On Sunday, the Acro Knights of Walla Walla Valley Academy will reinterpret the classic "Star Wars" story through gymnastics, dancing and plenty of pyramids -- all for a good cause. The money raised at their annual home show will help send the acrobatic student team to Jamaica next year to volunteer at an orphanage.
In 2009, during their spring break, the Acro Knights took their first trip to Jamaica and worked with a government orphanage, Embracing Orphans, to help build much-needed facilities and to perform for the children. The Acro Knights also performed for tourists to raise money for the orphanage.
"We had a great time there," Coach Scott Schafer said of their trip. "So next year, we're going to go back to them ... It's a great cause."
The Acro Knights practice year-round and travel the Northwest, performing at schools and other venues. At the end of each year, their hard work culminates in a final home performance, complete with pyramid formations and an elaborate theme suggested by students.
"We ended up with Star Wars this year, because last year, we did Broadway, and a lot of boys were complaining," Schafer explained. "They said, 'If you do Broadway, you've got to do Star Wars next year.' I try to let the kids have input."
Since the Acro Knights program began in 1995, it has expanded to include a Junior Varsity team and a Junior Acro program for students from kindergarten to eighth grade. The Varsity, Junior Varsity and Junior Acro teams will all perform in Sunday's show.
While Coach Schafer focuses on the acrobatic components of the performance, local college students and choreographers help him keep things organized and bring sparkle to the final production.
As the date of the final performance nears, Schafer thinks the Acro Knights are ready.
"We have good pyramids, and I like the storyline we have," he said. "It's really coming together, and ... people will enjoy seeing it."