The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

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The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

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South attempts to break two world records


On Sept. 26 at the home football game against Maine South, GBS attempted to break two world records established in the Guinness Book of World Records.

These records consisted of the most “selfies,” or self-portraits, taken in one hour and the most hugs in one minute. According to Dr. James Shellard, student activities director, the records to beat were 612 selfies and 75 hugs.

Although breaking these records was one of the main focuses of the night, Student Council also wanted the record-breaking attempts to hold meaning. According to Shellard, all of Student Council agreed to connect the big event to domestic abuse awareness.

“This was a Student Council idea and the goal was to try and set two Guinness Book of World Records, bring some height and awareness to domestic abuse and bring more fans out to support our football team,” Shellard said. “[There was] a lot of excitement and a lot of buzz and I feel like that is my job, to support students in creating those kind of moments because that is what high school is all about.”

When the football game began, so did the first record-breaking attempt. Tommy the Titan stood stationary while South fans lined up to take a selfie with him.

There were certain rules that needed to be followed in order to officially break the record, Shellard said. The selfie had to be taken from the neck up and include a facial profile, part of the arm of the person taking the selfie had to be included in the shot and all participating individuals had to be 16 years old or older.


As the participants filtered through to take their selfies, Student Council members collected proceeds that were donated to The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. According to Shellard, student council members were able to collect more than $1,000.

Junior Tori Brown, one of the Student Council members collecting donations, was responsible for choosing domestic abuse as the cause that would be linked to the record-breaking attempt. According to Brown, there were multiple reasons for why she chose to incorporate domestic abuse awareness.

“Domestic violence is something that is kind of personal to me,” Brown said. “Someone I know really well […] was pretty severely affected by it, so as it started to come out in the NFL and just started to be rampant […] [and because] October is national awareness month for domestic abuse, I thought it would be really cool if we paired the two together so that we could raise a bunch of money because GBS is great at that.”

Shellard and Student Council all agreed on the importance of domestic abuse awareness and began thinking of ways to connect the cause to the record-breaking attempt. According to Shellard, the two ideas immediately had an important connection to work off of.

“The idea of taking a selfie is kind of a warm, loving thing, as well as a hug obviously, so that sends a positive message,” Shellard said.

After putting some thought into it, Student Council decided to use the selfies as an opportunity to make a video bringing awareness to domestic abuse, Jane Brennan, student body president, said. The 89 selfie-takers were given signs that displayed different words on them. These signs were strung together in the video to create sentences that raise awareness and state facts about domestic abuse. Visit to view the video.

“Student Council is always looking for ways to connect to charity,” Brennan said. “We thought this was a great opportunity to do something exciting for the student body, while doing something good for the community as well.”

Near the end of the first half of the game, the selfie-taking hour came to a close and Student Council anxiously awaited the results. The packed stands screamed and cheered as the loud speaker announcer informed that South had “unofficially broken the record.” According to Shellard, due to the strict rules, there will be no way of knowing if all 734 selfies will qualify and count towards the record. It will be weeks until Student Council hears back from The Guinness Book of World Records, but Principal Dr. Brian Wegley is confident.

“I am always proud of our school,” Wegley said. “But when we do something that goes for records like this and things that have the bar set so high, I am one, very confident, and two, incredibly proud that we take things on like that and then partner with a strong message like we are with this, so I am incredibly proud of Glenbrook South.”

With high hopes that the first record-breaking attempt was a success, Student Council quickly changed gears and began preparing for the second attempt that occurred during half time.

In order to beat the world record, South students had to hug Tommy the Titan more than 75 times in one minute.

When the time came, Tommy stood with arms wide at the 50 yard line. A select group of about 30 huggers lined up in a straight line facing him and waited for their signal to start. When the announcer said “go,” the stopwatch started and the hugging began. According to Eigel, it was difficult to move really fast because each hug had to be considered “genuine” or “sincere” for it to count.

The crowd went wild as the minute came to an end and the huggers on the field began to celebrate. In one minute, the south students were able to squeeze in 86 hugs, beating the previous record by 11 hugs.

“Being on the turf and just singing the fight song brought out the Titan in everyone,” senior Billy Kosmidis, one of the huggers, said. “It made me proud to be a part of our school.”

With both records “unofficially” beaten, Shellard emphasized the importance of the role that South’s television program played in the event.

“[TV has] been incredible,” Shellard said. “Without them videotaping this whole event, we wouldn’t be able to have it happen. To fly someone out here and do this [for] the actual Guinness Book of World Records would cost $8,000 per record. We have to videotape everything and send it to them before it becomes official. Without TV’s support on this, it wouldn’t happen.”

According to Brennan, even if South doesn’t officially break the records, it was still a rewarding experience for all who were involved.

“My freshman year we did the lipdub, and it brought the school together and really emphasized the uniqueness of our school, why we stand out amongst other schools, how peppy we are and how involved the student body is as a whole,” Brennan said. “This was another opportunity for us to do something different, something other schools haven’t done and it really [brought] the student body together.”

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