Class of 2033 freezes 1st-grade memories in time capsule


By Dawn Hatfield and the first graders of Arcanum Elementary

ARCANUM — Mrs. Baughn, Mrs. McCans, Mrs. Pfahler, and Miss McEldowney’s first grade classes at Arcanum Elementary school recently completed a very special project. Sometimes the stars align and something seems just too special to ignore. As first graders, this class got to experience “Twosday” on 2-2-22; as seniors, they will experience “Threesday” on 3-3-33. This gave their teachers a wonderful idea: Students would work together to create a time capsule to enshrine their special moments of today with the intent of opening it more than a decade later as seniors.

Teacher Britney Pfahler said, “This project is not something we do every year. Because it was special years that fell on the calendar, I thought it would be a great project to complete. It has created excitement especially when the students see the time capsule every day in the hallway trophy case.”

This reporter was invited to Arcanum Elementary to meet with this special class of students. They were eager to tell all about their time capsule project and to help create this very news article. To help them understand the process of writing their time capsule story, the 5W’s (who, what, when, where, why) and How were used:

Who was involved in this project? “Everyone in first grade at Arcanum Elementary School,” the students replied.

What was the special project you made? “We wrote and put things inside a time capsule,” they answered.

Pfahler elaborated, “We worked together as a first-grade class to create a separate paper that said where we go on our field trips, some of the things we’ve learned in first grade, even what the gas prices were, how the Bengals went to the Super Bowl, and we had a big class picture in there.”

A student interjected, “Letters! We wrote letters in our classes for us to open in the box when we are seniors.” Another student clarified, “We wrote the letters to ourselves!”

Could everybody put their favorite things in there? “No! It’s (the capsule) too small. We put a Pop It toy in there,” a student excitedly shared. “I LOVE Pop-its!”

Pop Its are often marketed as sensory toys that help relieve anxiety and stress or help children and adults who struggle with maintaining focus. Some kids may find the simple action of popping bubbles soothing and helpful for paying attention and these toys are immensely popular today. In addition to the Pop It toy, students included a face mask and COVID test in remembrance of this time in history.

When did this happen? All students answered in unison, “Two, two, twenty-two!” One student explained this special day was chosen because “it’s all twos.” Another said, “And it will never happen again [in our lifetimes].”

Why would you make a time capsule? “Because, when we’re older, we can laugh!” This special group of first graders who created a time capsule on 2-2-22 will open the capsule as seniors of 3-3-33. Even at this young age, students have an understanding that a lot about the world and many things about themselves will change in the coming 11 years.

Will you be exactly the same when you are seniors? “No!” exclaimed the first graders in unison.

Will you remember exactly what it was like to be in first grade? “No!”

The first graders had a complete understanding of time capsules after working on this project, saying, “A time capsule helps you remember about how young you were and how much you’ve grown.”

Where is the time capsule kept? “When we go to lunch, our time capsule is in a glass case (trophy case), and we can look at it.”

Can you describe how it looks? “It’s brown and it has a Trojan on the outside.” Did you draw it? “No, someone carved it!”

Pfahler explained Mrs. McClain, from the school library, printed the words and image, and her husband, Howard, engraved the wooden time capsule box for the students.

Students were then dismissed back to their regular classes, and Mrs. Pfahler’s class accompanied this reporter to the trophy case to show off their beloved time capsule where they happily posed for a picture, capturing the special moment in time.

Dawn Hatfield covers education stories for The Daily Advocate. Have a school-related event to share? Reach out by email at [email protected] or by phone at 937-569-0066.

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