Opening History … Sort Of

“I never thought this day would come,” one of my students gushed.

The Yearbook class picked “Opening History” as theme, because this was the year when the time capsule that was buried in the Millenium Wall in 2000 would be opened. We were thrilled when the administration agreed to do this in February instead of May, so it would be the main story of the yearbook.

What made this occasion extra special is there are only a dozen students left in school who have been here that long, and four of them are in the yearbook class.

“Ten years seemed forever,” one of them said, “we never thought we’d still be here that long.”

Most of them were still in kindergarten and could not remember what they put. For as it turns out, when the concrete lids were removed, that there was more than one time capsule. There must have been a canister for each grade or plus classes like Music and Art.

The school invited some former students to come and grace the opening ceremonies, and surprisingly only one is Nigerian. They were just as excited to be part of this momentous event. All students were assembled at the gym and when it was time to get volunteers to retrieve the time capsules hands went up in the air amidst cries of “Me! Me! Me!”

As the time capsules were brought in the video camera magnified on a giant screen it became evident that the rust and harsh elements of nature over time were not kind to the cannisters. And as we all watched our hearts as the time capsules were opened and its contents were revealed: crumpled paper, torn paper bills, washed out photos, dirt covered pencils, floppy disks, VHS tape, and cameras. Nonetheless it was a great teaching moment. The few notes, letters, and manuscripts that were readable gave us a glimpse of what school life was 10 years ago, such as the environment report, and what students bought that month. Students yelled their approval when Pokemon cards were found. There was a big applause when the capsule from the former superintendent revealed a bottle of wine. Teachers and students laughed and cheered at his predictions which were close to target, ex. the high school having its own campus.

Next week we will be burying new capsules for the next decade. It will be an interesting process to see what will be put this time. Knowing what we know now, I am sure the artifacts that will go in the time capsule have a better chance of making it intact considering the heat, humidity, possibly even dust, rain, and insects in this environment.

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