LEWISTOWN - Students and faculty from Lewistown Intermediate School and Mifflin County Middle School may have earned the title of Guinness World Record holders.
Everyone gathered Friday morning on the athletic fields between the schools in an attempt to break the world record for the longest high-five chain. Kelly Manning, an LIS teacher who organized the effort, said it was an incentive for students to prepare for and participate in standardized testing. The chain, originally scheduled for early April, was postponed until Friday due to weather.
At about 8:30 a.m. under a bright blue sky and intermittent sun, students lined up at the tennis courts to pick up wristbands.
Sentinel photo by JULIANNE CAHILL
Fifth grade student Nick Goss, right, high-fives James Kenepp. Students were instructed to keep one hand behind their back and accept and receive high-fives only with the hand marked by a wristband.
Kinsley Kukurender, a seventh grade student at MCMS, said students were instructed to put their wristband on one hand and receive and give their high-fives with the same hand. For the high-five to count, both students were required to raise their hand above their head with a 90 degree angle at the elbow. Both hands had to move toward each other and make an audible clap. When she received a high-five from the person in front of her, Kukurender turned and high-fived the person behind her.
"I was nervous I was scared I was going to mess up," she said.
Other students, Taylor Miller and Whitney Kenepp, shared the same concern.
Despite some nerves, the field was full of energy and anticipation as students played card games, read books and practiced high-fiving while they waited for the chain to begin. At about 9:40 a.m., a firetruck on scene blew its siren and the first hands clapped.
As high-fives moved down the line, each class of students became quiet and focused on carrying out the clap correctly. Just one wrong move could negate the whole thing, Manning said.
When the high-five was safely out of range, students jumped and cheered to celebrate a job well done. There were several celebratory pile-ups, a few groups hoisting friends into the air and one wheelbarrow race toward the end of the line.
The last hands clapped at about 10 a.m.
"I didn't expect everybody to go that fast," said Brody Kenepp, seventh grade. "I had fun."
Martin McCalips said the sheer size of the circle was greater than he expected. The line of students stretched around the entire perimeter of the field from the softball diamond to the far fence, around the football practice field and back to the parking lot beside the tennis courts.
In all, 1,342 individuals high-fived, and every clap was recorded on video. The video will be submitted for consideration to Guinness World Records. As of March, the record was held by a hotel in Hawaii that organized a chain of 1,110 high-fives.
"I didn't see anyone miss," Manning said. "It actually went better than I expected."