It took less than two minutes for more than 200 Longleaf Elementary students to forge their place in Guinness World Record history.
Earlier this fall, the school set out to break the record for world's Largest Hula Hoop Workout. School leaders choreographed a routine that lasted 1 minute, 44 seconds, and invited students from kindergarten through the fifth grade to participate.
When Nov. 8 arrived, 221 kids hit the playground to perform the hula hoop routine — 90 more than the previous high set in the United Kingdom. The school got official word this week that Guinness accepted the record.
"We probably could have had 50 to 100 more kids out there," teacher Donna Qualtiere said. "We just didn't have any more hula hoops."
The school does a hula hoop unit each year for physical education. This fall, students approached Qualtiere asking for a bigger challenge than usual.
Qualtiere told them if they could come up with something, she'd consider it.
The students investigated the Guinness World Records and found several categories. Their teacher sent in an application to pursue a record and left it there.
A couple of months passed, and Guinness officials called from New York, asking the school to break the hula hoop workout record and offering to send judges to rule on the effort.
"We had 2 1/2 weeks to get it all together," Qualtiere said.
That proved enough time. They did their thing for the judges and waited for certification. On Thursday — Guinness World Records Day — the school was enshrined into the record book and featured prominently on the organization's website, alongside the Largest Rag Doll (9 meters tall, in France), the Oldest Yoga Instructor (91-year-old Bernice Mary Bates of Pinellas Park) and the Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Leprechauns (262 people in Dublin).
The excited kids already are asking for another challenge. Qualtiere said that will have to wait: "We're still on a high from this."