Ariel Finegold, a junior at

Plymouth Whitemarsh High School

, was selected as the winner of the Anti- Defamation League's "Challenge Your Assumptions" essay contest.

An excerpt from Finegold's essay, "Singing in the Rain," about a student actor who is in a wheelchair, was recited during the Anti-Defamation League's Americanism Awards Dinner held on Dec. 5 in Philadelphia.

Finegold was awarded a $150 gift card and her winning essay will be published in the 2007-2008 Plymouth Whitemarsh High School yearbook.

Abington resident Geffrey Kelly, a professor of religious studies at

La Salle University

, received the University's Faculty Distinguished Scholar Award at the college's fall convocation held last month.

Kelly is a scholar of the life and theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran pastor who was a martyr of the German Resistance against Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. Kelly received his bachelor's degree from La Salle University, two master's degrees from La Salle and Villanova University, and a doctorate of sacred theology from the University of Louvainin Belgium.

A blood drive is being held Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at

Thomas Fitzwater Elementary School

, 30 School Lane in Upper Dublin. Donors are encouraged to call Lori Felt at 215-643-0547 through Tuesday at noon to make an appointment. Donors also can make an appointment using sponsor code 12115 at

or by calling 1-800-448-3543 and using sponsor code 12115. Walk-in donors are also welcome during blood drive hours.

About 540 students who attend

Marshall Street Elementary School

in West Norriton gathered on the school's fields on Nov. 13 to create the number 50 to mark the school's golden anniversary. The East Norriton Fire Company, school officials, and administrators from the Norristown Area School District also were on hand to commemorate the milestone.

Harleysville resident Maureen Curcio, a senior English major at

Gwynedd-Mercy College

, was named winner of a college-wide writing contest, sponsored by the Department of Language, Literature and Fine Arts and the Academic Resource Center. Her winning essay was "European Society: Hierarchy, Violence, and Religion."

Honorable mention was awarded to Christine Gorge, also a Harleysville resident and a diocesan scholar from

Lansdale Catholic High School

, who takes course work at Gwynedd-Mercy. Gorge's essay compared two topics: "The Incurable Wound" and "Florence Nightingale as Social Reformer." Both students were presented with prizes donated by the Gwynedd-Mercy College bookstore.

- Erica Lamberg