Written by: Karyn Booth (Class of 2009 Homeroom Teacher)
To curate (v) is to care for an assembled exhibit, a collection of objects or ideas that create a response.
A decade ago, the TCS graduating class became curators of their class’ unique culture and community. In June 2009, students were invited to place an item in the chest that was significant to them personally, that was meaningful to that time of life or to their interests. On Friday, September 27, 2019 we reunited and celebrated the artifacts with the opening of the time capsule, a bench you may have sat on in the TCS hallway and wondered about our smiling faces on the front.
With drill in hand, Mr Erik Holder (current teacher and former TCS parent) led the group, as only he can, in quick lesson on using the impact gun with safety glasses. The screws came loose and the lid was lifted, the spaces of ten years filled in quickly with the gasps and laughs. One by one students reached in to their past, shyly at first, and then soon many crouching and eagerly digging in. The bench you sat on held some of 2009’s magazines, advertisements, Archie comics, sports memorabilia, Starbucks cups, autographed shirts, hockey cards, music and more, chosen as only a grade 9 can do.
Mr Holder, Mrs Snell, Mr Hielema and I backed up; for there in the library it felt like holy ground. We were watching the students we once spent chunks of our days with reconnect, and this tangible familiarity returned, and for a moment we were back in 2009 too. We saw again the students we taught in the engineer’s smile, the physiotherapist’s clever wit, the nurses’ giggles, the teachers’ smiles, the career women and men. No one imagined how a pile of paper, an old pair of shoes, some photos, a list of hilarious predictions of their lives could elicit moments of intense gratitude for community, for days of assignments and assessments, for schedules and sports games, for social lives and lessons.
The memories flooded back for all of us as stories were exchanged and the circle around the box grew tighter, and more hands pulled out loot. For me, I recalled the camaraderie with my colleagues, and how we always wondered where will our students end up? I remembered the parents of the students, how they would pop in and visit, or leave treats on my desk. I choked up thinking of the amazing Margaret Strandberg, her brilliant smile and heart beating on with her daughter and son. And then what was that bag of green beans? I could still “see” them on the table, recalling their distracting and mysterious presence. Andrew Loeppky designed the Brave to Shave shirt, and a quietness for “the best…” brave fund raising haircut Trevor Miller and family did honoring their late mom’s cancer journey. Almost unrecognizable, a pair of tracks shoes from a class alumni and now Olympian, Elisabeth (Vathje) Maier who started her skeleton journey that year. The artifacts range in personality and colour, just like the class.
Sadly, not all the students were able to attend. Many have kept in touch and socialize together, some have been or will be in each others weddings as attendants or guests, two have married each other! (Congratulations Dylan and Nicole Pasveer who started dating in grade 9…) Rachelle Berg, one of the class historians re-read the speech she originally wrote and read with Aaron Groeneveld, and what a treat to hear the “guess who” style it was written in, and again more connection.
And then, just like a decade ago, the students travelled the halls as a group, this time looking for the hall marks they left and commenting on changes they never saw coming. And just like the end of school, we were teachers in an empty room with paper. The items will be displayed, and for a while, the Starbucks prices and the clamshell cell phone will elicit comments from today’s students. THE time capsule of 2009 was well curated, and the hope of future connection was met. The lid will go back and you will be welcomed to sit again, on an empty box, but our smiles are still there, on the front. The new legacy of the 2009 time capsule, is connection, the time will pass anyway, the papers may be recycled, but may the connection always be there.