Then all at once, the kids began whipping their neon ropes around, skipping, hopping, huffing and puffing for 10 minutes straight in an attempt to make history.
The Egan students joined thousands of others across the state, including students from Landels and Huff elementary schools, in an effort to break the Guinness World Record for "Most people jumping/skipping rope at same time." The Feb. 1 event, sponsored by Jamba Juice and the California Association for Physical Education Recreation and Dance, attempted to corral 80,000 California schoolchildren into jumping simultaneously at exactly 9 a.m.
The current record was apparently set by 59,000 jump ropers in Australia in 2008, though some reports say it's not official because they haven't turned in their paperwork.
Egan parent and organizer Smita Shukla said Monday's jumping "went like clockwork." She estimated that about 20 parent volunteers joined all the school's teachers to monitor the students' jumping. Shukla added that Guinness requires physical evidence in order to declare an official record, so the parents took photos and video, and monitored groups of students who were organized through their physical education departments.
"We have to accurately witness the correct numbers for Guinness, and we shouldn't be fudging the numbers," Shukla said.
Although Monday's event lasted only 10 minutes, Eustice said her students began training before winter break.
"It started off as our daily warm-up routine," she said, adding that the students started out jumping for one minute at a time, then built up to three minutes.
"We never practiced to 10 minutes, ever. That's just crazy," she said.
The students, who began jumping with vigor at 9 a.m., seemed to have lost a bit of steam by the end of the 10-minute period.
"I'm extremely exhausted," said student Borna Barzin after the event. "But it was really fun, we did a lot of training."
Eustice said she will turn in paperwork to the Association for Physical Education Recreation and Dance in the coming weeks. They won't know the total tally — or whether Guinness approves the record — until March.
For now, Eustice said, after putting away 600 jump ropes, "I don't want to see another jump rope for awhile."