Thousands of students in Catholic schools across Canada received exciting news last week: they were part of breaking a world record.
Guinness World Records announced late last week that more than 13,700 students at 88 locations across the country united to set a new benchmark for the world’s largest science lesson, held at multiple venues. Included in this total were both Catholic and public schools, working together to achieve the goal.
The news was a great boost for students at St. Anthony’s Catholic School in Chalk River, Ont. and Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School in Petawawa, Ont. As St. Anthony’s has a small enrollment, the Grade 6 class from Our Lady of Sorrows stepped in to help out. Both schools are in the Renfrew County Catholic District School Board.
“We were thrilled to hear that our school will be part of the Guinness Book of World Records,” said St. Anthony’s principal, Shelley Montgomery. “The students were so excited the day of the actual experiment. They were cheering… it was wonderful to see the students so enthusiastic about science.”
Montgomery said volunteers from Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL) prepared many of the logistics for their event, in terms of specifics required for documentation such as video-taping and supervision. Montgomery said it was a natural partnership to have AECL volunteers at St. Anthony’s as both organizations are in Chalk River.
The large-scale science event was organized by national organization Science.gc.ca as a kickoff for its Science and Technology Week held back in October. The first experiment conducted as part of the initiative involved misting water from a glass using two straws while the other used colliding balloons to demonstrate science principles.
Being recognized at a national level is having large impacts on the students at the small school of only about 80 students. Amber Boley, a Grade 7 student at St. Anthony’s, was bursting with pride at the achievement. “It’s amazing for a small school to do something that big,” she said. “This little school in Chalk River is part of something that happened across the country. It makes science more fun and interesting and made me more interested in science.”
Montgomery said the benefits of the event extended well beyond the experiments for the Ontario Catholic school. “The learning became real,” she said. “They realized in a fun manner that science is not just a subject at school, but a potential career pathway.”
Other Catholic schools involved in the experiment hailed from all reaches of Canada, including Quebec and British Columbia. Many individual celebrations are planned across the country in the coming weeks to commemorate the new world record.