The new Park Place Middle School gym, known as "The Den," was abuzz with excitement as the staff and 750+ students filled the bleachers for the highly anticipated unveiling of the 1976 Monroe High School time capsule that was unearthed during the construction of the new building.
Special guests included Monroe High School alums, former Monroe School Board Directors and Washington State Director for USDA Rural Development and Monroe graduate, Kirk Pearson.
To kick off the ceremony, student representatives and the emcee, Park Place Assistant Principal, Monroe High School grad and Monroe history buff, Joel Garrison, took turns highlighting how staff and students worked with Integrus Architecture to blend the 'old with the new' throughout the construction of the new building. Examples included a large mural created in 1976 in the original high school that was preserved and incorporated into the new building and a plexiglass window in a hallway wall, showing how some original beams are still part of the existing structure.
Former School Board President Irv Jones stepped to the mic next to express his joy to be involved in the time capsule ceremony and his hopes for the success of the next generation of Monroe students. Kirk Pearson also expressed his excitement to be present for the time capsule unveiling. He shared a fun historical fact - did you know that Monroe hasn't always been the Bearcats? At one point they were the Monroe Mountaineers!
Thanks to Garrison, the students, staff and special guests took a step back in time to hear the history of the land Park Place sits on. Next time you drive down Main Street, take a moment to notice the large grouping of juniper trees in front of the school. Keeping those newly planted trees was part of the original agreement between the nursery that owned the land and the school district when the land was purchased.
When it came time to reveal the items contained in the time capsule, an anticipatory hush settled over the audience. The student reps pulled out each item one by one and Garrison described each item in detail. Included in the time capsule was a program from the 1976 Homecoming football game with a photo of the Homecoming royalty on the back, several copies of the Monroe Monitor & Valley News, laminated copies of the MHS ASB Constitution, an all district employee contact list, a United States Bicentennial medal, a Monroe School District ballpoint pen, a copy of the program and speech given at the setting of the cornerstone ceremony, and a photo of a historic flood that happened in the Sky Valley in 1975.
At the close of the ceremony, a competition to create a new time capsule was announced. The current student body was challenged to submit essays on what they think should be included in a new time capsule that will be created this year in celebration of the new building.