Roosevelt principal Aaron Darragh opens up time capsule in front of current students and guests
Former staff and alumni of Roosevelt Elementary School assembled with current staff and students to dig up and open a 50-year-old time capsule at the school.
The time capsule was put in the ground nearly 50 years ago when the current school first opened its doors in the 1972-73 school year.
An assembly on May 12 organized by the school welcomed the numerous guests to the school, gave a brief history of the city of Bellingham, as well as an important land acknowledgement of the Coast Salish peoples, and shared stories. One story that was repeated told of former students walking en masse from the original Roosevelt Elementary School, that had been previously located at the corner of Alabama and Woburn, to the new school carrying their school supplies and books in paper bags.
During the assembly, current Roosevelt students also had a chance to ask questions of the guests in attendance. These questions included:
“Did you do everything on paper?” The answer was a resounding Yes!
“Was the bear the mascot?” The answer was they didn’t have a mascot at the old school but eventually early on in the current school it became a bear.
“Did anyone have to wear a uniform?” The answer was given by Lisa Peterson, district teacher and President of the Bellingham Education Association (BEA), who was a fifth grader when the new school opened. She remembers that at one time girls had to wear dresses, and when they eventually could wear pants, they couldn’t be jeans. Peterson was one of those students walking from the old to the new school the day the new school opened in 1972.
Once the time capsule was opened, old class photos and student letters, a tape cassette from Miss Bing’s music class and Mr. Van Beek’s fifth grade class, as well as some student drawings were pulled out. They were a little damp so after some restoration, these will be reviewed and enjoyed.
One former teacher in attendance, Roxanne Melland, shared this with the school after the assembly:
“Thank you all for the hard work and effort you put into the opening of the time capsule buried 50 years ago. It was so well organized and the children at Roosevelt were so well-behaved and I was very impressed with their questions, especially the one about whether or not we used paper. Roosevelt has a wonderful staff led by an amazing principal. I felt very welcomed today. My favorite part was when I found a little scroll amongst the treasures. I unrolled it and there were all my students and their little blurb that they had written. It was so heartwarming to see that it was still intact. One of my students from 50 years ago came to meet me today. I am including a picture of us holding the scroll.”

Reflecting on the day, Peterson also felt moved by the history and memories awoken during the event. “The time capsule opening was such a special day for me,” she said. “It brought back happy memories from my years at Roosevelt. I attended Roosevelt at the original site, moved into the new building for fifth grade and had the great fortune to teach there for 13 years.  When I joined the Roosevelt staff, several of my teachers were still teaching at Roosevelt. What a thrill it was to teach with them.”

“Roosevelt will always have a special place in my heart!”

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