Students aim for record

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 14, 2008

NATCHEZ — Throughout Thursday, 350 fourth graders at McLaurin Elementary School participated in an event with one goal in mind — accomplishing every child’s dream of being in the Guinness Book of World Records.

The students at McLaurin participated in the third annual World Sport Stack Association Stack Up event, a world-wide coordinated effort that — if enough students around the globe participated — will be logged into the Guinness record book as the “most people sport stacking at multiple locations in one day.”

In 2007, 143,530 students participated in the event.

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Physical Education teacher Babbs Grey was first introduced to sport stacking at a conference a couple of years ago, and she said when she learned about the event last year, she knew what she had to do.

“I decided those kids were going to be included in breaking that record,” she said.

“Students from Hong Kong to Sri Lanka to Great Britain are all taking part in this today.”

In sport stacking, participants are given 12 plastic cups, and they have to stack and deconstruct them in a variety of pyramid formations for 30 minutes at a time.

During the stacking process, students have to use both their right and left hands in patterns that cross back and forth in the pyramidal schematic.

“It makes you use both sides of your brain,” Grey said.

Students Elbert Lyles and Lyndon Ivory sat back and gave their classmate Markel King props for his skill at cup pyramid construction and demolition.

But he didn’t think his talent was anything special.

“I just like stacking them up,” King said.

While they both acknowledged King’s prowess, Ivory and Lyles weren’t willing to compromise on who was second best.

Even as Lyles protested that it simply wasn’t true, Ivory said, “I’m faster than him, but every time I look at him, he starts cheating.”

Cheating in speed stacking can come in a number of ways — not using your hands in the proper sequence, only using one hand or starting to break the pyramids down before you finish.

Even while he maintained his innocence, however, Lyles was willing to admit one thing.

“I’m scared (about the record),” he said.

But where Lyles was afraid, Yasmine Phipps was confident.

“I want to get the book if we do (break the record),” she said.

Even though the rest of the school day went on while the students created and took apart their plastic half-pentacles in shifts that coincided with their recesses and physical education classes, the exercise did not go unnoticed.

“There is an art class downstairs (below the gymnasium), and the teacher came up and said, ‘I knew something must have been up. It sounds like rain down there,’” Grey said.