|Students create 'flash mob' in Target
By Dennis Friend, World-Herald News Service, 1/26/2012
The high school students from Iowa School for the Deaf did it again Wednesday, first puzzling and then delighting customers with a "flash mob" at the Target store here.
Wearing "Deaf culture" T-shirts, the teenagers began arriving at the store at 3804 Metro Drive about 11 a.m., moving in small groups through the building as any other group of teens would when out to do a little shopping.
Target store manager Steve Hornbeck knew better. Iowa School for the Deaf officials had told him what the teens hoped to do.
"It seemed like it would be fun and wouldn't be too disruptive," Hornbeck said.
About 11:15 a.m., student John Isaacson "high-fived" a nearby student, beginning a conga line of two. The duo moved down the aisle, picking up more Iowa School for the Deaf dancers — one, two or even three at a time. Each newcomer high-fived every other dancer as he or she joined in.
Shopper Ashlei Stuart watched the conga line dance by, a group mostly silent except for the occasional giggle.
"It caught us off-guard, but it was phenomenal," said the grinning Stuart.
It didn't catch Peggy Scherling off-guard. She stood in an aisle, following and videotaping her daughter. Johanna. Scherling was not alone.
"A lot of parents are here," said Monica Dixon, an interpreter at the school.
The conga line snaked through the store until all the students joined in. Then it ended as quickly as it started, as all good flash mobs should.
Flash mobs are sudden gatherings of people who briefly perform an unexpected act, then stop the action just as quickly.
"I thought it was awesome," a beaming Peggy Scherling said.
Last year, a number of students at the school flash-mobbed a grocery store by freezing in midaction for almost 10 minutes.
"This year, the whole school is involved," Principal Shari Slater said as she watched the students.
"We wanted something different. You don't see this every day," 16-year-old flash-mobber D.J. Meyer said after the performance.
The student organizers included Cassie Contreras, Auna Ferguson, Gabby Humlicek, John Isaacson, Demarcus Thomas and Johanna Scherling.
This year's flash mob was designed to be simple enough to allow any student with mobility challenges or other special needs to participate, said Susan Trucano, drama teacher and flash mob sponsor.
"We wanted something on everyone's level," Humlicek said.