Fifth graders at Eleanor Rush Intermediate School, Cinnaminson, who are in Project Challenge adopted a platoon of soldiers sent to Iraq in mid-November. Each of the 55 students in the gifted and talented program adopted a soldier, then sent a bag of gifts to that soldier, along with a personal letter. The platoon leader, Army 2d Lt.

Anthony Dreyer

, wrote to the children. "You guys went above and beyond anything that we expected," noting that the deployment was the third for some of the soldiers. "I have many 18-year-old soldiers, and this is their first Christmas away from home." He said the platoon was in Al Kut, about 70 miles southeast of Baghdad, and said he would try to send photographs.

Warren Frederick

, instrumental music director at Delran High School, invited concert band alumni back for the winter band and choir concert Dec. 20. They were asked to join in for a decades-old feature of the annual event: the performance of "Russian Christmas Music."

Alfred Reed

wrote the piece for symphonic band in 1944. Frederick is celebrating his 21st year at Delran.

Artwork by five sixth graders at Moorestown Friends School shone in a recent contest open to children ages 7 through 12 nationwide.

Morgan Sloan

of Moorestown won the grand prize in the "Take a Walk in the Wetlands" contest, sponsored by author and naturalist

Jane Kirkland

.

Emma Giordano

and

Taylor Johns

, both of Moorestown, tied for first place among 11-year-olds.

Morgan Stefanacci

, Merchantville, received honorable mention among 11-year-olds, and

Sarah Applegate

, Moorestown, earned an honorable mention in the 12-year-old category. Winning entries are to appear in Kirkland's book

Take a Wetlands Walk

, to be published in the spring. Upper/Middle School science teacher

Chuck Blatherwick

coordinated the MFS entries.

Burlington County residents were among 80 faculty, staff and administrators honored at Camden County College's 13th annual Service Recognition Ceremony. They were honored either as retirees or for notching service milestones. Recognized were

Robert Lorenzi

, retiree, Marlton;

Paul Harris

, 15 years, Mount Laurel;

Sharon K. Paynter

, retiree, Marlton;

Elaine Reeder

, five years, Medford; and

Jane Weber

, 15 years, Medford.

- Lea Sitton Stanley