How high does the world’s tallest paper giraffe measure?
A group of local young people claims the Guinness World Records-holder stands at 27 feet.
About two-dozen friends gathered at Lake Elsinore’s Lakeside High School gymnasium Sunday afternoon to build the mammoth “origami” giraffe out of brown packing paper and masking tape.
The art of using paper to create sculptures, known as origami, is a hobby for 18-year-olds Quinton Ronan and Rachel Hernandez. The two have been practicing the old Japanese art form for about a year and half. It involves folding paper to create art objects. Rachel prefers to create cranes, and Quinton crafts giraffes.
When the two began talking about setting a world record – any world record – they collaborated and honed their skills.
“It’s been a dream of ours to break a world record,” Quinton explained.
“Let’s actually try to do it,” Rachel recalled when Quinton suggested they tackle creating the world’s tallest origami giraffe.
Quinton’s best friend, Andrew James, 17, also graduated from Lakeside. Although he doesn’t practice origami, he was game to set a record.
“We always have crazy ideas,” Andrew said, explaining that Quinton fashions paper giraffes in the way that some habitually doodle on notepads or anything else in their presence.
“He leaves a trail of giraffes wherever he goes. I think there are two in my car now,” he said with a laugh.
Robert and Alexandra Ronan were on hand Sunday to watch as their son orchestrated the epic effort. Quinton shouted instruction as the group of mostly teenagers and young siblings from Kingdom Hall Jehovah’s Witnesses on Joy Street worked together on the basketball court, taping and folding a gargantuan sheet of paper that measured 60 feet by 60 feet.
Under their son’s supervision, the Ronan’s pitched in where they could. They donated the materials for the project (the family owns Lake Elsinore-based Signs Center).
“You’re a smart guy dad, I’m glad you came,” Quinton said after his father made a suggestion to streamline the effort.
Both parents said their youngest son has been very focused on breaking the world record.
“When Quinton puts his mind to something, he gets it done,” Robert said.
Alexandra said Quinton is the youngest of three boys, and if he’s told he can’t do something, the challenge is on.
“He’s always done his own thing,” she explained.
After about five hours of teamwork, the task was complete. Standing upright under the green and gold of the Jason Moscowitz Memorial Gymnasium at Lakeside, the brown giraffe stood.
“We’re Number #1,” an ecstatic Quinton shouted. High-fives, dancing and a pizza party ensued.
“Mom, we broke the world record. We broke the world record!” Quinton continued.
Whether the group actually shatters the current record holder remains to be seen. The friends followed the strict Guinness guidelines, which included taking photos, video and having two official witnesses on hand.
“It was funny how persistent Quinton was about contacting Guinness. He emailed them in England like every week,” Andrew said with a laugh.
Mercedes Bryant is an art teacher at Lakeside High School. She was asked by Rachel and Quinton to witness Sunday’s effort. Sitting on the gym floor with her 4-year-old daughter, she watched the progress.
“They had all their plans in place,” she explained of the special request made by the teens.
According to Guinness, on the record the world’s tallest origami giraffe stands at 20 feet tall, and it will take about a month before it’s known whether Lake Elsinore’s effort broke the current leader, Quinton explained.
Lake Elsinore touts itself as the “Action Sports Capital of the World,” with its motocross racing, skydiving center, jet-boat competitions, minor league baseball team, and other high-octane attractions. The city is also the center of an artists’ movement known as Studio 395. Landing in the Guinness World Records for being home to the tallest origami giraffe would add another feather in the city’s illustrious cap.