If you think getting into the Guinness Book of World Records is easy, think again.
As the official witness to the Ross Elementary School students’ attempt to get into the book for the world’s longest friendship bracelet, I learned firsthand that having your name entered into the official world record book for anything is no easy task and I’m now even more impressed with anyone who does get their name in the book.
After intense research as to the kind of project to be attempted, there’s all kinds of documentation to be completed before your record-breaking attempt even begins. Ross Elementary School Principal Donny James can attest to that.
Everything - and I mean everything - has to be done exactly as Guinness requires it to be done.
In the Ross Elementary case, the measurement of the length of the bracelets needed to be recorded by professional land surveyors. Don Bolton and Jess Kronenwetter of the Borton Lawson Engineering Firm did just that. Their boss, Don Spencer, is the father of Ross fourth-grader Jessica Spencer. Because of his relationship to the school, Spencer could not participate in the official measurement so he volunteered the services of Bolton and Kronenwetter, who not only offered their expertise but their good humor, as well.
A newspaper editor needed to officially witness the attempt. That’s where I came in - and was honored to do so. Principal James asked me to be at the school at 8:30 in the morning. I’m an early riser, so that wasn’t a problem. What he didn’t tell me was that I needed to witness the counting of every single bracelet - all 7,507 of them - which took nearly four hours, making for a very long day and an experience I wouldn’t trade for all the friendship bracelets in the world. Besides, it was a beautiful day and I got a great start on my summer tan.
The measuring and the counting needed to be recorded, both with still photography and videography. Teacher Jen Welby held a video camera during the entire counting process while PTO volunteer Cheri Derhammer photographed the surveyors counting the bracelets and the numbers recorded on their surveying wheel.
Bill, Jess and I had to fill out three-page documents about our involvement when the entire process was completed.
All of that documentation, including the bracelets, will be sent to Guinness and the wait begins. The record doesn’t stand until officials at Guinness say it does.
Here’s what I learned as an official Guinness Book of World Records witness:
* The Ross Elementary School students not only know how to have a good time but are incredibly well behaved.
* Professional land surveyors are not always as serious as they appear to be when they’re looking through the lens of that odd-looking equipment they use.
* The faculty and staff at Ross Elementary School are committed to teaching and guiding the youngsters in their care.
* Donny James is still passionate about being the principal at Ross Elementary after nine years and motivates the faculty and staff in their commitment.
* Red’s makes a mean tuna hoagie. Thanks, Principal James, for that.
* All of us who participated in the attempt to become world record holders are now forever bonded. And we’re all still trying to get those numbers out of our heads.
- Dotty Martin