HESPERIA It took some doing, but the Cedar Middle School students were lined up on the school's athletic field Wednesday morning, laughing and chatting in the October sun, waiting for the proverbial starter's pistol.


"Hey, get ready," roared physical education teacher Jeff Smith. "Here we go."


And as one, the Spartans began a minute of jumping jacks.


The 871 students were participating in an attempt by National Geographic Kids to set a world record for the most people performing jumping jacks in a 24-hour period. The organization was attempting to beat a target of 20,425 jumpers between noon Oct. 11 and noon Oct. 12.


The event kicked off on Oct. 11 with First Lady Michelle Obama and 450 school children performing jumping jacks on the White House lawn. Obama has spent much of her time in the White House campaigning against childhood obesity.


"I am on (physical education) websites frequently looking for programs," said teacher Sarah Smith. She said she was actually looking for grants when she spotted the jumping jacks event.


"I would say we got a pretty good response" from the teachers and students at Cedar, she said. Smith said that in her seven years at the school, she's noticed an overall decline in the physical fitness of many students.


The school will receive some small compensation for their participation in the event: Because more than 100 people participated, Cedar Middle School will be receiving a certificate from National Geographic Kids.


Schools that participated in the attempt nationwide must send in required documentation by Oct. 26 to National Geographic. Guiness will then take the final tally and make a determination on whether the attempt was successful or not, though the counting process could take several months, according to the National Geographic website.


For more information about the attempt to set a world record, visit http://kidsblogs.nationalgeographic.com/lets-jump-community.


Beau Yarbrough may be reached at (760) 956-7108 or at beau@HesperiaStar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.