They've hit the big time, and likely aren't about to slow down any time soon.

For their exemplary work in the classroom, a group of highly talented Palmerton Area Junior High School students were honored at the school's annual Academic Awards Banquet held Monday at Blue Mountain Resort in Palmerton.

Karen Andrews, a 2004 graduate of Palmerton Area High School, served as guest speaker for the event.

Andrews told students it was an honor to speak with them, and nice to see some of her former teachers.

She then congratulated the students, as well as their parents, on a job well done.

Andrews said that upon graduating from high school she attended Penn State University, where she received a bachelor of architecture degree. She now works for an architectural firm in Bethlehem.

She told the students, "This was me 15 years ago," and went on to share a list of things for them to remember as they continue on their academic journey.

Andrews said it's important for the students to stay motivated, prepare for a roller-coaster ride, choose a good group of friends, appreciate the small school atmosphere and be sure to have fun.

Principal Paula Husar and school guidance counselor Kevin Carroll then presented the awards to the students.

Seventh-grade honorees were Matthew Binder, Tanner Burnett, Lucas Christman, Mia Fantasia, Nathaniel Galgoci, Devyn Hauser, Ezekiel Himmelwright, Ashley Mosier, Katelyn Rehatchek and Reshan Selvavelautham.

Those students attained the Top 10 averages in their respective class.

Eighth-grade honorees were Holly Ahner, Jessica Bauer, Eric Baumgardt, Cassidy Beltzner, Brody Boehler, Alea Brazil, Brianna Brennan, Krista Carlin, Ian Farrell, Carolyn Frohnheiser, Seth Howell, Emma Kimmel, Kory Kratzer, Hayden Kresge, Rachelle Kroboth, Alyssa Lamparelli, Timothy Maradeo, Julie McGowan, Owen Mendes, Nicholas Molitor, Colby Moyer, Avery Neipert, Hanna Nesfeder, Owen Reis, Krystal Salter, Noah Schaffer, Bethany Thomas and Ryan Yacone.

Those students earned the Presidential Award for Educational Excellence by averaging at least 90 percent during the first three marking periods, and by scoring advanced in math and reading on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment test.

The Sen. Argall Good Citizenship Award was presented to eighth-graders Neipert and Jacob Taschler.

The award goes to students who display the qualities of good citizenship through the display of outstanding character, leadership and scholarship.

They also demonstrated a willingness to accept responsibility and meet challenges put forth by the administration and faculty.

Afterward, Husar offered some words of encouragement to the students.

She said they have matured into terrific young adults, and learned what it means to be a responsible member of their community.

Husar told the students to always be the best that they can be, and cautioned that things may not always come as easy to them in the future.

She then encouraged them to be humble about their accomplishments, and to congratulate others on their achievements as well.

Finally, she told them to get involved, and stay involved.