Largest gathering of plush toys-world record
set by Shawsheen students
15] ANDOVER, MA, USA--Shawsheen
Elementary students set a World Record for the largest
gathering of plush toys ever recorded: 5,657stuffed animals
were collected from kids.
Photo: Matthew Pliskaner, an Andover Shawsheen
School second-grader, grabs a stuffed animal for a photo shoot
after the school's attempt to break a World Record for collecting
the most stuffed animals. Photo by: Paul Bilodeau/ The
"We did it," students screamed as they waved their
hands in the air, high-fived, hugged each other and clapped.
"I've never seen so many all at once," said
PALS Director Thomas Cone, a teacher at Phillips. "It's wonderful.
This will help a lot of children."
Students and parents collected the plush
toys in just under three weeks. People from all over the Merrimack
Valley stopped at the school with trash bags full of Beanie
Babies, teddy bears, Mickey Mouses, Scooby Doos, a 3-foot
gorilla — every stuffed animal you can imagine.
Rachel Combs, a parent on the school's community
services committee, came up with the idea when she saw a copy
of her son's National Geographic Kids that showcased their
It had taken National Geographic Kids magazine
four months to set the record in December 2006, receiving
toys from hundreds of readers from around the world — as far
as Japan and the Czech Republic.
"It was electric," Combs said of watching the
children's reactions to the mountain of stuffed animals. "I
would have never foreseen this. ... They've been asking me
if we broke the record every day."
students have been collecting stuffed animals every March
for the past 12 years. They donate them to PALS, an after-school
tutoring program that teams Phillips Academy and Andover High
School students with middle-schoolers in Lawrence. The toys
are used as prizes.
Some of the collection also will go to libraries,
orphanages and hospitals in Belize, a small country south
"Wow. It's good we have the record," said
second-grader Mary Kate Goodwin, 8. "But it's really nice
that we got all these toys for the children who don't have