Angel Stadium filled with about 20,000 Orange County third-graders today, shattering the Guinness Book World Record for “Largest History Lesson.” During the “Gift of History” event children learned about the history of Orange County and what makes each city unique, based off the children’s book “Nothing Rhymes with Orange,” written by Stan Oftelie, past OCBC president and CEO. The event began with cheers from the thousands of children as the host, Disney Channel star from “Shake it up,” Caroline Sunshine, took the stage and led the group with a chant of “OC,” which continued throughout the event.
Oftelie arrived first on stage in a horse and carriage, along with Anaheim Councilwoman Gail Eastman, to begin the history lesson. The event continued with speakers from the Anaheim Police Department and Gaddi Vasquez, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, Southern California Edison. Topics covered in the history lesson included OC’s beginnings, the past and present of transportation, industrialization and natural resources, OC today and OC’s future.
Orange County Department of Education Superintendent Bill Habermehl concluded the event, riding onto the field with Mickey Mouse. As the two took the stage, a helicopter descended, bringing a representative from the Guinness Book of World Records to give the official declaration. After the bell rang, signaling the end of the class session, every third-grader received a copy of “Nothing Rhymes with Orange,” a backpack and school supplies.
The event was well received not only by the thousands of children in attendance, but also by the teachers, administrators and many elected officials that came to watch this record-breaking event. Event sponsors included Disneyland Resort, Angels Baseball, Anaheim Ducks, Orange County Department of Education, AT&T, UPS, and many others. Next year’s event plans to break the record again.
“We want to bring all 34,000 kids out next year,” Habermehl said.
The “Gift of History” program started five years ago in Anaheim, when former Mayor Curt Pringle organized a history lesson for around 5,000 third-graders, held at the Anaheim Convention Center. “Nothing Rhymes with Orange,” will also be the theme for OCBC’s 2012 Annual Dinner.