After seeing a news report about a boy his age who committed suicide after being bullied, ninth grader Luke Carlin wanted to bring his community together to stand up against bullying.
Carlin, a student at Kings Park High School, had been bullied up until he told his mother, Anne Carlin, last year. He then teamed up with his mom, secretary of the Kings Park Civic Association, who got area anti-drug group Kings Park in the kNOw actively involved.
On Friday night, the Kings Park community came together for two unity-themed Guinness World Records attempts at Kings Park High School’s track, raising nearly $1,000 for anti-drug youth programs in the process.
“I know firsthand what it’s like to be bullied and no one should ever have to go through that,” said Luke Carlin, 15, of Kings Park. “Tonight, we want the community to stand up together against bullying, and maybe break a Guinness World Record while we’re at it.”
Anne Carlin said she’s proud of her son for taking a stand and being brave.
“This is very personal to him,” she said. “Bullying is a major issue no matter where you live and I thought it was a great idea to make our community more aware of this.”
Carlin first challenged his community to break a Guinness World Record for the largest number of people who can stand up simultaneously while keeping their arms interlinked. The current record for simultaneous standing up is 45 people, held by a group in India.
Friday, they filmed 101 children and adults standing up and are confident they broke the record. They plan to send the video to Guinness World Records for confirmation.
The second world record they attempted to break was to make the largest design using glow sticks. Nearly 100 people made a peace sign holding glow sticks on the football field. But the record will still be held by a Canadian university’s chemistry department, who got 308 people to hold glow sticks spelling out “H2O.”
Kim Revere, president of Kings Park in the kNOw, said it doesn’t matter if they break any records. It matters that the community comes out to support the cause.
“It’s not only fun for these kids and their families, but it also creates awareness that kids can tell their parents like Luke did and it can change for them,” said Revere, 51, of Kings Park.
At the end of the night, a moment of silence was held for the victims of the Sandy Hook School tragedy and Boston Marathon, before the community sang along to Neil Diamond’s "Sweet Caroline.”
Karen Zdrojeski’s 10-year-old son, Ethan, was thrilled to be involved in an attempt to break a world record.
“I thought it was important to bring my son to this because, honestly, he’s in fourth grade and I want him to know early on what bullying is and to be aware of it,” said Zdrojeski, 45, of Kings Park. “I always tell my son, ‘Not everyone’s going to be your friend, but you have to be friendly to everyone.”