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Simon says: 'Break a world record'

County Councilman Todd Huff has never had such a compliant audience. He told them to stand up and they did. He told them to put their hands in the air and up went the hands.

Huff prefaced most of his instructions with the words, "Simon says" as he and 88 children, parents, staff at the Goddard School in Sparks joined other Goddard Schools in trying to break the world record for the largest game of Simon Says.

Huff, whose children attended Goddard School, had the kids and adults spinning in circles, touching their noses and standing on one foot.

"Simon says touch your toes," he said as everybody leaned over. "Stand up," he said and about a dozen kids who stood up without the "Simon says" command were ushered to the back of the room.

Some kids were having so much fun that they just jumped up and down and clapped, no matter what the command was. They soon found themselves in the back of the room, too.

After 14 minutes of trying to trick the participants, the only child left standing was Skander Kefi, 4, from Baltimore.

"You guys were too good for me," Huff told the kids. "I was starting to run out of things to tell you to do."

The adult winner was Callie Gould, of Timonium, Goddard School's operations director.

The majority of 375 Goddard Schools participated in the game at 1 p.m. on Sept. 23, said Lisa Fisher, Goddard Schools' director of communications.

At Sparks, kids age 3 and older practiced Simon Says in the morning. Owner Mike Glasser brought in his son's "Guinness Book of World Records" to explain what it was all about. He also showed them a map of the United States, pointing out Maryland and other states with participating schools.

"Children learn best by doing and through play," Glasser said. "That's part of the whole Goddard philosophy. They discovered they are part of something bigger, but we really did this because it was really a fun thing for the kids."

The current record of 12,215 people playing the game was set at the Utah Summer Games' opening ceremony on June 14, 2007, according to Guinness World Records.

Each Goddard School had to follow a long list of official rules — the game had to last at least 10 minutes and be witnessed by people not affiliated with the school. Huff had to make a call every five seconds. All participants had to stay in the room until the game was over.

Fisher said the final number of participants and witness statements will be sent to Guinness World Records office in London for verification. She doesn't expect a final answer on whether they broke the record until November at the earliest.

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