On the last day of school, staff and students from Don Mills Collegiate Institute journeyed to the past, as a quartet of time capsules were opened for the first time in 21 years.
While cleaning the school’s vault, a faculty member found a letter dated June 1991, bearing directions to the four blue PVC capsules buried by students in an ancient civilizations class.
“We hope that those of you who discover these capsules find the contents to be revealing,” wrote then ancient civilizations teacher R. Houston.
And revealing they were.
Inside was a mesh of cassette tapes, newspapers, fashion collages, $2 athletic banquet tickets and an old pair of denim shorts. But perhaps the most surprising was a two-decade-old hamburger that earned a lot of “gross” and nose covering from the crowd.
It took a whole day for vice principal Vance Scott and a couple of students to find the capsules’ location.
“The ground might have shifted,” Scott said. “We found the capsules a pace from the fence beside the pine tree at the school’s far-southeast corner.”
But the experience was worth it as students crowded in the school’s lobby to get a glimpse of history, and while some things have changed, a lot has stayed the same.
“When they pulled out the jean shorts I thought it looked exactly like some of the things that are in now,” said grade 11 student Brenda Oh. “It shows that things like the cycle of fashion repeats.”
The capsules’ contents will be on display, and according to Scott, the school will bury its own time capsule come fall.
Asked what she’ll put in the time capsule next year, Oh said she’d include pictures.
“Pictures are worth a thousand words and it will be very revealing as to what students were like, and the demographic,” she said.
But vice-principal David Fewson has a different idea.
“I look forward to putting a hamburger in,” he said, laughing.
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