St. James Middle School celebrated its 30th birthday by taking a trip back in time and opening a 30-year-old time capsule.
Students and staff stashed the capsule within the brick near the entrance to the building in 1988, when the school first opened. On Monday, almost 30 former students, teachers, and administrators returned to campus to recover the time capsule and rummage through its contents.
“It was fantastic. It brought back a flood of memories,” said Wendell Shealy, the school’s first principal.
He did the honors of removing the capsule from inside the wall of the building. He helped create the collection of memorabilia during St. James Middle’s opening.
“I had been asked before if I could remember what was in the box, and I could remember just a few things. But many of the things we revealed today, I had totally forgotten about. 30 years is a long time,” said Shealy.
Inside he found pictures of the school’s opening, old school newspapers, teacher schedules, and a letter written by the school’s first student body president, Sylvester Carr, better known as Monty. He is now the assistant principal at Forestbrook Middle School.
“I can remember now writing it with Kim, but it was very surreal reading it and seeing what our perspectives were as 13 year olds. Being in the position that I was, and formulating sentences like that, it helped me move forward in my life and my career,” said Carr.
He’s not the only Carr leaving a legacy at St. James. Monty’s mother, Gloris Carr, has also taught there for 30 years.
“This is my home away from home. My kids keep laughing at me because I tell them this is my social life. This is my family here,” she said.
Along with his letter, Carr admits another familiar item in the time capsule – detention slips.
“I had a lot of energy. I might have talked a lot. Very social. As far as trouble, they never kicked me out of class. I’ll say that,” said Carr.
The school plans to add memorabilia from current students before returning the capsule to its location in the wall.