NINE YEARS YOUNG
The memories held within these crinkled manila envelopes were nine years in the making.
Eight original members of Mrs. Florine Moore’s third grade class at Pearsontown Elementary School reunited Saturday afternoon to revisit a classroom project they completed in 2004. When the recent high school graduates placed their hands on their envelopes, they gazed upon their names, written with backwards letters and crooked handwriting by 8-year-old versions of themselves.
Erica Holloway had a little “Accelerator Cyber Station” computer in her pile of memories, which she said her father gave to her as a child. She also read a poem about her dad, which described her as a third grader having the very best seat, sitting on her father’s feet.
Holloway’s father passed away a month ago, and the significance of those time capsule choices brought tears into her eyes and of those around her.
She also had books in her pile that covered topics such as “What is a Star?” and “Why do Birds Fly South?” She also uncovered a journal, and she began to laugh and shake her head. She had said an hour before that she hoped she didn’t put anything embarrassing in her envelope.
“Oh, OK,” she said. “It says private.” She read one excerpt, though, that revealed a classmate’s third-grade crush on Bobby Bailey.
The present-day Holloway just graduated from Hillside High School and is planning to attend Savannah College of Art and Design and specialize in photography.
As other students opened their packets, they revealed Newsweek covers describing terrorism, the war and the workings of Al-Qaeda. A few of the female students had Bratz doll posters in their capsules, a big toy trend in 2004.
Alandra Williams just graduated from Jordan High School and is planning to attend the University of Florida. She was surprised by the number of familiar faces at the celebration, and she realized she’s managed to keep many of the same friends from third grade. Williams pulled out of her time capsule a button that read “Superstar,” a Polly Pocket figurine, Build-A-Bear book and magnifying glass.
She then read an excerpt that she had written in third grade to go along with the magnifying glass: “I like to find things in the ground and see what they’re made of.”
Alandra’s mother, Collette, said the magnifying glass goes along with her daughter’s love of science.
“It’s definitely recreating memories for her,” Collette said. “(There’s) the realization that things change, people change, goals change.”
Teewon Reed just graduated from Jordan High School and is preparing to go to East Carolina University. As she opened up her time capsule, she revealed a photo of her baby sister, a bracelet given to her by her father and a birthday party favor.
She read the paragraph she scribbled in third grade, which said she had wanted to go to UNC-Chapel Hill.
Reed got emotional as she read, “I then want to travel around the world to help very sick people.” She wrote down that she wanted to be a doctor that helped sick patients in Africa.
Moore, their third-grade teacher, calls these students her babies, her unique, special class of students. They call her their second mother. This was the only class Moore prepared the time capsule project for because she said these students “didn’t mind going the extra mile.”
Shaneeka Moore-Lawrence, Moore’s daughter, said she would run into her mother’s students at the mall or at fast food restaurants, and they’d say, “See you in 2013!”
“And now, here we are,” Moore-Lawrence said. “This is something my mom has looked forward to for several, several years.”
Moore said she never lost contact with her third-grade class. Their parents would call her sometimes, asking for advice. This project was created to show her students that they were going to change over time, that life overall would change.
“As they go off to college, sometimes they may not be able to talk to their parents, but they can talk to me,” Moore said. “I love ‘em, honey.”