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Central Valley Academy students act out school merger

By ANNA MEILER

ILION, N.Y. (WKTV) -- It's a tale of two rivals, Mohawk and Ilion high schools, coming together as one.

"The competition of other people coming in and having to go against a lot of new people that we didn't know what they would be like and whether they'd be better than us or on the same level," said Johnna Bernard, a former Ilion student, who was nervous about the merger.

A student from the former Mohawk High School, remembers feeling the same way before the school year started.

"It was quite scary because junior year is your important year and I didn't know what competition I was going to face with the other students," said Kaylee Sommer.

But, just ten weeks into their first unified year as Central Valley Academy, students are breaking down barriers and they're doing it through acting and songs.

"We're trying to give closure to the merger, to the old schools, we thought that was important to see where we've come, but also at the same time see where we're going and all the good," said Mark Bunce, chair of the music department.

But, before students could step on to the stage to share their stories of coming together, they had to step into the shoes of their one-time rivals.

"We had to interview students and faculty and then we had to compile it into monologues and dialogue between each other," said Bernard.

That communication created much more than a performance.

"I think people realize they weren't alone in their feelings and that change is good," said Bernard.

"Ilion students played Mohawk, Mohawk students played Ilion and it didn't matter anymore and that was sort of the beauty of the whole thing," said Bunce.

It's a story on a stage, but students hope it continues to play out in the halls.

"I think this is going to have a huge impact. It shows everybody that we're coming together. We're making process, whether it's a long time or not we're going to come together as CVA," said Sommer.

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