Time Capsules Speak to Future Alums

What sort of a world will today’s Rivers students inhabit in 10 or 15 years? Apparently, one in which they expect to feel nostalgic for Red Sox and Patriots championships, scrunchies, turf, and fidget spinners.
Current Rivers students—from the Class of 2019 to the Class of 2025—spent time this winter selecting items to place inside of time capsules, which will be stashed in the new Center for Science and Visual Arts. Each class created its own capsule, and they will crack them open when they return to campus for their 10th reunion. On Monday, February 25, at an all-school meeting, the co-presidents of each class described the contents of their time capsules, content that they hoped would allow their future selves to take a nostalgic look back at their life at Rivers today.

Head of School Ned Parsons first addressed the meeting, noting that the new building had reached a milestone in its construction. A steel beam had been lowered onto the adjacent field a few days earlier, and Rivers community members—students, faculty, staff, and parents—were invited to sign it in indelible ink before the beam was hoisted into place. The new building, said Parsons, “represents the future and the next step for the school.” He also shared with the students a video “fly-through” of the Center; the audience cheered and applauded as they enjoyed this first look at the new facility.

Each class’s leaders then took to the stage in turn to share what had been chosen for the capsules. Among other items, 6th graders included a class picture, a skate lace, the script of the 6th grade play, and a Hamilton logo. Seventh grade had a grade roster and a list of favorite memes; students had also created a piece of writing about themselves, which will surely provide entertainment for their future selves. For 8th grade, it was a fidget spinner, a homecoming t-shirt, a scrunchie, a cookie wrapper from the café, and “jibbitz for Crocs.” (Over the age of 18? Google it.) Ninth grade also went for a scrunchie, as well as current Super Bowl and World Series memorabilia, perhaps rightly sensing that New England’s sports domination can’t be expected to endure until 2032. Tenth grade also included Red Sox and Patriots items, as well as a piece of the turf displaced by the new construction and notes to their future selves.

Juniors chose a copy of the school newspaper, a juul pod (not an endorsement, they quickly noted, just a significant memento of the times), parking stickers to commemorate their newly earned status as drivers, a piece of the turf, a Dunkin’ Donuts cup (perhaps an important relic for future generations, who will know the iconic brand as Dunkin’, sans Donuts), and a Red Sox fidget spinner. And seniors also included a copy of the newspaper, a homecoming t-shirt, a piece of that turf, and a video of the class’s whitewater rafting trip, gamely assuming it will still be playable on whatever device is in use in 10 years.

The theme for all the capsules might well be past, present, and future, as chosen items split the difference between enshrining today and predicting tomorrow. Like several other classes, 9th graders included a nod to their distantly glimpsed adult selves. “We wrote about what we want to do when we grow up,” said Dan Shanley ’22. “To see if we actually did any of that.”
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