Teacher Ken Newton begins the proceedings as hundreds of students wear Dr. Suess costumes in order to be counted for the Guinness Book of World Records during the Read Across America event held at Fair Oaks Ranch Community School in Canyon Country on Friday. Dan Watson/The Signal

Fair Oaks Ranch Community School breaks Guinness World Record

Dressed as everything from the Cat in the Hat, to Loraxes to The Grinch, students and community members at Fair Oaks Ranch Elementary broke a Guinness World Record on Friday.

Every year, the Fair Oaks Ranch staff and students have participated in “Read Across America,” an event where schools across the country hold fun activities and/or assemblies in an effort to promote literacy in children. Passed events at Fair Oaks Ranch Elementary have featured guest speakers, good food and even airplanes being brought in to show students.

Laker Girls Kelly Eustis, left, and Joye Forrest ask second-graders what is their favorite D. Suess book during the Read Across America event held at Fair Oaks Ranch Community School in Canyon Country on Friday. Dan Watson/The Signal

“I’ve done it for 20-years-plus, and every school is different, but we like to make it kind of an event,” said Ken Newton, the sixth-grade Fair Oaks teacher who has lead the organization of the event every year.

Over the summer, Newtown began to brainstorm ideas for the 2019 event, and through that process who decided he was going to go big.

“‘Let’s break the Guinness World Record for the most people wearing a Dr. Seuss costume in one place,’” he said he remembers saying to himself. “The record was  825 people in a school in Texas.”

Deciding to make his dream a reality, he invited students, parents, members of the community, state Sen. Scott Wilk, officers from the California Highway Patrol Newhall station, the Laker Girls, to name a few, to come and participate in the event dressed as their favorite Dr. Seuss character.

Retired Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Al Downing reads the Dr. Suess book, The Cat in the Hat for dozens of students in the multi-purpose room during the Read Across America event held at Fair Oaks Ranch Community School in Canyon Country on Friday. Dan Watson/The Signal

“It was heartwarming that my dream and vision came to a reality,” said Newton. “We even had a whole class come as Thing 1 to Thing 33.”

During the day, Silver Service Events Catering Company provided breakfast, while Tomato Joe’s and Nothing Bundt Cakes brought lunch and dessert.

“I was thrilled to have everyone buy into it and dress up,” Newman said, nothing that his Cat and the Hat costume was outshined by some students and volunteers. “I was worried about the older kids, but they got really into it.”

While the parent volunteers walked around the classrooms and counted those dressed in costume and the special guests spoke to students or read to them, Newtown and his team counted up the tally.

“We had 1,..063 people dressed up … and we broke the record,” said Newton, who added that it would still need to be technically verified by Guinness.

Hundreds of students wear Dr. Suess costumes in order to be counted for the Guinness Book of World Records during the Read Across America event held at Fair Oaks Ranch Community School in Canyon Country on Friday. Dan Watson/The Signal

When asked why he does it year after year, Newton said that he’s had students in their 20’s  come up and ask him if Read Across America Day still happens and he gets to tell them it does.

“You know, we always hope the literature sticks and (the talks from the) guest readers stick, and it’s just a fun school event,” said Newton. “It’s elementary school and you want them to remember events like this.”

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