Number of Participants: 1
Hours Donated: 390
Value of Time Served: $3,296
Event Amount Raised: $4,700
Event Type: Crisis Support
Date: December 3, 2017
H Frank Carey High School
Poppy Avenue, Franklin Square
Senior year can seem like a bit of a hurricane for most students. Personally, mine was shaping up no differently. I had college interviews and applications to prepare for, I had the honor of being the captain of our two time Rutgers Cup Long Island Championship football team and at the same time I had to balance schoolwork, a job and family life. If there was anything I had learned from being an athlete all these years, it was to demonstrate discipline, drive, diligence and dedication in order to balance these aspects of my life. And then the real storm hit. I couldn’t ignore the fact that although I had so much going on, people across the country had been devastated by the recent hurricanes and were in need.
In September, with my helmet in my hands and my cleats on my feet , I pitched an idea to my principal, Mr. Fiore, regarding a way in which we could come together as a school community and aid the unfortunate victims of Hurricanes Maria, Irma and Harvey. I explained to him how I wanted our school to break the Guinness World Record for “most cereal boxes toppled in a domino fashion” and then donate all the cereal boxes to the hurricane victims. The idea was quite bizarre and far-fetched, evident by the uneasy chuckle my principal gave me when I explained it to him. In fact, it sounded even more unrealistic when I told him the number of boxes we had to topple: 2,686. However, after some convincing, my principal enthusiastically jumped on board and we began to take on this huge project.
Knowing that I would need some help, I shared the idea with our school president, and although reluctant at first, she was on board as well. Slowly, I began to assemble a game plan of the goals we would need to accomplish to break this world record. What resulted from this was a demanding project that took far more time, effort and patience than we imagined. There was no playbook for something this far-reaching. Using my platform as captain of the football team, my teammates and I rallied together and went door to door for donations to fund the cereal purchase and shipping costs. In addition, my classmate and I made an endless amount of phone calls and visits to super markets, food banks, wholesale stores, cereal companies and shipping companies. We approached local businesses and asked managers to donate food or monetary donations as well. Furthermore, I coordinated meetings with Physics teachers and math teachers to calculate the shape and logistics of our domino blueprint. We even organized a photography and videography crew, as well as a group of students to help us with the assemblage of the boxes.
The coordination of this project was certainly not easy. In my pregame mindset I thought, “would this be a touchdown or would we fumble on the goal line?” However, the playoff-like atmosphere that flooded the gym boosted my confidence. The court that I usually found myself dribbling down this time of year, I was now barely able to see because of the 2,859 boxes of corn flakes that carpeted it. Teachers, students, councilmen and community members packed the stands for one of the biggest events in the Sewanhaka Central High School District’s history. Additionally, we live-streamed the event which enabled children in elementary schools in the school district to watch us make history. We even had news coverage from News 12, Verizon Fios 1, Newsday and ABC Eyewitness News. It was an unforgettable experience. No touchdown or field goal could compare to the excitement racing through our building.
However, our victory was short lived. Just twenty four hours later, believe it or not, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson beat our world record, toppling over 3,006 boxes. The news was something that devastated not only the school body, but the community as well. We were faced with a giant curveball. The shot clock was ticking. Do we beat “The Rock,” reclaim our title and donate an additional 550 boxes to the hurricane victims, or do we cut our losses? Being the close knit community we are, this terrible news brought us together once again. This being the case, news networks were even more interested in covering this event now that a celebrity was involved. We assembled once again in the gym, this time in larger numbers with “The Rock” tweeting his support to us. We not only knocked down the boxes, but we knocked “The Rock” out of the ring! This not only put H. Frank Carey High School in the spotlight, but it put our neighborhood of Franklin Square on the map. We had taken back the record and toppled a whopping 3,416 boxes, which were then packed up and sent to Hurricane victims in Florida and Puerto Rico. In addition, surplus funds were donated to charities in Texas.