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Liberty sets record with big crayon

POSTED: December 9, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Photo by Lauren Hunsberger/

Volunteer Dave Sapp talks to a videographer about the mold he created to cast the giant crayon.

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Area students made history Wednesday at Lyman Hall Elementary when they revealed the world’s largest crayon, a 9-foot, eight-inch, 605.5 pound stick of color not available in even the 64-count box from Crayola.
It has a diameter of 15 inches.
As the long, county-wide collection drive for old crayons came to an end, about 700 students, area officials, numerous local project supporters and one official adjudicator from the Guinness World Records all convened in the Lyman Hall gym as the giant brownish, silver coloring utensil, appropriately named Liberty color, was certified and documented for beating the previous record (set in 1997), which weighed in at 332 lbs.
“It’s not as tall, but it surpasses everything else in terms of dimensions,” said Danny Girton Jr., Guinness World Record’s adjudication executive for North America. According to calculations devised by the GWR, the previous record-holding crayon could yield about 34,527 normal sized crayons. Liberty’s crayon could yield 119,646.8 crayons.
Upon the unveiling of the crayon, the gym full of young students erupted in screams and cheers. Liberty County Board of Education representatives and major supporters spoke to the kids about the significance of their accomplishment and the mass recycling event.
“The reason we did this is because we know recycling makes a difference,” said Sara Swida, director of the Keep Liberty County Beautiful who headed the project. “It made a very big impact, and we want to thank you for that.”
Lily Baker, chairman of the Liberty BOE, also congratulated and thanked the students of Lyman Hall, who hosted the unveiling because they collected the most crayons out of all the participating area schools.
“This is exciting. This is very exciting,” Baker said as she addressed the energized student body. “I say to each of you, and your hardworking teachers, congratulations.”
Other dignitaries included County Commission Chairman John McIver, who told the students, “This is your great day,” and Liberty County Director of Solid Waste, Dave Sapp, who constructed the 12-foot mold for the crayon and helped pour the hot wax. But the cheers were the loudest for Girton, who flew down from the New York GWR office to verify the record.
“What we look for in all the Guinness Book of World Records applicants is if it’s measurable, breakable and verifiable,” Girton said.
He confirmed that the crayon satisfied all the necessary requirements. Girton also said the students should be proud of their newly acquired record because out of the 60,000 applications turned in each year, only about three percent pan out.
“The common detail that I see in all the successful records is the planning,” Girton said, giving credit to supporters, including executive director of the United Way of the Coastal Empire, Liberty Leah Poole (who came up with the idea), Sapp, Swida, Willie Cato from Georgia Power and Laura Cotto, Swida’s assistant, all of whom devoted hours to the collecting, unwrapping, melting and casting of the crayon.
Before the ceremony closed, Swida presented Girton with a wax-covered paddle to take back to New York that the volunteers used to stir the massive vats of melted crayons, and she presented Lyman Hall with an encased piece of wax so that they can have a piece of the world’s biggest crayon forever.
Swida said after being displayed in Lyman Hall for a few weeks, the crayon will make appearances at local events and places so all students who donated can have a chance to see their contribution come to fruition. Additionally, Georgia Power will feature the crayon on their float for the annual Christmas parade and residents can also view the crayon as it will be housed in a local McDonald’s for a limited time.
While the pay-off was literally really, really big, Poole said the project was a large undertaking and that it took hours of work. The team of volunteers started the casting process in the beginning of last week and officially finished on Monday when the wrapper, designed and printed by the Hinesville GIS Office, was placed on the crayon.
During the creation process, as volunteers stood over a half dozen propane-heated cauldrons melting more than 1,000 pounds of smelly, recycled crayons, Swida explained the inspiration behind the project.
“The idea is to get kids interested in recycling so they can see that there can be big results from recycling items that we have around the house,” she said. “The whole purpose was to really increase their interest in recycling and getting them to think about it.”
And, she said that this specific result was accomplished.
“There’s definitely a resurgence of interest in the schools,” Swida said. “One of our schools placed in the top 20, 19th in the nation for collecting plastic bottles.”
She also said other evidence that Liberty County is jumping on the recycling band-wagon is that as a county they turned in over four more tons of recycling material than the previous year.
 

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