Panther Valley's Harmony Scholars rehearse "In the Same Boat" from the Broadway musical "Curtains." Front, from left, Noah Berk, Danielle Hudicka and Hunter Kerestes. Back row: Kayleia Polanco, Christina Dacey, Cassie Woodward, Shelby Stempa, Gary Goodhile, Alex Lebo and Jonathan Reynolds. CHRIS REBER/TIMES NEWS
The end of the school year can bring a lot of stress for high school students, but at Panther Valley, it means one of the most exciting events of the year: Harmony Scholars.
For more than 25 years, students at Panther Valley have been putting on the choreographed production. This year's performances take place at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights.
"I'm not nervous. I do football and wrestling, and that's in front of people. This is fun, I get to act silly and not have people care," junior Noah Berk said.
This year, 52 students are in the cast for the show. And they represent different interests - from football players like Berk, to JROTC cadets like Sarah Markovich.
"There are so many different groups - baseball, track, cheerleaders, and we all hang out together. People that wouldn't normally talk, talk," Markovich, a junior, said.
The scholars program is something unique in Carbon County. Students lip-sync along to songs from musical theater, while performing choreographed dances in full costumes.
The songs are chosen by the longtime producers of the show, a group of five moms whose children have long since graduated from Panther Valley.
"All year long we go YouTube, mainly shows like the Macy's parade, you see the Broadway shows, comedian things," producer Kathy Crampsie said.
Any student in grades nine through 12 can sign up. Freshmen often put in their time on the stage crew before getting promoted to the cast.
Each year, the money raised from the program goes to two scholarships - usually given to a male and female member of the cast.
They also make donations, including to a family that lost their home to fire this year.
This year, the group decided to dedicate the program to Panther Valley coach Patrick Crampsie, who was a Courage Award recipient at this year's ACS Telethon at Penn's Peak. He in turn asked them to honor the Cancer Society.
Markovich said that for the students, the performance is always a great experience - both on stage and off.
"I wait all year for this. There are two seasons - there's harmony and waiting for harmony," she said.