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John English JMS students look back in time with alumni

John English JMS students look back in time with alumni

1982 time capsule opened

Thursday, October 29, 2015
Categories: Great Things, Happenings @ TDSB, School Web Stories

Have you ever tried to predict the future?  Do you remember the goals and dreams you had when you were 12 years old?  Can you even recall those days and what was happening in the world at that time?  John English JMS had a chance to consider all of that in celebrating its own “Back to the Future Day” when on October 23, 2015, they welcomed former students from the 80s to unearth a time capsule that had been buried for 33 years. 

In the movie Back to the Future II, Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly time-travelled to the date October 21, 2015 in order to help his future son out of a jam.  There was no jam at John English JMS two days later, though there were plenty of anxious moments as a John Deere backhoe dug deeper and deeper into the ground in search of the buried treasure. It was finally located five feet down from where an X on a map marked the spot to excavate. 

Inside the battered bin, students, staff, and some of the alumni who contributed to the time capsule more than three decades ago found newspapers, old photographs, and writings that captured the thoughts, dreams and artifacts of the former students as they recorded and sealed them on October 27, 1982.  

At that time, moviegoers were watching Rocky in the ring for a third time and a small extra-terrestrial nicknamed E.T. encouraged everyone to “phone home.”  Songs like “Physical” and “Eye of the Tiger” topped the charts, inspiring young and old alike to be fit and active.  Sony introduced the CD player which would signal a major change in the music industry.  In the world of politics, a man named Trudeau was Prime Minister. That Prime Minister Trudeau’s government passed the Canada Act, creating the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and patriating the Canadian constitution.

Current students at John English had the opportunity to interview former students about their time at John English JMS and heard about what life was like in the early 80s for teens and how grade school experiences helped shape their lives. “It was a really cool event seeing what was important to the students in 1982," said Alice S. "It has inspired us to think about our own time capsule.”

Principal Craig Howe said the event was a perfect, intergenerational way to bring history to life and make classroom learning relevant for his grade 8 students.  “The students have been studying land use and the changes in land use in the Mimico area,” he said.  “Some have also been studying about immigration and the push and pull factors that cause people to migrate [and] are curious about reasons that some people may leave an area for another.”

Ironically, the dig came on the one year anniversary of the death of much-loved former Principal Wayne Hulley, who spearheaded the time capsule project 33 years earlier. His wife and daughter were on hand for the event and heard from his former students who spoke glowingly and with many fond memories of the long-time educator.

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