A workshop for parents of children with autism will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at the School of Education's Autism Institute at

Gwynedd-Mercy College

.

Parents will be introduced to learning strategies, and will be able to consult with clinical and educational professionals. The fee is $100 per family.

The college is at 1325 Sumneytown Pike, Gwynedd Valley. For more information or to register, contact Deborah Schadler at 215-646-7300, Ext. 160, or

.

The

Upper Merion Area School District

has launched the Upper Merion Area Community Alliance for a Safer Tomorrow (CAST) to offer drug-prevention and anti-violence programs for youth in Upper Merion Township and the boroughs of Bridgeport and West Conshohocken.

Programs will target children and parents through counseling, community outreach and educational resources.

CAST is funded through a grant from the Drug Free Communities program of the office of the National Drug Control Policy. The grant is for $100,000 annually for five years.

The partners in the initiative are the Upper Merion Area School District, which serves as the lead agency; the police departments of Upper Merion, West Conshohocken and Bridgeport; Family Services in Eagleville; the Lincoln Center for Family and Youth in Bridgeport; the Montgomery County Office of Drug and Alcohol in Norristown; and residents and other organizations.

Volunteers are being sought for the project.

For more information on CAST, contact PaShawnda Briley at 610-630-2111, Ext. 255, or

.

Students from

Pottstown High School

were among those from 35 Pennsylvania high schools and colleges who recently attended the first student Culinary Career Day, a Harrisburg event sponsored by the Pennsylvania Tourism and Lodging Association.

Lower Merion High School and Harriton High School in Lower Merion also participated.

Programs included cooking demonstrations and workshops on professional development, and professional chefs shared experiences in their fields.

Culinary Career Day events also are planned for 2009. To learn more, visit

or call the Tourism and Lodging Association at 717-232-8880.

Fourteen students in the

Cheltenham School District

were honored recently for academic improvement, personal growth or volunteer service. The students received a Teacher and Parent Award and a $100 savings bond during a May 21 awards ceremony.

The winners were 12th graders Zachary Harmon and Kieran Brantner-Magree; ninth graders Hayley Leather and Rhoda Moise; eighth graders Michael Fuller, Ben Eirdosh and Ruth Saganty; fourth graders Skyla Dillalogue, Benjamin Flaks, Madeleine Carter and Adam Fishbein; second graders Gigi Perrotto and Dominic Williams; and first grader Matthew Tran.

Students were nominated by a parent or teacher, and nominations were judged by a team of four teachers and four parents. The awards program was created last year by Cindy Goldberg, a second-grade teacher from

Glenside Elementary School

, and Dean Rosencranz, a math teacher at

Cheltenham High School

.

The program recognizes students who have shown perseverance but whose successes might not draw the same attention as those of top students or athletes.

Gov. Rendell was the featured speaker May 22 at the groundbreaking for the new

Upper Dublin High School

.

Upper Dublin is the only school district in Pennsylvania that passed a construction debt referendum under Act 1 of 2006, Rendell said.

Voting on a March 2007 ballot question, about 62.5 percent of residents in the Upper Dublin School District approved of the district incurring debt for a new high school. The school will cost $119.2 million. When completed in 2012, it will serve about 1,600 students, school board president Michael Paston said.

The school will be on the site of the existing Upper Dublin High on Loch Alsh Road in the Fort Washington section of the township. Paston said during construction, students will be taught in modular classrooms on school grounds.

- Erica Lamberg