The Voorhees Middle School chess team placed second at the Greater South Jersey Grade Level Championship on Dec. 15. The four-member team, guided by

Bill McBride

, played five rounds and 30 games. The club meets three times a week. "I look at chess skills as skills that can be employed in the academic realm," McBride was quoted as saying in a news release. "The students learn to take the time to think and make assessments of all the opportunities." Team members are

Deepak Gopalakrishnan

,

Joe Codario

,

Adam Kaganocih

and

Yifei Zhang

.

Christopher Gallo

of Clayton, a Camden County College automotive technology instructor, has received a premier teaching prize in his field. Gallo is the fourth automotive technology instructor at the college to win the GM-ASEP National Award of Merit. The award, recognizing him as a top technical instructor in the United States and Canada, is made by the International Association of General Motors Automotive Services Educational Programs. Gallo, who received a plaque, joined the college faculty in 1996. He holds an associate in applied science degree from Camden County College and a bachelor of science from Southern Illinois University, as well as 17 certifications from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.

Morgan Stefanacci

of Merchantville was among five sixth graders at Moorestown Friends School to receive honors in a recent art contest open to children ages 7 through 12 nationwide. Her work earned an honorable mention among 11-year-olds in the "Take a Walk in the Wetlands" contest, sponsored by author and naturalist

Jane Kirkland

. 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.

Julia Weisel

, a first-year member of the Camden County College women's soccer team, received first-team All-America honors from the National Junior College Athletic Association. She did so despite playing in just eight of the 2007 season's 13 games because she broke her shoulder. Weisel, a forward, was named to the Division III All-America Team. Weisel, a graduate of Penns Grove High School in Salem County, is the fourth CCC student to receive first-team All-America honors in women's soccer.

Collingswood Middle School and High School have joined a national network of elementary and secondary schools aimed at school improvement. The Successful Practices Network, sponsored by the International Center for Leadership in Education, Rexford, N.Y., is a nonprofit. Collingswood teachers will be able to exchange instructional practices and methodologies through the network, and gain peer support.

- Lea Sitton Stanley