Round Hills hoppers hoping to set Guinness world record

Round Hills Elementary School may be closing its doors at the end of the school year, but its name may live on in the record books if it is successful in its attempt this week to break a Guinness world record for the most people playing hopscotch simultaneously.

“Our goal was to close Round Hills with a celebration, and this was a celebration,” said Principal Cindy Schuyler after the event.

“This is a big deal,” said Wendy Potope, a member of the Round Hills parent-teacher organization, to the participants before they began their games. “You guys are about to try to break a world record.”

The world record-breaking attempt had 367 students, parents, administrators and community members counted and participating. The current record of 358 individuals was set in 2011 in London.

It will take six weeks to receive notice if they officially have broken the record. The attempt was approved by Guinness more than a month ago, but it will have to verify photos, video recordings and other documents before awarding the record.

The PTO coordinated the event after the organization’s president thought of the idea, Potope said.

“In July 2012, we found out that this was the last year for the school. Becky Harding, PTO president, came to me and said, ‘Let’s do a world record. Let’s put Round Hills on the map,’ ” Potope said.

As participants entered the hopscotching area, which had hopscotch grids painted on the school’s lawn, they were counted by official witnesses. They were required to follow official hopscotch rules, which were enforced by volunteer stewards, and play the entire time until each group of four participants finished a single game.

Warm temperatures didn’t stop the attempt as Potope said everyone “toughed it out.”

Schuyler said students have been looking forward to this since they found out they were going to attempt the record. Students have been practicing and learning the rules the past few weeks in gym class.

As the group finished skipping and jumping through their hopscotches, Schuyler noted the encouragement and smiles from all participants.

“It was fun. There was a lot of team spirit,” Schuyler said.

Potope said they hope to be able to present the school board with the certificate of a new world record so that it can be displayed in the district service center.

“That way everyone who comes into the DSC can see how amazing Round Hills was,” she said.

Besides breaking a record, the hope also is to give students a special memory of their year.

“They can look back and say, ‘Remember when we were at Round Hills and did the Guinness World Record attempt?’ ” Potope said.

And although official word of a new Guinness World Record won’t come until after the school closes, Potope said she’s proud of the effort.

“It was overwhelming to see so many kids excited. And their parents and grandparents participated to make it happen,” Potope said. “We’re trying to do anything and everything to boost (moral). It’s getting down to the end and we’re going to set a world record.”