Rosewood Students Break World Record

Karen Ambs is one of those people with a song in her heart and a pep in her step. One of her favorite accessories to go along with her fun personality is ‘jazz hands’! In fact, a group of student safety crossing guards greet her at the door daily with a fun, jazz hand wave.

This prompted a discussion months ago during her music class at Rosewood Elementary. One of the greeter students asked what the record was for the most people doing jazz hands. Her curious and helpful nature drove her to a bit of research, and she discovered the current record is 394, which was set in the UK.

14149432a9e0f832987ed4e931be2c2c98ab2720

Mrs. Ambs leading some fun as the kids get into place for their Guinness World Record attempt.

Mrs. Ambs is retiring after 32 years of teaching this June, but you don’t see her resting on her laurels. A dream was born in her students that day and although an official Guinness World Record attempt takes an immense amount of meticulous work, she enthusiastically stood at the helm. Following even more research, school principal, Luke Verbeek, and the Rosewood Parent Club jumped on board and the official application to break the record was submitted.

“Rosewood is a supportive, enthusiastic learning community – parents, staff, and students are eager to jump in and do what it takes to achieve big goals, regardless of whether those goals are academic achievements or world records.” ~ Karen Ambs

Friday, May 17 was a beautiful day when over 400 children, ages 5-13, school staff, and parents gathered on the playground to attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the “most people doing jazz hands”.  The event was officiated by State Senator Roger Victory and Georgetown Township Councilman Jason Minier.

14149460f1302e2b251c9b05411f74dbb2668210

Many additional roles needed to be filled in order to accomplish this goal! There was an official schedule with official timers, witnesses, photographers and ‘people counters’. The participants were divided into 18 different sections – one for each homeroom and one for the parent participants. Each section wore a unique color of gloves, so that the stewards would be able to clearly identify who they were counting.

There was a very intentional plan for everything – where the participants needed to be and how long they needed to do it. But the one thing the students didn’t need instruction on – was the move itself, that comes naturally for a student of Karen Ambs.

Once everyone was in place, the buzzer started the clock and the participants got down on one knee facing the stage, raised their hands overhead with fingers spread out, shaking them back and forth – doing this for the entire 60 second time. At the end of the timer, participants were counted and Rosewood was found to be (upon completion of all validation) new World Record Holders!!! 

I love the positive energy and fun our teachers have with our students! I love the people with the big ideas and the circle of support that lives within Jenison to accomplish these big ideas! What a wonderful memory!

“The amount of time and effort it took for this incredible 60 seconds was SO worth it! The Unofficial World Record for people performing Jazz Hands for one minute belongs to the Rosewood Wildcats! 477 people were able to perform for the full minute (without falling over)!” ~ Karen Ambs

141494436f79a92f1f0e67dbefe9ab5d894d96d014149442d7671164c05cea4a39b3ab47690dd9d314149438acf7f234298a70fd1302349d7ecb7bcc14149432a9e0f832987ed4e931be2c2c98ab2720

141494379a19e936238c76332ea7ef44eadbbd02

Senator Roger Victory officiated this record breaking, fun event.

14149433b1378fb91153b47a6a60d06c32e6bb621414943420fc50155f0670d1da9db8c94245b48a141494350320d5803a5b571b40d66605aac87b5f1414944092ecfefae38277ce9e6aea48343d247214149441e90052fa3f9ed245a35cded08700df76141494436f79a92f1f0e67dbefe9ab5d894d96d014149444ae16618faf60f0afc050db290f5048b4141494466646bcefd9416d007613eb26c98e6fa114149448452d84d2da54ca8044582d5d2e31adbf14149460f1302e2b251c9b05411f74dbb2668210

Photos courtesy of Kerri Jenison Photography and MSB Photography.

Mele Kalikimaka is the Thing to Say!

When Rosewood music teacher, Karen Ambs, told fellow teachers she was thinking of starting an elementary Ukulele Club, she was met with a fair amount of skepticism.  But she knew something they didn’t: the ukulele is hot right now and she was right. She was at capacity with 33 students that first week in March. And now, eight weeks later, while they have lost a handful of students to Little League, the Ukulele Club is going strong with 26 students!

Last fall Karen attended a music education conference at Hope College and learned about the benefits of using the ukulele to teach instrumentation to young students. She learned that it is an easy instrument to teach and learn and students see a relative amount of success early on. But rather than introduce the instrument for classes right away, Mrs Ambs wanted to familiarize herself more thoroughly with the instrument and test it out in a club setting first. She saw that ukulele’s were catching on with students so she started asking students what they thought of meeting as a club. She only received positive replies, so they kicked things off in March!

Students were able to learn quickly. “If you know four chords, you can play 100 songs” and Mrs Ambs adds that one of the great things about the club is that everyone is able to play at their own level when practicing songs together. Sixth grade ukulele club member, Molly Jones says that the club is “so much fun” and because “we’re all learning together, if you make a mistake, it’s no big deal.” Fifth grade ukulelist, Conner Van Dam, joined because he wanted to add another instrument to his repertoire which currently includes the viola and next year, the baritone. He, along with Gavin Louckes [also 5th grade] say that, even though they didn’t know how to play the ukulele, they weren’t worried about trying something new. “If you never try it, you never know!” they said.

The club is open to 3rd – 6th graders at Rosewood and Mrs Ambs says that when students were learning chords in the beginning, it worked out well to have the younger students sit near the older students to watch and learn. This mentorship happened organically and Mrs Ambs was very pleased to have this be a byproduct of the club experience.

While some students were able to purchase ukulele’s in order to be part of the club, that isn’t an option for everyone. In order to give everyone an opportunity to learn the instrument, Ms Ambs is seeking grant funds to help out. A few years ago we told you about the great work of the Jenison Public Education Foundation and Mrs Ambs is hoping for a grant from them in the form of a complete classroom set. The potential for this grant, along with other possible resources will ensure that Rosewood student has the opportunity to learn ukulele in music class!

If these curious and talented students have inspired you to learn to entertain family and friends with this Hawaiian classic, Mrs Ambs has some words of encouragement for you! “It’s a very, simple, easy way to pick up an instrument and be successful with it. Yet, if you want to make it more challenging, you can go beyond four chords and learn picking patterns and melodies”. Still feeling unsure? Molly reminds everyone to “do something you enjoy!” and that just might mean picking up a ukulele!

Thank you, Mrs Ambs, for finding fun, creative ways to engage our students in learning about the wonderful world of music! Congratulations to these awesome Rosewood students for trying something new! We hope to see you at the Talent Show!