools nationwide on standardized tests. Besides academic success, Kohlhepp said the school also offers an advanced technology program.

Since October 2006, seventh and eighth graders have run a radio station that can be accessed from St. Anastasia's Web site. Students have produced discussions on the Bible, live feeds from homecoming and Christmas concert events, and interviews with faculty members.

The school was keeping celebrations low-key, Kohlhepp said. The honor was mentioned at a Thanksgiving prayer service, and there will be some memorabilia given out to the community, such as T-shirts for teachers and car magnets for families. Students were creating decorations for the school's main entrance.

"They're tracing their hands on blue paper," Kohlhepp said. "And on each finger and a thumb, they're going to write five things that make our school special."

Radnor High School

will host a Disney sing-along in partnership with the Best Buddies program from 7 to 8 p.m. Friday at the high school auditorium, 130 King of Prussia Rd.

Best Buddies High Schools pairs individuals who have intellectual disabilities in one-to-one friendships with high school students. More than 33 Pennsylvania high schools participate in the international program.

For Radnor's event, the audience will sing as club members dance to tunes from

Aladdin

,

Toy Story

,

The Jungle Book

, and other Disney movies. Channel 10 sports anchor John Clark, returning for his second year, will host the sing-along.

Tickets are $2 for children and $5 for adults, and can be purchased at the door. All proceeds will benefit the high school's Best Buddies chapter, which is in its third year and has more than 50 members.

For more information, contact Eileen Mann at 610-293-0855, Ext. 3706, or

» READ MORE: eileen.mann@rtsd.org

.

More than 325 runners and walkers participated in

Annunciation B.V.M. School

's Turkey Trot 5K Run and Family Fun Walk on Nov. 24. The $12,000 raised at the event will help fund technology upgrades at the Catholic school in Havertown.

Santina Pescatore, a South Philadelphia resident and eighth grader at

Waldron Mercy Academy

in Merion, was named middle school winner of the Constitutional Walking Tour's American Freedom Essay Contest.

Pescatore's essay, "Freedom Must Carry On," focused on the importance of fighting for freedom, receiving an education and voting.

More than 2,000 students from 100 public and private schools from Virginia to Massachusetts submitted essays for the contest, in which winners were named at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

To read the winning essays, visit

.

Two sophomores at

Academy of Notre Dame de Namur

in Villanova - Kate Acker of Berwyn and Kate McGovern of Upper Providence - placed second and third at the county level of the statewide Health Careers Week essay contest.

Thirty-three Delaware County high school students participated in the competition, which required writers to describe inspiring professionals in the health-care field. The County Workforce Investment Board sponsored the event locally.

College-bound high school seniors have less than a week to enter the Beneficial Scholars Program essay contest sponsored by Philadelphia-based Beneficial Bank.

The program, which awards $45,000 in scholarships to six students, is accepting entries until Friday from seniors in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties.

Students are asked to write an essay describing what they think is the most important issue facing their community, and how they would respond to this concern.

The winning writer will receive a $20,000 scholarship, and five runners-up will receive $5,000 scholarships. Judging will be done by a panel of area business and community leaders and educators.

Visit

» READ MORE: www.thebeneficial.com

for an entry form.

- Ed Mahon
and Matt Sandy