ROSS TWP. — Proving that together they can do great things, the students and staff at Ross Elementary School learned their efforts to set a Guinness World Record was successful.
The 285 students and two dozen staff members set a new world record this month for the “longest chain of bracelets” when their eight-month effort to make friendship bracelets and string them together was officially measured and counted in a way that met Guinness’ strict standards.
The 7,507 bracelets, when tied together, measured 2,678 feet. That was well more than the 810-foot-long friendship bracelet previously recognized as the Guinness World Record mark that’s been held since 2011 by students of Owingsville Elementary School in Kentucky.
Ross Elementary School Principal Donny James knew that Guinness could take weeks, if not months, to review the film and documentation proving the record was met, so he used $550 from the school’s building fund to pay to “fast track” the submission.
“We wanted an official announcement to come while our kids were still here,” James said Thursday.
A call to Guinness this week resulted in preliminary confirmation that the record was set and will be recognized. James wanted art teacher Jill Vanderhook to make the announcement to the students because many of the bracelets were made during art class.
But on Tuesday, Vanderhook was in Lake Noxen Elementary School, where she also teaches.
James was able to get Vanderhook on a speaker phone and then turned on the school’s public address system and have her make the announcement to the staff and students.
The students erupted in cheers, screams and applause.
“It was music to my ears,” James said.
James came up with the idea to try for world record last summer while driving and listening to a radio broadcast detailing a local attempt at a world record in Forty Fort. He thought such an event could bring the students closer together and could be tied in with the annual anti-bullying program.
By the first week of October, the plan was in place, and the first friendship bracelets were being made. But there was a snag. By mid-February, the school believed it had enough to break the world record but later learned that a group from India had submitted evidence that it had broken the Kentucky school record by creating a chain of 4,123 bracelets.
So the students picked up the pace and kept making bracelets until the record attempt was measured May 1.
But one mention in the record book will have to suffice for now.
“I think we’ll take a break and let things settle down,” James said, noting that a lot of work, planning and paperwork was required to take the project from attempt to record.
But having the record under the school’s belt is something to be proud of for years to come, even if their record is eventually broken.
“It’s a pretty neat accomplishment,” James said.