News & Events

Record-breaking fun (for a cause)

Have you ever attempted to set a Guinness world record? We’ve all likely thought about the possibility, or wondered about what category we might stand a chance in … but not many of us have actually tried.

At Skwo:wech Elementary, a brave grade 4 student named Andi just did what so many of us never will, and made her very own attempt at breaking a world record.

What record did she try to beat? The tallest stack of hats balanced on someone’s head!

The idea was born from two goals: a desire to help the community and the hope to experience something new. And it’s something tried with a little help from her family.

Brett, Andi’s father, recently discovered that all the Guinness records are published online. As a kid, he’d always dreamed of attempting one of his own records, and wanted to share that dream with his daughter Andi. He had never seen one in the book that he thought was feasible for a child to accomplish, but that changed when he saw the hat stacking record online!

After proposing the “ridiculous idea” of breaking a world record to Andi (her words, not ours), the two began to research and prepare a few weeks in advance.

But these two dreamers saw another possibility: they realized this could be a great opportunity to connect with the school and the community … wanted to create a positive change in the effort. With the Terry Fox run quickly approaching at Skwo:wech Elementary, it felt like a perfect fit to raise funds for the Terry Fox Foundation.

So, on the Thursday before the Terry Fox Run, students gathered in the gym, buzzing in hopeful anticipation. As they walked in, they oohed and ahhed as they passed a table laden with everything from sequined fedoras to a wacky rainbow Sombrero (strictly adhering the Guiness requirements that the hats be made up of a mix of shapes and sizes). Some students even made signs to cheer on their classmate!

After a quick introduction from Vice Principal, Darren Elves, the mic was passed on to Brett to disclose the rules, and outline what their goal height was. The record (at the time of this attempt) was 107 cm. In order to beat it, the hat-stack would have to beat that height, and then stay standing without support for 30 full seconds.

One might call it a tall order of business!

And so the first attempt began. Silence swept across the gymnasium. No one dared to say a word so as to not break Andi’s focus.

Her dad, with the help of some volunteers, stacked the hats on carefully, staggering each to maximize height and stability. Just as they reached the record height, the stack fell to the ground!

But spirits undampened, everyone cheered as Andi attempted it again, still energetic and enthused in their support. Each time, the crowd ogled as the stack of hats grew taller and taller, until it eventually tipped over again. And again. And again.

After 5 incredible attempts, Andi and her father hit the record breaking height at 115 cm. 10 seconds passed. 20 seconds. 22 seconds. 24. 26 … until the day’s efforts went crashing to the floor below. Just 4 seconds shy of landing a new world record!

So why share this story with all of you at home? Because in spite of not making the record, this attempt, in our books, was still a victory.

Andi’s efforts to dream big encouraged the community to help raise $2500 for the Terry Fox Foundation, and raising awareness for a very important cause. The next day, kids from Skwo:wech Elementary completed their Terry Fox Run with renewed vigor after watching their classmates dedication.

Andi felt incredibly excited throughout the whole process, and truly felt proud of herself for all the hard-work. While planning the project, she recognized the importance of the Terry Fox Foundation, and cancer research on the whole.

“It feels pretty good to be contributing a lot of money to research and helping people” Andi explained, “It feels like I did an important thing whether or not I did break the record.”

We have a feeling this won’t be the last you’ll see of this student with dreams as high as the sky.

If you’d like to contribute to Andi’s and her father’s fundraiser, you can do so here: