Wayne Christian seniors unearth time capsule
By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on April 15, 2007 2:03 AM
Former Wayne Christian School teacher June Brown calls her students from 2000 "the best fifth-grade class ever."
To make their year even more memorable, she and Donna Little, the other fifth- grade teacher, decided to bury a time capsule the students could open when they became seniors.
Nancy Summerlin, whose daughter Martha is now co-salutatorian, recalls the assignment from the spring of 2000.
The teachers, she said, "encouraged the class to place sentimental and personal items in the time capsule along with average costs of living, a list of class officers, a picture of the class and a program of a patriotic program the class had recently performed."
Other items included, Mrs. Brown said, were millennium stamps, pencils from a student who could rarely find one, a demerit slip from a student with plenty to spare, a T-shirt from a student who ran for office, a postcard from a student's vacation, and letters written to parents, themselves and friends.
They also penned letters to the teachers, imagining what their lives would be like in 2007. For some, their predictions were correct, Mrs. Brown said.
"In fifth grade, they pretty much knew what they wanted their lives to be like and they knew they could do anything they attempted because they were the best," she said. "One of the students, Anna Wilkins, had written in her letter to me that she and I had watched an episode of 'Touched by an Angel' that had given us the idea for the time capsule."
The time capsule recently served as a great excuse to reunite students and teachers. Of the 28 former fifth-graders, 21 showed up for the unveiling.
At the class reunion of sorts, students Patrick Kornegay, Doug Johnson and Kyle Pender were handed shovels and given the task of unearthing the buried treasure. It was a moment of mixed emotions, Mrs. Brown said.
"We were worried for a few minutes because it was buried a little deeper than we remembered," she said. "At last we saw the top of the capsule and we sighed with relief and cheered with great excitement."
Everyone then gathered in the school gymnasium for a brief reception. Among those on hand to help celebrate were the Rev. Fred Clifford, principal at the school when the time capsule was buried, and Pete Williams, then chairman of the school board.
When the time came to open the capsule, it raised several questions, Mrs. Brown said.
"What would we find inside? Would we be disappointed or embarrassed? Would the contents be ruined? Would we remember everything that we placed in the capsule?" she asked.
Despite the metal casing and several layers of plastic bags within, the contents were "drenched and had a definite foul odor," Mrs. Summerlin said.
The papers were laid out and dried very quickly, though, Mrs. Brown said.
After reading the letters and reminiscing over days gone by, each student was presented with a CD containing special moments from their year with Mrs. Brown.
Calling them the "best class ever," she said it was very important to her that they knew it.
"If nothing else is remembered, these (former) fifth-graders of Wayne Christian School will not forget this one thing," she said.
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