Sage Canyon Elementary students’ flashmob promotes friendship, tolerance

Performance at Douglas County High School a community Valentine’s gift

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The students at Sage Canyon Elementary School started a Valentine’s Day tradition that set the stage for a flashmob with more than 200 students. The dance premiered Feb. 7, at a Douglas County High School basketball game with an anti-bullying message as part of Sage Canyon’s Valentine’s Day celebration.

The elementary school opened its doors in 2010 and focuses on friendship and acceptance during the month of February. In hopes of doing something “outside of the box,” Sage Canyon students are encouraged to make their own Valentine’s Day cards with personal messages for classmates and to think about friendship first, said Principal Carrie Stephenson.

For the school’s inaugural year, students produced a Valentine’s Day video about friendships entitled “Kindness in the Classroom” that is on YouTube. This year’s theme about anti-bullying, acceptance and tolerance launched a brainstorming session that opted for a dance routine to tap into studies that show kids who exercise perform better in the classroom, Stephenson said.

“We wanted to give our kids something to look forward to,” she said. “In these snowy months we also wanted to keep them moving. Brain research shows if you keep kids moving they are better able to learn in the classroom.”

Enlisting the help of her 20-year-old daughter – who is also a high school cheerleading coach – Stephenson and a handful of parents choreographed the flashmob to the tune of Katy Perry’s “Fireworks,” with lyrics that supported the overall message of acceptance and tolerance, Stephenson said.

Sage Canyon’s student body, with about 225 kids from kindergarten through sixth grade, rehearsed for several weeks in preparation for the halftime premiere at the Douglas County High School basketball game.

The first dancer on the court was sixth-grader Connor Dietrich, 11, who was proud to start the night’s surprise.

“It felt pretty awesome,” Dietrich said. “We wanted to make people think of tolerance and acceptance and anti-bullying, so I think that really got out the message. I was really excited.”

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