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Students bury time capsule at James Clemens to commemorate their own place in Alabama’s history

MADISON – In the year 2044, students at James Clemens High School will unearth a time capsule buried 25 years earlier in the school’s outdoor classroom. Watching them will likely be some former students in their late thirties and early forties, remembering the day they gathered in 2019 to commemorate Alabama’s 200th anniversary and honor the creation of their school.

Students at James Clemens buried the time capsule Thursday that will be unearthed a quarter of a century later. It was created to commemorate Alabama history during the state’s Bicentennial in 2019 and the school’s part in that history.

Various school clubs sponsored the time capsule event including Interact Club, Rho Kappa and Jets Wildlilfe.

Summedha Bobba, president of the Interact Club, the youth arm of Rotary International, said the time capsule was designed to capture the spirit of James Clemens and its place in Alabama history.

The club’s sponsor Patrice O’Donnell, who teaches AP American History at JC, developed the idea of a time capsule with another teacher, Melissa Lee, who is the sponsor of Rho Kappa.

“It captures history and gives the students a way to be part of that history,” O’Donnell said. “The students talked to various teachers, asked what they had to share in the time capsule, and learned a little about the history of James Clemens.”

The time capsule is filled with small artifacts and memorabilia tied mostly to James Clemens’ opening in 2012 and first graduating class, like a 2013 graduation program, 2013 graduation tickets, and 2013 jacket letters.

When looking for a place to bury the time capsule, the newly created outdoor classroom seemed ideal. The two teachers talked to Patricia Williams, sponsor of the Jets Wildlife Club and the outdoor classroom, who was excited to participate and offered the space. “The outdoor classroom will continually be maintained and used through the years and makes the perfect spot for it,” O’Donnell said.

“When I was first approached with the idea of the time capsule, I asked what a time capsule has to do with wildlife?” said Jets Wildlife Club president Campbell Brown. “Since then, my understanding has become much more solid. To me the main idea behind the time capsule is conservation.”

Brown said he added his own contribution to the time capsule from the wildlife club – seeds. He said it would be interesting to see if the seeds will be viable sealed in a time capsule that long. “We shall see,” he said. “I will be 38 when we unearth these seeds, and I am determined to see if they are still able to produce food even after all those years.”

Burying the time capsule of a combined effort of several clubs and organizations at the school, from the Interact Club, Rho Kappa and Jets Wildlife Club who organized the event to the James Clemens JCROTC, Drama Club and Jet Press who assisted in the ceremony.

Two art students were on hand creating art pieces to commemorate the burial of the time capsule. “We are going to hang them in the office area to make it memorable so that whoever is the principal in 2044 will know there is something here and they will hopefully dig it up,” O’Donnell said.

On hand were a crowd of students and a few faculty sponsors.

Superintendent Robby Parker, Principal Dr. Brian Clayton, MCS school board president Ranae Bartlett and member Luis Ferrer attended. Sally Warden, the director of the Huntsville-Madison County Bicentennial Committee; April Waltz, the Alabama Wildlife Federation Outdoor Classroom Program Coordinator, and Bailey Erickson with the Rotary Club of Madison also attended the ceremony.

After the ceremony students took turns throwing handfuls of dirt on the buried capsule before maintenance crews finished filling in the hole.

The time capsule inventory includes:

4 Space Camp Postcards

3 space camp badges

1 legacy in space pin

2013 graduation program

8.21.17 solar eclipse glasses

2013 prom invitation

2013 graduation tickets

JCHS Jacket letters

2013 prom key chain

2012 homecoming ribbon

2012 sounds of the stadium concert flyer

2012 JCHS ribbon cutting invite

2013 senior night invite

2013 tassel

2012-2013 student handbook

JCHS Jets pin

Ticket to JCHS Theatre Lies about High School performance

Interact club t-shirt

Signatures from all those who attended the burial

Seeds provided by Jets Wildlife Club

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