Columbia superheroes and villains join forces for public schools

Attendees attempted to break a Guinness record, but fell short.
Natalia Groshong, 12, makes her dog, Gracie, sit during a gathering of all Supermen, Supergirls and Superwomen at Superhero Day for Columbia Public Schools on Sunday at Rock Bridge High School. Attendees attempted to break the world record for most people dressed as superheros in the same place, but only gathered about half the required number.

A large cast of superheroes and supervillains gathered Saturday at Hickman High School in support of the Columbia Public Schools Foundation with the hopes of breaking a world record.

The fundraiser was organized by Columbia resident Sean Spence, who helped come up with the idea for the event’s theme, as well as getting the word out to the community.

“Somebody suggested it would be fun to break a world record,” Spence said. “So we started looking for a ‘most people doing something’ record.”

Columbia resident Rick Sachder said the chance to be in the Guinness Book of World Records also inspired him. He was disappointed though to find out the crowd fell short, with a total of only 762 people dressed as superheroes.

“Today we have a huge number of people but we don't quite have 1,580, we're more at about 700,” Spence said as he spoke to the crowd.

Spence said his inspiration came from the hard work teachers and school faculty put in to children’s education every day.

“I started thinking about who the real superheroes were, and I thought of the educators,” he said.

The record Columbia Public Schools set out to break was 1,580 people dressed as a superhero. Actor Will Ferrell and California movie studio Dreamworks Studios set the record earlier this month at a movie premier in Los Angeles.

“It was done as a publicity stunt for the movie Mega Mind,” Spence said.

Volunteers from all over Columbia and even Kansas City and St. Louis came in support of the event.

“We’ve got lots of volunteers who’ve come from all over the community,” Spence said.

Spence said the foundation had earned more than $3,200 in sponsor donations. This didn’t include the revenue brought in from vendors like Jimmy John’s and an Italian ice stand present at the event.

Some sponsors included Focus on Learning, Boone Electric Satellite Systems Inc., Children’s Orchard as well as game, comic and costume shops.

Spence said getting the word out in the community about the event was an important part.

“We partnered with radio stations and TV stations,” he said. “We sent out mail and e-mail. We communicated with Columbia in every way possible. We sent flyers to everyone in the district two separate times.”

Columbia resident Emily Imhoff said she heard about the event from The Columbia Daily Tribune.

“I was already dressing up for my friend’s birthday,” Imhoff said. “Supporting the Columbia schools, what could be better?”

Imhoff was dressed as Starfire, from the television show Teen Titans.

“I wanted to do something unique, and I like to make costumes, so I picked something that would be easy to make,” she said. “And I like purple.”

Three generations of the Dierker family attended the event, from daughter Sophie Dierker, all the way to her grandparents.

“My grandma and grandpa came here in their superhero costumes and my friend Mira,” Sophie said. “I think it was a really good idea to do this.”

Sophie’s father, Philip Dierker, and family friend Sachder said they came to the event mainly for their kids.

“And it’s Halloween weekend,” Dierker said.

Pictures of all different groups of superheroes were taken on the track at Hickman, with different comic book villains and heroes paired, including those from the Spiderman, Superman, X-Men and Batman series.

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