Kellie Pickler, a country music star and former

American Idol

finalist, sang at a private concert for

Merion Mercy Academy

students on Dec. 19.

Students at the all-girls Catholic school sent more than 450,000 text messages to local country station WXTU (92.5 FM), as part of a contest to win the performance from Pickler.

Junior Jill Fleming organized the drive, and junior Trieste Baccile asked Merion Mercy's principal, Sister Barbara Buckley, for permission to host the concert.

When Buckley announced to the student body that the school had won the contest, the nun donned a pair of red shoes, a reference to Pickler's debut single, "Red High Heels."

For the 21st consecutive year, about two dozen

Radnor High School

students picked the best holiday window displays done by businesses in Wayne.

Joe Scholes, a Radnor High business teacher, and Robert D'Amicantonio, then-president of Radnor's Future Business Leaders of America chapter, started the contest more than two decades ago. They partnered with the Wayne Business Association, which encouraged shops to decorate their windows for the holidays, put lights up, and stay open late on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Business and accounting students took field trips this month - one at night, one during the day - and picked winners in a number of categories, according to originality, overall design and other criteria.

This year's winners were: Eye Q, most eye-catching; High Road Cycles, best use of merchandise; Beethoven Wraps, sweetest display; The French Lemon, all Main Line; Anthropologie, most creative; and The Pear Tree, best overall.

Nine upper-grade students from

Delaware Valley Friends School

in Paoli helped Early Head Start distribute free toys to Philadelphia children on Dec. 20.

The students traveled to Early Head Start on 48th Street and Haverford Road in West Philadelphia, where they delivered and cleaned donated toys. They also spent time playing with children and serving lunch to Philadelphia families.

Toys were donated by the students, parents, staff and others connected to the coeducational Quaker school for students with learning differences.

Three top squash players from

Lower Merion High School

- junior Danny Greenberg and seniors Michael Kofsky and Alex Pizzutillo - will represent the Harriton-Lower Merion Squash Association in a string of matches Saturday.

The Cynwyd Club, 322 Trevor Lane in Bala Cynwyd, will host competitions among club members, the Harriton-Lower Merion Squash Association and the U.S. Naval Academy's squad at 10 a.m. Saturday.

The Harriton-Lower Merion Squash Association, created in 1997 to promote the sport at the high school and middle school level, is a joint effort among the Cynwyd Club and the Harriton and Lower Merion High School athletic departments.

Tickets cost $20 per person, and include lunch. For reservations, call 610-667-4524, Ext. 11.

Submissions are being accepted from middle school students for amateur 30-second radio and television public service announcements that discourage drug use.

The winning team will participate in a three-day event in May at Fort Indiantown Gap in Annville, Pa. The victorious students will produce professionally their public service announcement, which will be aired on television and radio stations throughout the state.

The first "Sound Off: Pennsylvania's Drug Prevention Television/Radio Public Service Announcement Contest" is sponsored by the Pennsylvania National Guard Counterdrug Program and Drug Free Pennsylvania.

Registration is due by Feb. 15, and submissions must be received by April 20. The winners also will be recognized at the Media Literacy Conference in June in Harrisburg.

For more information, visit

, or contact the Pennsylvania National Guard Counterdrug Program at 717-861-2857 or

» READ MORE: ddr@counterdrug.org

.

The contest is open to public, private and home-educated middle school students in Pennsylvania.

- Ed Mahon