ROSWELL, Ga. – A group of former students from the 1992 eighth-grade class of Holcomb Bridge Middle School gathered Oct. 10 with teachers, administrators, parents and current students in the media center to witness the opening of a 20-year-old time capsule named “Powaqqatsi.”
Led by teacher Marjory Segal, the capsule was sealed May 28, 1992 containing artifacts selected to represent the times and demonstrate the students’ commitment to creating a world where humans could coexist peacefully. Fifteen of the 90 students that assembled the time capsule returned 20 years later, traveling from as far away as Colorado and Kentucky to reunite at their old school.
“I’ve carried the invitation Mrs. Segal gave us for this event in my wallet for 20 years,” said Eric Levin, one of the 1992 students. “It’s pretty amazing that we’re all here together.”
The time capsule project was rooted in a Georgia history class on primary and secondary sources and inspired by the study of the book “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
“With permission from our principal Vernon Alford, the class decided to create its own set of sources to tell the story of what we did and how we felt about life in the spring of 1992,” said Segal. “In a sense, we gave birth to the time capsule Powaqqatsi, a Hopi word meaning life in transition. I can’t tell you how gratified I am to be here today to see its opening.”
The time capsule contained a rich assortment of artifacts, including an old Georgia state flag that the students were correctly convinced would be changed, newspaper articles about the beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles and Magic Johnson’s announcement of his AIDS diagnosis and a tape-recorded student interview with Martin Luther King III. The capsule also contained light-hearted memorabilia from school activities, from the latest music and fashion to a Mickey Mouse keychain from Disney World.
Joy Schroerlucke, the current principal of Holcomb Bridge Middle School, said she was thrilled to reunite with the 1992 class.
“As an educator, my heart is full that one of the goals set by principal Vernon Alford in 1992 has come true. We are now a Georgia School of Excellence. I am also very proud that we share the same commitment to peace and respect for the individual that was espoused by this illustrious group of students.”
Student ambassadors from the 2012 eighth-grade class announced their intention to create a new time capsule at Holcomb Bridge. They presented each 1992 alumnus with a gift copy of the book “A Long Walk to Water” by Linda Sue Park, which was the focus of Holcomb Bridge’s recent “One Book” project. The book based on the story of the severe challenges faced by the Lost Boys of the South Sudan inspired the students to commit to raising $10,000 with 501(c)3 nonprofit Mothering Across Continents (MAC) toward building a new school in the country, which was ravaged during a 20-year civil war.
“We understand that you were inspired by ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’” said one eighth grade student. “We were also inspired by literature and are proud to join with you today to stand up for peace in our world.”