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Draper Journal

Summit Academy captures historic 2020 year sealing their thoughts, mementos in a time capsule

Mar 10, 2021 11:22AM ● By Julie Slama

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

“If I could save time in a bottle/the first thing that I’d like to do/is to save every day/‘til eternity passes away/just to spend them with you.”

When Jim Croce wrote and sang the lyrics of “Time in a Bottle,” he certainly didn’t mean them to capture the time spent during a pandemic. However, that’s what 771 Summit Academy students tried to do—capture the time spent during the pandemic year of 2020 and seal them into a time capsule.

“The students have just lived though a year that was history in the making,” Summit Academy Principal Lindy Hatch said. “2020 will be a year that their children will be learning about in history class. I felt that this was a perfect opportunity for them to document what life in 2020 was like for them.”

The time capsule, which is “buried” in a trophy case, will be reopened in 20 years, not only to play along with the year 2020, but also because Hatch “thought it would be fun because some of our students will still be around in 20 years to be there when it is opened.”

In January 2021, after gathering items to place in the time capsule from students, staff and faculty and the student-parent organization, a ceremony was livestreamed. 

As part of the momentous occasion, the SPO held an essay-writing contest to the theme, “Turning the Trials of 2020 into Triumphs for 2021.”

“We had several submissions, especially from the third- and fourth-grade classes. I was very impressed with how many students have taken time to really reflect on the events of the past year and find the good that came out of it. I’m glad they were able to look on the positive side of things,” she said.

In the kindergarten through second-grade category, first place went to Gracie Powell, who read her essay at the ceremony; second, Hadley Aoki; and third, Kolson Bitner. In third- and fourth-grade classes, Zoey Bradshaw won, Emerson Brady earned second place and Harlow McCleery and Ryker Reid were third. For fifth- through eighth-grade, first place was awarded to Isabella Parker, second to Avery Devlin and third place to Makaya Pizza.

Zoey’s winning essay was read by Emily Fox and Isabella’s essay by Kamdyn Simons, then those essays and Gracie’s were placed in the time capsule.

Student council members, who are seventh- and eighth-graders, also took part in the ceremony by sharing what each grade added to the time capsule.

Those highlights included kindergartners sharing that their short school days got even shorter, but they were still able to learn reading, writing and arithmetic and they learned and shared songs via videos with their families. First-graders shared that they became better listeners as they heard people speak through masks and their hands became chapped with much hand sanitizer, but they were happy to be in school this fall after the soft closure of schools in March 2020 through the end of that school year.

Second-graders pointed out that dismissal moved up to 1:45 p.m. during the pandemic and third-graders showed their resiliency through forgotten passwords, mute buttons and links that connected them virtually with their teachers. Fourth-graders created a puzzle to be placed in the time capsule that showed they were willing to puzzle things out and problem-solve during quarantine; and plastic figurines linked hand-in-hand showed how fifth-graders were flexible, strong and stuck together during this pandemic.

Sixth-grade teachers submitted a photo of themselves dressed up as characters in the online game, “Among Us,” which became popular during the pandemic, said teacher Natalie Sluga.

“We dressed up as the ‘Among Us’ characters for Halloween and the students just loved it,” she said. “It was a great way to relate to the kids. We became a team and collaborated to unite and fight against the imposter, that being COVID-19. When the kids are quarantined, it can be a sad and depressing time, so this brought us together and the kids thought it was really funny.”

The seventh-grade put together some memes to highlight teaching and learning during the pandemic and eighth-grade included a model of Atlas to show their strength and grit as they journey on a new pathway in education.

Assistant Principal Paul Lundberg also shared with viewers items that were placed in the time capsule from a mask, hand sanitizer and empty toilet paper roll to class rosters, staff directory and a 2019-20 yearbook. There also were reflection sheets, photos and a current Summit Academy-Draper handbook.

Hatch said that many positive aspects came from the time capsule contest and participation.

“The best thing about it was it gave the students something to look forward to and something positive to focus on. The first day of school back in August was more of a somber day. Everyone was still unsure about how the school year was going to go. There wasn’t much celebrating going on. We wanted to take this opportunity to really add some excitement and joy into our school day,” she said.

To kick off the time capsule event, Hatch had welcomed them back to school in January under a rainbow-colored balloon arch and they posed together for a school photo—even during the social distancing guideline following the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I loved being able to clap the students in on Jan. 4. It was not something they were expecting. It was great to see their faces just light up as they walked through the clapping tunnel. It was a great way to start the new year,” Hatch said. “The drone shot that was taken of our entire school was also a highlight for me. It warms my heart to see all of my kids in one video. That is not something that happens often, especially during a pandemic.”