As Jim Hayes inspected soggy photos pulled from a 25-year-old time capsule, memories from his time at Shuksan Middle School flooded back to him.
“I had a lot of good times in this school,” Hayes said.
On Wednesday, Nov. 12, Shuksan Middle School students and alumni opened a time capsule that was buried in 1989, and they found the plastic bucket to be halfway filled with water. Yet some of the messages on the back of the photos — mostly predictions of what 2014 would be like —remained intact.
While a few predictions were spot on, others resembled what many of today’s students are saying about their future.
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One 1989 student predicted that Bellis Fair mall would take up half of Bellingham by 2014, another said that acid rain would be a major problem, and a third student thought they would be a starter on the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks by now.
John Sage, a social studies teacher at the school, reminded an audience comprised of students and alumni of what was going on 25 years ago. “The Cosby Show” was the most popular TV show, Nintendo had just begun selling Gameboys, and gas was 97 cents per gallon.
The names on the messages were not legible in many cases due to the water damage, leading one current middle schooler to chime in and ask, “Wouldn’t there have been lamination in that time?”
However, Stephanie Dire was able to find her prediction and read it out loud. As a middle-schooler in 1989, she thought Bellingham would eventually grow to be as big as Seattle. She also thought the airport would be renovated and there would be a new roller rink.
Many students thought the school’s colors would change, or that the school would be rebuilt. Both proved to be accurate: Shuksan was rebuilt in 2009, and the school colors changed twice in the last 25 years.
Students in 1989 seemingly had similar ideas that current students do about growing technology, population, and environmental concerns.
Colby Dewilde, Alan Cruz and Colton Taylor-Ortiz, all current Shuksan Middle School students, predict Bellingham will grow along with technology in the next 25 years. Colton said the school might be remodeled again to meet technological demands. If they were to put items in a new time capsule, they would include iPhones and video game cases.
Sage said there is only one faculty member, the school librarian, who worked for the school when the capsule was buried.
Kristina Nelson, who now has three kids, said she was a little disappointed the capsule was wet and she couldn’t find her prediction, but said she “probably wrote something about New Kids on the Block.”
“I kind of wish I could go back,” Nelson said.
Sage said the school will be burying another time capsule this spring. This time, they won’t be using a plastic bucket.