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Contents of time capsule buried in park reflect student life during pandemic years

posted Jul 13, 2021, 4:41 AM by Michael Richards
In late May, a small group of people gathered in Founders Park in Wells to witness the burial of a time capsule to be unearthed in 2121.  Assisting in what was named the Wells 200 Committee Time Capsule Sealing and Burial were three Wells Elementary School fourth grade students who helped plan and gather items for the time-traveling cylinder.  The ceremony was organized by the Wells 200 Committee, formed in 2019 to plan and coordinate activities to involve Wells in the celebration of the 200th anniversary of Maine becoming a state. 

According to Wells Town Coordinator Cindy Adamsky, it was former Wells Town Manager, Jon Carter, who indicated that he wanted Wells to be a part of Maine's Bicentennial celebration.  Adamsky later formed the Wells 200 Committee to accomplish that.  Considering that Wells was incorporated as a town in 1653, the Committee wanted to add the “Wells story” to the Bicentennial celebration.   

Those present on May 26th  were Wells 200 Committee members Cindy Adamsky and Jackie Belmonte representing the Town of Wells; Bryce Waldrop of the Historical Society of Wells and Ogunquit; Stefanie Claydon from the Wells Public Library; and Maryanne Foley from the Wells-Ogunquit Community School District.  Wells Town Manager, Larissa Crockett, was also present.

“The kids did a great job…,” said Crockett following the ceremony. “To see the enthusiasm of kids wanting to leave something of history and to understand their place in the history of their space is a great opportunity.”  Town Manager Crockett, members of the Committee, WES teacher Suzanne LaPlante- Killoran and three of her students Vienna Cardinali, Emma Herman and Robert Roche all spoke briefly during the ceremony.   

The time capsule project was initially suggested by Maryanne Foley to Wells Elementary School following a Committee brainstorming session to find ways to celebrate the Bicentennial.  The planning of the capsule project was conducted by a dozen or so students in LaPlante-Killoran’s STRETCH class in the fall of 2019.  For perspective, students researched what Wells was like 200 years ago by visiting the Historical Society of Wells and Ogunquit.  They collected items for the capsule based on suggestions from their third and fourth grade classmates. 

Unfortunately, the time capsule project came to a halt in March of 2020 when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic altering life dramatically for millions including school students. It also put a hold on Maine’s Bicentennials celebrations.  Yet, now finished and in the ground, the time capsule should provide in a hundred years an interesting and informative glimpse of a historic period through the eyes of school children.   

Items placed in the 18-inch by 12-inch container include a student-created book, school t-shirts, two pandemic masks, a stone from Wells Beach and a scrapbook with text, photos, a discovery map of Wells, local restaurant menus, a copy of “Superintendent’s Update”, notices from WES Principal April Noble and Superintendent Jim Daly providing CDC pandemic guidelines, and news articles related to COVID-19 and the 2020 election.   Photos in the scrapbook include haunting images of their school’s empty music room with instruments but no students due to the pandemic.   
 
“I think the work that the kids have put together will certainly be of historical import 100 years from now and has shown a great level of flexibility and dedication to meet the challenges of our COVID-19 world in 2020, “ commented Stefanie Claydon in an email. “Today was a culmination of all of their hard work to preserve and document their town, their lives, and the community of Wells.”

“What we saw today…shows just how well these kids are grounded and that they were able to adjust to a world that we never, ever anticipated would happen,” said Cindy Adamsky. “They lost a lot this year with teams and everything else but they gained a perspective on their own abilities, to be able to work on their own…”  Adamsky continued, “They learned a perspective on life that will follow them in their future and give them a lot better tools than some other kids (had) before all this happened.  There is a certain self-reliance they learned during this.  They learned that the world around them really does affect them.” 

Following the ceremony in the park, a round metal plaque was placed to mark the capsule's location. It reads, “Wells Maine200 Time Capsule- Buried May 26, 2021 to be opened in 100 years”.  Also, the capsule’s longitude and latitude positions were recorded in an international database with Waymarking.com.  

Funding for the marker and the capsule came from a grant secured by the Wells 200 Committee including Andrea Kazilionas who played an integral role in getting the grant process going.  The grant came with suggested guidelines to make the capsule project and other activities intergenerational.   Note that the ceremony to bury the time capsule can be viewed online at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKRC0f0Hq3k

Time capsule planted
From left to right are WOCSD Volunteer Coordinator Maryanne Foley; WES Gifted and Talented teacher Suzanne LaPlante-Killoran; WES students Robert Roche, Emma Herman, and Vienna Cardinali; Cindy Adamsky; Stefanie Claydon, Wells Town Manager Larissa Crockett; and Bryce Waldrop.  The white time capsule is to the right of Adamsky.

Students planting the time capsule
From left to right are Wells Elementary School students Vienna Cardinali, Emma Herman, and Robert Roche preparing to bury a time capsule of various items reflective of the pandemic years of 2020-2021.

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