Students at Persell Middle School spent time after school attempting to break a world record.
On Thursday, a group of 19 fifth-graders and 21 sixth-graders spent a half-hour sport stacking along with more than 400,000 other students from all over the world. The group was part of an event called Stack Up Day, a yearly attempt at breaking the Guinness World Record mark for "Most People Sport Stacking at Multiple Locations in One Day."
Sport stacking is a sport in which participants attempt to stack specialized plastic cups in specific sequences in as little time as possible. The sport is headed by the World Sport Stacking Association, who created and enforces the rules of the sport as well as hosting the worldwide Stack Up Day event.
Students at Persell Middle School participate in national Stack Up Day on Thursday.
P-J photos by Gavin Paterniti
This is the first year that Persell Middle School has been involved in Stack Up Day, which was started in 2005. The school was registered by David Dix, physical education teacher at Persell, who has been implementing sport stacking in the school's curriculum for approximately 10 years.
"I initially learned about (sport stacking) at a New York State Physical Education conference," said Dix. "Every year they have displays and clinics to learn about it so when I purchased these packs of about 30 sets (of cups), I gave them my email address. They sent me an email about the Guinness record for most people stacking at one time. So that's how I heard about it, I went online and quickly registered us."
Robin Storer, also a physical education teacher at Persell, has also been teaching sport stacking to her students.
According to Storer, the timing of Stack Up Day was very fortuitous for the students because it overlapped with the sport stacking curriculum.
"Every student at Persell gets two days of cup stacking throughout the year," said Storer. "It's part of a cycle that everybody goes through in regular physical education class. This is the first year we've participated in the Guinness Book of World Records here but we've been cup stacking since 2002."
Participants at Persell included sixth-graders Nolan Stevenson and Carley Westphal.
"I started (stacking) last year," said Carley. "One of my teachers had (a set of cups) in her classroom and for free time all of my friends and I would race each other."
"I think it's very fun and it's exciting to be racing against each other," said Nolan. "It's nice to have that feeling that you're going to be in the (Guinness Book of World Records)."
The gym teachers at Persell have chosen to implement sport stacking in their curriculum based on studies confirming that stacking improves hand-eye coordination and reaction time by 30 percent. Sport stacking also helps students develop bilateral proficiency equal performance on both sides of the body, which stimulates the right side of the brain housing skills like awareness, focus, creativity and rhythm. The elements of sequencing and patterning can also help with reading and math skills.
The Stack Up Day event can be monitored with a running tally on the World Sport Stacking Association's website: www.thewssa.com. The website also provides a list of all schools and organizations participating as well as a list of rules for individual results to be tallied. Schools can verify their participation through a link provided by the WSSA via email. Every school must have at least 25 students registered in order to participate and a witness must be present to verify the results.
The goal of Stack Up Day is to increase the number of participating stackers each year. The number that Stack Up Day 2012 hopes to pass is last year's total of 412,295 and its overall goal is to reach 450,000 stackers.