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AUBURN — Children on stilts, superheroes and even a shark invaded Seward Elementary School in Auburn to a packed audience's delight Friday night as fifth-grade students performed tricks and acted out humorous skits at a circus-themed event.

Circus trainers Larry Rundle and Josh Edelman, known as The Incredible Larry and Joshua J. Superstar, respectively, emceed the event. Rundle and Edelman had been doing circus tricks with students in the school in physical education classes but had been working on tricks with the students in small groups throughout the week in preparation for the event, which is supported by Seward's parent teacher organization.  

Before the event began, students Ella Losani, Angelia Bartolotta and Jerika Bovee stood among their classmates in a hallway, waiting to perform for a crammed crowd at the school's gym. Ella and Angelia said they didn't want to mess up in front of everyone, while Jerika, stone-faced, declared she wasn't nervous at all. Ella said she enjoyed practicing her trick all week. 

"It's challenging, but it's really fun," she said.

Ella was at the front at the entrance, shoulders hunched and wide eyes with her hands by her face, while Angelia grabbed her comrade's shoulders with gigawatt smile plastered her face and the two led the students to the performance area.

First up were the students on stilts. Their eyes occasionally darted downward as they moved from one end of the performing area to the other. At the end of their performance, the students maneuvered through cones and walked on mats, each higher than the other. Once Jerika cleared each cone and mat, a smile escaped her face and as she jumped to the ground. 

Other students flipped sticks in the air while others flung Chinese yo-yos and others balanced plates. Diego Carrillo-St. Andrews balanced a plate with a stick several feet high, breaking out into dance steps.

"We talked about this. Keep it to 10 seconds!" Edelman joked.

Students dressed as superheroes and villains pretended to play tug of war while a student playing a character called Captain Peanut broke up the game. At another point, Edelman presented students acting the film "Jaws" as a romance. A student dressed as a shark stood out while the song "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion played with other students to their sides, to the audience's laughter.

PTO co-president Kara Georgi said she loves seeing the look on a student's eye when they successful pull off a trick in front of a crowd and that the event is a "celebration of the community.

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Staff writer Kelly Rocheleau can be reached at (315) 282-2243 or kelly.rocheleau@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @KellyRocheleau.

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Education Reporter