After more than a year of collecting spare change in tennis ball cans,

Episcopal Academy Middle and Lower School

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students presented the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation with a check for $14,252.16.

Alex and Meredith Nelson, brother and sister students from Devon, started the project "Spare Change to Change a Life" in April of 2006 to raise money for the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Alex, a tenth grader, and Meredith, a seventh grader, visited every classroom in the Lower School on Episcopal's Merion and Devon campuses to encourage participation from other students and their families.

Basketball star Dikembe Mutombo, who played for the Sixers in 2001 and 2002, is now with the Houston Rockets. The Mutombo family attended a service at Episcopal on Dec. 10 to accept the gift and thank students.

Chelsea Ramsey, a senior at the

Baldwin School

, has been raising awareness of genocide in Sudan's Darfur region and raising funds to help stop the violence in that African nation.

Last month, the Wayne resident brought human rights activist John Prendergast, coauthor of

Not On Our Watch: The Mission To End Genocide in Darfur And Beyond

, to speak at the school in Bryn Mawr. More than 300 people attended the talk.

Prendergast worked at the National Security Council and the State Department in the Clinton administration and is one of the leaders of ENOUGH, which works to prevent genocide.

In October, Ramsey organized an open mic night which featured student musicians, poets and other performers from several area schools. The event raised $1,7000 for ENOUGH and other organizations working to assist Darfur.

Christine Dixon-Anderson, an aide at

Radnor Middle School

, led efforts to gather around 500 holiday gifts for Delaware County Children and Youth Services.

Members of the middle school student council, who were mentored by counselor Nancy Zion and teacher Mary Ann McCarthy, helped with the annual drive. Dixon-Anderson and guidance counselor Florence Hubert, now retired, started the enterprise more than twelve years ago.

Dixon-Anderson distributed more than 500 index cards with the gender and age of a child to middle school students, who bought and wrapped age-appropriate presents, attached the cards and returned the gifts to her.

The Academy of Notre Dame de Namur

formally opened the doors to the Harron Family Building last month, marking the pinnacle of the school's $12 million Capital Campaign, "Teach Them What They Need to Know for Life."

The campaign, which focuses on campus improvements and raising the endowment, is the most ambitious fund-raising effort in the history of the girls' school, which was founded in Philadelphia in the 1850s and moved to Villanova in 1944.

More than 400 guests attended the new facility's dedication ceremony, which was presided over by Cardinal Justin Rigali.

The 28,000-square-foot building is scheduled to open for classes in January, and will serve as the new general entrance for the school, which covers grades 6 through 12.

The main floor will house a welcoming reception area for students and families, two additional classrooms, the president's office and a conference room. A glass-enclosed corridor connects the building to Cuvilly Hall and looks out over a cobblestone courtyard by the cafeteria.

The second floor Connelly Library is outfitted for wireless access and includes a computer lab with 25 workstations, a group study room for collaborative work, a Smart Board with a projector and videoconferencing capability for both group and individual use.

The new Aimee Willard Gymnasium, located on the bottom floor of the Harron Family Building, is named after a 1992 graduate and star athlete who was murdered in 1996.

The gym features a full-size center court, two full-size side-by-side courts, a newly-equipped fitness room, physical-education offices, team rooms and a concession with kitchen.

- Ed Mahon