Thousands of Wake County Public School students jumped rope Friday morning in an attempt to break a Guinness World Record.
It could take up to two months before students learn if they exceeded the mark of 70,881, which is the current record for the largest number of people jumping rope at multiple locations.
But Salem Elementary School teacher Sheri Fowler said the project had much more significance than just setting a new world record.
It was her fifth grade students who came up with the idea as part of a persuasive essay assignment and those same students also planned and organized the entire event.
“Setting the record would be nice but it would only be the icing on the cake,” said Fowler. “Having these students take on such a difficult task and then seeing their faces when they realized they did it, I think that was much more important.”
Fowler said the project was tied to a fundraiser held by her students a couple of years ago. Those students, who also wrote persuasive essays, eventually raised $2,000 for playground repairs by shooting a video that was shown at a local IMAX theater.
Seven younger siblings from that group were part of Fowler’s class this year who wanted to set a world record.
“I don’t know what it is about this group,” said Fowler. “We always have great support from the community but this group of students and their families are amazing.”
Once the school principal and WCPSS superintendent gave permission for the project, it was up to Fowler’s students to convince other schools to get involved.
The students wrote letters to teachers and administrators throughout Wake County and each student was responsible for a certain number of schools.
“We broke the students up into groups and they were required to keep track of different schools,” said Fowler. “The whole thing just kind off took off and it was an exciting couple of months.”
About 30 schools, nearly all elementary, agreed to participate in the project.
“It was tough,” said Fowler. “This took a lot of organizing and coordinating. The students did a wonderful job and it was awesome for their confidence.”
Plans are already being discussed for another attempt at the record next year.
“We learned a lot this year,” said Fowler. “We are already talking about next year and how can get more schools involved.”