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December 13, 2013

'Braving' the elements: Community Montessori performs flash mob

Event at Green Tree Mall emphasized emotion, social development

CLARKSVILLE — Whether it goes viral or not, at least they had the guts to do it.

Students, instructors and parents from Community Montessori in New Albany filled an area in Green Tree Mall just outside J.C. Penney for a singing, dancing and signing flash mob of Sara Bareilles’ song, “Brave,” on Thursday.

Barbara Burke Fondren, director of the school, said the idea of getting about 350 people out for the performance was to encourage them to be themselves fearlessly.

“I don’t think anyone felt alone. They were all a part of a group, people that have a very like-minded visions about the world and about people,” Burke Fondren said. “I think with that, they probably felt strength from that process, as well.”

Students sang and danced, but also used sign language to sing along during the show.

Miranda Todd, a parent at the school, said her daughter, Emma, participated in the performance. She said a lot of grown-ups could learn something from the students’ performance.

“I think it’s a beautiful, amazing lesson,” Todd said. “I think it’s a life-lesson; a lot of adults are walking around without having learned it.”

Bradley Powell, a 15-year-old student at the school, said he’s been in theater productions before, so singing and dancing in front of a crowd doesn’t faze him. But he said for those who aren’t used to performing like that, it could help them come out of their shells.

“[They’re] probably seeing a lot of people watch and think about what they’re thinking,” Powell said. “They learn a new thing, they learn sign language, or dancing, or singing or whether they can actually do those things in front of a crowd. “

Burke Fondren said she hopes the demonstration reaches students, parents and teachers to show them that school is about more than tests, but about the emotional and social development of children.

“Coming out here and seeing people recognizing their hard work,” she said, “that’s less about the grade of their school and more about what the individual puts work ethic into.”

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Judy Lunsford works on a lesson plan for her students with fellow teachers, Ellen Rothstein and Adam Stephens, in her classroom at Northaven Elementary in Jeffersonville Wednesday afternoon. Lunsford, a new addition to Northaven, will be teaching second grade.

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