Students open 12-year old time capsule –
Story by Patricia Beech –
Photos by Mark Carpenter –
West Union High School seniors who began their public school studies in Mrs. Carrie Fuller and Mrs Jennifer White’s 2004-05 kindergarten class took a trip back in time Friday, May 5 when their class reunited to open a time capsule they’d filled and sealed 12 years before.
“It was fun and exciting for the kids,” said White, who along with Fuller, was present when the capsule was opened. “They were excited to see what they’d put in it because most of them didn’t even remember making the capsule or what item they’d put in it.”
“The students were predicting what they thought they might have put in the capsule,” said Fuller. “One student said ‘I loved Batman, I’ll bet that’s what I put in’ and, in fact, he did. Another boy who put in a Buzz Lightyear figure was surprised he’d given up his favorite toy.”
Andrew Weeks, a multi-sport athlete at WUHS, says he’d forgotten about the time capsule, but the invitation to the unsealing brought back memories. “I remembered the capsule after we got the invitation,” he said. “In fact, I guessed what I put in – a little Batman figurine because that’s what I liked at that age.”
Ethan Thompson also didn’t recall making the capsule, but he felt certain he knew what he’d put in it. “When I was five and six years-old I was a real Buzz Lightyear fan, so I figured that’s what I’d put in it – and it was.”
Thompson called the experience both sad and happy, “It was cool looking back at all the memories – you realize that time has just flown by.
Even though Madison Welch didn’t remember either the capsule or the item she contributed, she says the mermaid figurine and doll’s hair brush she placed in the time capsule were “pretty much the same type of item I’d choose now”. She praised the idea of the time capsule, “I think it’s a good idea for showing how kids evolve over 12 years – to see how they’ve changed or haven’t,” Welch said. “It really shows you how much time has gone by.”
Christa Williams agreed. “I think it’s an awesome idea,” she said, “It’s a very emotional experience because it brings you all back together, but it is also very rewarding and so much fun.”
Williams was one of the few students who remembered both the capsule and the photographs and drawing she put in it.
She said the experience reaffirmed her sense of community with her classmates. “Some of us didn’t even remember who all was in our kindergarten class,” she said. “It made us realize that we’re seniors now and we don’t have that much time left together.”
The students were also impressed with the obvious changes in themselves as evidenced by what they found in the capsule.
“There was a sample of my handwriting, and it was really sloppy handwriting,” Weeks said. “It was interesting to see how much I’d =improved after working so hard to accomplish what I have since kindergarten.”
Dalton Shivener says he remembers making the capsule and putting in a toy car he’d painted to look like a derby car. “I put that in because back then, I wanted to be like my Dad, he was really into the Derby.”
Brandshy Hawkins, who put a drawing of what she hoped to be when she grew up, said the best part of the experience was being with her old classmates.
Welch agreed. “Getting back together again, reminiscing and taking pictures – in a way it was like a time of mourning for us, but still a wonderful time.”
Williams said she thought the experience of rediscovering their five-year-old selves was enlightening. “It’s neat to see how our perspectives change, or don’t change,” she said. “Back then some of us wanted to be teachers, but now we’re interested in other things. At =the same time, my best friend then is still my best friend now.”
Fuller said the idea of a time capsule originated with one of her room mothers.
“Dawn Fowler initiated the idea, and Jennifer and I said ‘let’s do it’. We had all the children bring in something that was special to them, and we put their items into a Rubbermaid container and sealed it shut with duct tape.”
Fowler took responsibility for the time capsule making certain it was transferred from the old elementary school to the new one, and then on to the high school.
There it remained, locked in a closet on the mezzanine. A package distinguished only by the message neatly written across its top, ‘Do Not Open Until the Spring of 2017’.