By Melissa Campos, Corps Member, Sony Team at John Liechty Middle School

Close your eyes and imagine a world of red jackets creeping through school halls, with eyes dark as night searching for a whole school community. The Sony Team at John Liechty Middle School (JLMS) kicked off All Hallow’s Eve with a flash mob. Our team performed the Thriller dance routine in front of the entire school for our Fall Pep Fest held that afternoon. The Fall Pep Fest was a combination of a Pep Rally and Festival. We had several performances, six game booths varying from a photo booth and a tug-of-words booth, to a spine chilling haunted house. The team came together to carefully handcraft a space in which our students, staff, and administration could embrace a culture that promoted community and gave students a safe space to celebrate the holiday.

Just five days earlier, we were busy getting ready for the JLMS Harvest Dance for students who had a 90% or higher attendance record. We transformed the dark multi-purpose room into a full-fledged club, pumping beats from electronic to salsa music. The dance featured DJ Octavio, the school’s plant manager, and face painting by a Corps member along with hundreds of dancing pre-teens. In the midst of all the activities, we stopped to wonder what we had gotten ourselves into by organizing the dance. It was an intimidating yet empowering sight to see a crowded room full of 400 students. We had pulled off the most successful school dance in JLMS history! Members of the administration, faculty and partner organizations were present to watch the students socialize and partake in the dancing festivities.

Thanks to the amazing support we received from our administration, staff and the various others such as Gear Up, Communities in Schools, and Woodcraft Rangers, we were able to promote a sense of community and fun within our school. Students were given a reason to express their school pride and to participate in educational events that provided a sense of belonging that our students had yet to experience in the 2012-13 school year. The official JLMS Harvest Dance and Fall Pep Fest were both a huge success. The Sony Team is extremely proud of pulling off these events, which also served as a reminder that that when we all work together, we become one powerful Liechty shark!

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