Student ‘mob’ wants to make a difference

Grace Jackson, Kirti Venkatesh and Brielle Dean-Johns are a mini-mob right now, but on Oct. 21 they will be part of a trendy flash mob to promote reading.

On Friday a flash mob will descend upon Greencastle, and that’s not a bad thing. Such mobs are gaining in popularity since the first one in 2003, and a gathering is defined by Wikipedia as “a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and sometimes seemingly pointless act for a brief time, then disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment, satire or artistic expression.”

Greencastle-Antrim Middle School students are participating in a flash mob for an educational purpose during the annual Make A Difference Day.

Sixty 6th graders, from the homerooms of Ben Herrmann and Lacey Fegan, will become a reading flash mob downtown. They will stop at various locations and read books. And it will be from a different book each time, so that they can be exposed to what their peers like to read.

The teachers are using the event to help the students understand the value of reading, both while in school and as adults. The boys and girls will evaluate the bit they read, then listen to a person at the business explain how reading is still part of their lives.

“We want them to understand the global impact of reading,” said Herrmann.

Fegan is also anxious to introduce them to places around town which some students were not aware existed, including the Lilian S. Besore Memorial Library. The crew will spend the morning there helping with indoor and outdoor projects. A pharmacist will come to share her reading experiences throughout life.

The flash mob will visit two businesses on Center Square, then meet by two schools on the district campus, plus Kaley Field. They will return to the classroom in time to catch the bus home.

Herrmann notes that the students will learn about some of the activity taking place in Greencastle, including the capital campaigns of Besore and G-A MAAX for Kaley Field.

Morning kickoff

The middle school students will first hear from a guest speaker, Hollywood Ruch, a 14-year-old boy from Mechanicsburg. He is a winner in the Prudential Spirit of Community Award for Pennsylvania.

At an assembly at the high school, Hollywood will talk about the impetus for his public speaking career at such a young age. When he was five, he was injured in an alcohol-related car accident, and subsequently was picked on by his classmates. Several years later he decided to follow Dr. Martin Luther King’s example to make an impact on his own world. He speaks about 40 times a year on bullying, substance abuse and drunk driving.

Then the sixth, seventh and eighth grade students will spread out in a wide territory to make a difference to someone. The Show Choir will sing at the Greencastle Senior Center. Several homerooms will assist at equestrian centers and an animal shelter. Some groups will make improvements to school facilities and Antietam Battlefield. Another bunch will bowl or skate to raise money for Besore and G-A MAAX.