Corvallis High School seniors caught a glimpse of their younger selves last week. 

They opened time capsules compiled in sixth grade with then-teacher Jennifer Powell.

“It was the first year I moved to the middle school and realized it was a milestone when they were stepping into their teenage years and junior high,” Powell said. “I knew it was the middle of their education and that the next six years would bring so many changes. I remember moving up from the primary school and remembering how old they looked to me and how old they thought they were.”

Powell created the time capsule project.  

Fast forward six years and the 18-year-olds gathered Monday in the middle school commons area to open the self-decorated envelope time capsules. They found letters from relatives, photos of their 11-year-old selves, band concert programs, detention slips, drawings from younger siblings and letters from their younger selves.

“One of the kids had put in an iTunes gift card and a dollar, in case money had changed,” Powell said.

Each student had completed a questionnaire listing their favorites: flavors, teams, colors and friends.

“Our teachers told us to bring mementos to school and things that we liked at that moment,” said Mary Elizabeth Royce. “I have a list of things I was thankful for, and there are letters that my parents collected from all my siblings and people that I love. They are letters to me, and when I read them I’ll probably start crying.”

In Ethan Dixon’s time capsule was a “Good Morning” from the front page of the Ravalli Republic. The photo is of him and his friend Tyler Nixon as water boys at a Bitterroot Blaze game.

Kolton Mahan said initially he was not going to attend the time capsule opening because he did not remember making one.

“The pictures are fun to see,” he said. “There are a couple from the fair and a couple of baseball pictures. I think this project is a good idea. I probably thought it was dumb then but it is cool to see now what all we have.”

Students were calling old friends and sharing what was in their envelopes.

Bailey Zsupnik said she enjoyed the letter she wrote to herself.

“Having stuff from our past reminds us where we came from,” she said. “I have encouraging letters from my family and they talked about what was happening in my life at that time. They gave me advice about my future and talked about who I was a person. It reminds me to say true to myself.”

Zsupnik said there were some tough reminders of what her parents and grandparents were going through at the time.

“Those are hard to pull back up again, but I’ve gained a lot of good experiences,” she said. “Looking back it shows how much I’ve grown since I was little.”

Zsupnik said her list of favorites has not changed.

“I still like (the color) yellow, cookies and cream ice cream, and mangoes, and my favorite sport is still dance,” she said. “I wrote on my list that I hoped to visit Arizona and Washington, D.C., which I have.”

Tyler Evans said that at age 11 he had listed his favorite book as “Into Thin Air.”

“It’s funny because I read it again this year as a senior and I’m not sure how I was able to understand it before,” he said. “I’m a climber and in my journal I wrote that I wanted climb 9,000-foot peaks. Well, I was able to climb Mount Rainier two years ago and I have climbed Granite Peak and the Tetons. I’ve accomplished more than I thought I would.”

Abby Dunn said the best part of her time capsule was the letters from her parents.

“They had predictions and some are funny and some are accurate,” Dunn said. “The drawings from my little just brothers were just scribbles but now they are the same age as when I made the time capsule. They are where I was and that’s cool to reflect on. These mementos made my smile and cry.”

Powell said she would try to deliver the unclaimed time capsules.

“I’ll start with the high school office then start making phone calls,” Powell said. “I’ve had kids that have moved and some have taken their time capsules with them. I had a teacher do it for me when I was in third grade and I loved it.” 

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