BREWER, Maine — Superintendent Daniel Lee held up a Beatles record on Thursday morning and asked the students that encircled him what it was.
One yelled out, “It’s a disk,” which caused a wave of laughter in those old enough to know that the black circular plastic record carries music.
“No, it’s not a disk,” Lee said. “When I was in high school I used to collect these.”
The music record is an example of how quickly technology has changed since his youth, he said, adding that it easily could have been something placed into a time capsule 40 years ago.
On Thursday, a new time capsule was placed into a wall at the media center — or library — of the city’s new pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade school on Parkway South, scheduled to open next fall.
Brewer elementary and middle school students helped to choose what would go inside a time capsule. Some of the students, each wearing a white plastic construction hat, were on hand Thursday to pack the time capsule and seal it. The plan is to open it in 50 years, said Karl Ward, president and CEO for Nickerson & O’Day, which is building the school and donated the cost of the moisture- and air-sealed capsule.
“Won’t that be an amazing day?” he said.
“Yeah,” a little voice said, drawing another round of laughs.
Several students spoke about how each grade selected the items for the time capsule before Matteah Hamm, 14, who last year was the president of Jobs for Maine’s Graduates group, helped to load the items into the metal container.
The seventh grade selected a Brewer Witches T-shirt, five grades (the first, second, fifth and eighth) sent class pictures, and fifth-graders chose an issue of the Bangor Daily News from the day after the health care reform bill was passed.
Hamm, along with students Cassandra Crawford and Cody Vigue, were instrumental in moving the project forward last year and were replaced this year by Jobs for Maine’s Graduates members Samuel Burris, president, Joey Wilson, Britni Gaddis and Jordan Verge.
“Thank you again for this opportunity,” Craig Allen, project reach specialist for Jobs for Maine’s Graduates, said in an e-mail to Lee. “The students loved it!”
Lee told the students that technology most likely will make great strides in the next five decades and jokingly said those who open the time capsule may think, “How did they survive?”
“Things will be different,” he said.
The new Brewer Elementary-Middle School will have 71 classrooms, house up to 1,050 students and include a $2.6 million performing arts center and adjacent eight-lane outdoor track. It will have separate wings for the different age groups, with shared areas in the middle of the 175,000-square-foot building for such things as the cafeteria and media center.
Once complete, the new two-story school will replace four aging elementary schools and Brewer Middle School, all built between 1926 and 1962.
One reason the capsule was placed on display is because a time capsule hidden when the Pendleton Street School opened more than a half-century ago was never found, Lee said.
“We dug all around looking for it,” he said after Thursday’s ceremony ended.
The Pendleton school time capsule was supposed to be hidden behind a ceiling panel, but it was never recovered, Lee said.
“They’re going to mark it with a plaque so in 50 years we know where to find it,” he said of the time capsule sealed on Thursday.