RFA time capsule to commemorate 150th commencement

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Rome Free Academy’s graduating class is planning an in-depth event, literally, to mark the school’s 150th annual commencement this month.

Members of the Class of 2019 are set to bury a time capsule with various materials in front of the school at Griffiss park on June 28 at noon, the day before the graduation ceremony which is June 29 at 10 a.m. at RFA Stadium. It is to be reopened in 50 years.

Several students including officers had “discussed the idea of doing something big for the 150th graduation,” explained Gina Colangelo, an RFA special education teacher and Class of 2019 co-adviser.

Student association President John George presented the time capsule idea, she noted, adding that all of the student officers “have been working on the project and will be obtaining items” to put in the capsule.

Among such items as mentioned by Colangelo: Letters from students and staff; RFA yearbook and graduation program, clothing, and memorabilia; photos; tickets from the junior prom and senior ball; current news; currency with a 2019 date; programs from RFA musicals; sports memorabilia such as a baseball signed by all seniors.

Officers and class advisers met to compile a list of items and also have “reached out to other students and the RFA staff” for things to include, Colangelo observed.

The time capsule, purchased online from the Heritage company, is made of a composite material and will have exterior dimensions of about 20-by-18-by-10 inches, weighing 16 pounds, said Colangelo. A marker stone, purchased from the local Kellogg Memorials company at a reduced rate, will specify the capsule’s location and the date to be opened, she added.

Among student officers involved in the project:

• From the student association — George; association Vice President Maddy DeCarolis; Treasurer Maria Keeney; Secretary Kaitlyn Mastracco.

* Class of 2019 President Benjamin McMonagle; Vice President Tejas Desai; Treasurer Tyrin Tennant; Secretary Eddie Long.

The Rome Free Academy name was established in 1869; a union free school district with a Board of Education was created that year, with the word “free” added to the title of the predecessor Rome Academy which dated back to the 1840s and was a privately owned school that charged tuition.

RFA has been at its current Griffiss park site since 2002, with previous locations having included at Turin Street next to RFA Stadium and at the corner of James and Court streets.

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