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Junior high hit with flash mob

Teachers dance for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Posted: October 13, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 13, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Laura Shay dances with teachers and administrators during a flash mob event at Sierra Vista Junior High in Canyon Country on Friday. The dance was not just a treat for students, but also in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

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When she was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer four years ago, Sierra Vista Junior High School campus supervisor Laura Schmidt couldn’t have imagined she’d be dancing Friday.

“I was told by my doctor that if it weren’t for everyone raising money (for breast cancer research), I wouldn’t be here today because I was so advanced,” Schmidt said.

“But here I am, four years this month, and I’m able to dance,” she said with a smile.

And dance she did. Along with about three dozen other “family members,” she joined in a flash-mob dance in front of about 1,200 screaming and cheering children in Sierra Vista’s main yard Friday. Teachers and staff danced to “Gangnam Style,” a pop-culture dance fad that has a music video with more than 400 million views on YouTube.

The students, even the Associated Student Body members who planned the event, thought Friday’s gathering was to celebrate the school’s participation in DFYiT, a peer-led partnership between the William S. Hart Union High School District, law enforcement and the city to encourage students to stay drug-free.

Principal Mark Crawford said he told students that if 50 of them signed up for DFYiT, he’d hold a dance contest.

After the school hit the 75-student mark, Crawford said he would be dancing.

Rob Isquierdo Jr., an English teacher who began teaching at Sierra Vista this year, saw this as an opportunity to get to better know his pupils and peers. He seized it.

Isquierdo came up for the idea of a flash mob from a friend visiting South Korea, who told him the “Gangnam Style” dance would be the next big craze. That was before it went viral thanks to YouTube, he said.

Isquierdo organized practices so teachers and staff could learn the moves. During the rehearsals, he learned about Schmidt’s story; the event took on a new meaning, he said.

The teachers decided to wear pink and also make the dance a celebration of breast cancer awareness, survivors’ stories and the school’s drive to raise $1,600 to fight breast cancer.

It might have been his promise, or the school’s recent 32-point increase in standardized test scores, but true to his word, Crawford joined several students for a second impromptu dance after the main dance was over.

“We wanted to show our students we are more than just educators, and that we’ll do anything to put a smile on their faces,” said Isquierdo, who was sporting a pink headband and novelty glasses. “And I think we showed that out there today.”

psmith@the-signal.com

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