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Lakewood high school theater students return to the stage as their teacher fights cancer diagnosis

Barbara Amberg_Green Mountain High School
Posted at 6:36 AM, Nov 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-09 08:38:14-05

LAKEWOOD, Colo. — As theater students at Green Mountain High School prepare to perform a show for the first time in 18 months, the students are thinking of their beloved theater teacher, who was diagnosed with cancer.

The pandemic hit the theater program hard. High school junior Mazzy Mason said they tried to use Zoom, but it wasn't the same.

With in-person learning in full force now, Mazzy and her fellow actors finally get to perform again. Their first show since the pandemic is an adaptation of the classic show "A Christmas Carol."

"It's very exciting to be able to do it and have people come and see it," said student director Amy Stong. "It's just so good to be back."

While they feel joy being back on stage, there's also worry over their theater teacher and mentor, Barbara Amberg, as she works through a cancer diagnosis.

"To know that somebody that you love so much is struggling with that... you just don't think it's going to happen," said assistant show director Courtney Capek. "She's just resilient. That's the word that comes to mind."

Capek is a Green Mountain High School graduate. In fact, Amberg was her teacher.

"She's my mentor," Capek explained. "She's the reason I'm so passionate about theater. Now, she's family."

Amberg is loyal too. She's been a teacher at Green Mountain High School for 27 years. She graduated from the school in 1987.

"It's the best school in the state in my opinion," Amberg said with a smile.

Even through all the cancer treatments, Amberg still manages to make it to work to do what she loves. Her kids are always there as part of her support system.

"They (her students) make every day not even a challenge," Amberg said, holding back tears. "They give me joy. I have gratitude. They teach me something, and they make this job the best job there is."

The Green Mountain High School Theater department is self-sufficient. No money comes from the district to produce plays. If you would like to donate to the program, click here.

Eric Lupher and others at Denver7 are taking part in No Shave Colorado to raise money for cancer researchers working here in Colorado. You can donate to Eric's fundraising account directly or follow this link to learn more about the team effort.