The spring of 2011 proved quite the eventful one: the military killed Osama bin Laden; a tornado hit Massachusetts; the Bruins won the Stanley Cup; the FBI captured Whitey Bulger.
A newsworthy season by any standards, Watertown High School graduating seniors have another reason to keep up with the headlines: to include articles, photographs and personal statements in a time capsule to be displayed at the Watertown Public Library for 50 years.
The capsule will remain on display at the library until the Watertown High School class of 2061 opens the capsule on June 3, exactly 50 years after the class of 2011 graduated.
Karen Trenholm, senior class advisor, said the capsule’s clipping collection escalated from the Royal Wedding in late April.
“It’s amazing they’re making a time capsule at this time, considering this is the most active two-month period news-wise that we’ve had in a long time,” Trenholm said. “They started collecting newspapers during the Royal Wedding. Then Osama bin Laden was killed three days later. Then, during senior week, we had tornadoes touching Massachusetts for the first time ever as far as severity goes. Then they decided to wait to load the capsule to see if the Bruins would win the Stanley cup, which they did… and now with Whitey Bulger being caught this week – well, they have quite a collection of newspapers.”
Katie Carlson, senior class secretary, suggested the capsule idea to class president Anthony Fierimonte as a way to spend excess funds of a few thousand dollars on something no class had ever done before. The class voted on what to do with the surplus – other ideas included setting up a scholarship fund or saving the money for future class reunions – and ultimately decided to start collecting.
Students also submitted personal statements – they could be anonymous, named, open or sealed – and photographs along with newspaper articles. English teachers encouraged student submissions by offering extra credit.
“About a third – or over 50 – students submitted personal statements, bucket lists, what they’d like to do before they die, a description of who they are, what life is like in Watertown, and what they fear for the future,” Trenholm said. “Many commented about how nervous they were to start school in the fall.”
Trenhold said she hopes the capsule display will keep the senior class bonded past graduation.
“I hope the capsule will keep them close,” she said. “We will post pictures of the class at the library, which we hope to update over the years. We want it to be an active display. We want the whole town to see them age over the years.”
In comments from personal statements provided by Trenholm, Fierimonte wrote about his dreams for the future, and reminisced about the present in his personal statement.
“Ultimately, I want to be a CPA and open up my own accounting firm. I hope to be a self-made millionaire (though that may not seem like a lot of money to you guys) who is able to live an easy life after retirement,” he wrote. “By the way, this may seem crazy to you, but McDonald's has a dollar menu. That's right, everything is one dollar."
Fierimonte said the capsule idea appealed to him because he likes to envision how his hometown will look in 2061.
“It’s cool that 50 years from now… it’s bizarre to think I'll be a 68-year-old man,” he said. “The kids in Watertown will be so different. It’s so awesome.”
Fierimonte said he wants to be present when the capsule is opened in 50 years.
“I certainly don’t think I’ll be going anywhere far from metro Boston area, it’s a beautiful place and I plan to spend the rest of my life here,” he said. “In 2061, I’ll definitely be around for that opening if I’m still alive.”
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