Open sign-ups will be held for a "Special Needs Cheerleading Program" from 1 to 2:30 p.m. today and Sundays June 22 and 29 at the Marple Sports Arena, 611 South Park Way, Broomall.

The new team is open to boys and girls ages 8 to 17 who have mild to moderate mental retardation or Down syndrome, and are physically functional.

The children will practice for an hour and a half on Sundays from July until April, and participate in a Delaware County competition as part of a pilot study conducted by Amanda M. Kingsland, a Clifton Heights resident and an occupational therapy student at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

Liberty Cheer Institute is sponsoring the program, and providing gym space and staff services.

Kingsland said the aim is to enhance the children's quality of life, give them a turn in the spotlight, and provide more extra-curricular opportunities for children with disabilities.

The first special-needs cheerleading team began in 2001 in Lexington, Ky., Kingsland said, and there are more than 160 teams across the country.

Participation in the pilot program is free. Space is limited.

For more information, contact Kingsland at amanda.kingsland@jefferson.edu or 610-405-8457.

St. Pius X School in Broomall and the Haverford School ranked 26th and 40th in the nation, respectively, in the First In Math program.

About 3,000 schools, 20,000 teams and 300,000 students competed in the national online math program, in which students earned electronic award stickers for each level they completed.

Several local graduating seniors will receive a $1,000 scholarship through the Comcast Foundation for their leadership skills, academic achievement and commitment to community service.

The Leaders and Achievers winners included Broomall resident Talene Yeremian, of Villa Maria Academy in Malvern, who will attend the University of Pennsylvania; Carolann Howard, of Haverford High School, who also will attend Penn; Jessica Geida, of Marple Newtown High School, who will attend the University of Pittsburgh; Christina Bleba, of Radnor High School, who will attend Boston College; and Wynnewood resident Alexander Zimmerman, of Friends Select School in Philadelphia, who will attend Brown University in Providence, R.I.

Three area students who participated in the annual Annenberg High School Science Symposium received scholarships to the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine, to be held this summer at Villanova University.

The three were Lower Merion High School junior Kelly Kempf, Merion Mercy Academy sophomore Gabrielle Barrila, and Radnor High School junior Peter Chansky.

Winners were chosen based on essays they wrote as an optional assignment, according to Barry Mann, executive director of the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Conference Center for Medical Education at Lankenau Hospital.

More than 150 students from 12 Philadelphia-area high schools participated in this spring's Science Symposium events at Lankenau, Bryn Mawr and Paoli Hospitals. Students had to study a scientific issue and then present it using the creative arts, such as music, dance or theatrical drama.

Radnor Middle School collected almost 4,000 books for Norristown's Paul V. Fly Elementary School, named a Blue Ribbon School in 2001.

Radnor Middle School and the Junior League of Philadelphia, which brought the idea to the middle school, also donated $3,000 in profits from an annual book fair to help buy scholastic materials.

Student council officers Jackie Blickman, Chandler Burke, Sophie Cummins and Colleen Packer led the school's effort.

- Ed Mahon