Students at a Franklin Square high school set a Guinness World Record on Nov. 27 for the longest chain of cereal boxes falling like dominoes, only to be beaten the next day by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Undeterred, they tried again Sunday afternoon and reclaimed their crown.
H. Frank Carey High School seniors Frank Porcasi and Gabriella Fiumaro spearheaded both successful attempts. The cereal boxes used will be sent to Naples, Florida, and Puerto Rico to aid hurricane relief.
For the first attempt, Porcasi and Fiumaro had months to plan the event, make calculations and collect donations. The second time, they had only six days.
“We already knew any hiccups or mistakes we had the first time, we knew what we were going to do to avoid those,” Porcasi said. “This one ran a lot smoother than the first one.”
Students at Carey saw tweets from Johnson on Tuesday about breaking the same record as the school. His setup consisted of 3,000 cereal boxes that were donated to The Midnight Mission, a Los Angeles foundation that helps the homeless.
“We both thought it was a joke,” Fiumaro said. “I couldn’t go back to these kids and tell them and break their hearts.”
Porcasi and Fiumaro approached their principal, Christopher Fiore, about trying to break the record at the school again.
“In the beginning, I was like, look, just be happy that we did it,” Fiore said. “But the more we talked and seeing how disappointed they were, I knew I had to do something.”
The cereal boxes from the first try were already packed up and on their way to destinations in Florida and Puerto Rico, but Fiore and the students called FedEx and convinced the firm to ship the boxes back so they could be used again.
Associated Foods, a company that owns supermarkets in the metropolitan and surrounding areas, donated 2,800 boxes for the original run. For the second try, they donated enough cereal to bring the record to 3,416 boxes.
According to Fiore, there were twice as many volunteers helping the second time, with about 143 students signed up.
“Just hearing things in the hallway, everyone making comments about it in such a positive manner, it’s just been completely uplifting for everyone,” Fiore said.
“This is like the biggest thing for our community,” Fiumaro said. “I love that we’re talking about it for a great reason rather than a negative one. It makes it all worthwhile and everyone appreciates your hard work.”
Before the boxes could fall, groups of students were meticulously counting and placing them, making sure that the boxes weren’t too close or far apart. Physics and math teachers helped calculate the right distance between boxes and how curves in the chain should be set up.
Four independent witnesses who are unassociated with the school counted the boxes, recorded the entire time by multiple cameras. The footage will be submitted to Guinness World Records as proof the school broke the record — again.