On Sept. 13, a crew of students from the class of 2013 erected a giant hamster wheel at the school’s Chatsworth Boulevard main entrance.
School staff and students seemed in awe as they arrived for classes and spotted students — as well as principal Bobbie Samilson — taking turns running on the 16-foot circular treadmill and its 20-foot-tall stand.
Seniors Corlin Palmer, Jacob Syage and Toby Shirts designed the structure. Using $900 collected from 55 classmates, a crew spent three weeks and 300 manhours building the wheel in Palmer’s backyard from galvanized, welded conduit pipe and chicken wire.
The students said they often felt like they were on a treadmill in their underclass days.
Originally planned as a 14-foot contraption, the builders discovered the Guinness Book of World Records lists a 15-foot hamster wheel as a record. The students said they felt their fully functional device will set the new standard.
Samilson recently issued an email to all Point Loma High families asking that traditional “senior pranks” not cause any campus damage, and she said she was supportive of the shiny device.
“They surprised us this morning,” Samilson said, noting the students had consulted with physics teachers beforehand. She praised their creative use of skills.
Meanwhile, Palmer and crew said they were proud of their accomplishment.