“We wanted to commemorate the 150th anniversary” for Rome Free Academy’s commencement and “have a special ceremony,” RFA senior John George said Friday as he stood next to a time capsule to be buried outside the school and opened in 50 years.
RFA students will “walk by and see it for the next 50 years,” George said of the container with various items that will be beneath a marker stone near the school’s main entrance for its lobby and offices.
George, the RFA student association president, originally presented the time capsule idea and worked on the project with other student officers. It is a “good thing for RFA,” he said of the capsule, adding “when we open it up” in 2069 he hopes it can be a big ceremony.
Members of the RFA Class of 2019 wanted to leave a “legacy for the school,” added fellow senior Tejas Desai, who is vice president of the class.
On the day before this weekend’s 150th RFA commencement, George and Desai were joined Friday by some other student officers plus Class of 2019 co-advisers Gina Colangelo and Lynne Duffy for a ceremony marking the location for the capsule and marker. Also part of the event was a ceremonial shovel from the groundbreaking for construction of the current RFA school, which opened at Griffiss park in 2002. Prior to that, the school for many years was located on Turin Street next to RFA Stadium, the site for the graduation.
Among items wrapped and included in the time capsule, said Colangelo and Duffy:
A 1969 Life magazine; posters from RFA; yearbooks from 2019 and 1999; RFA T-shirts; programs from musicals, clubs, science fairs, and the opening ceremony for the “new” RFA; a 2019 “This day in History” calendar; books on the history of Rome and the former Griffiss Air Force Base; stamps, American and New York state flags, and currency; a school calendar; Regents exams and science reference tables from this year; Class of 2019 photos and tickets including for homecoming, prom, ball, and class events; various other memorabilia.
A program from the 2019 graduation event also will be added, Duffy noted.
The capsule’s actual burial will occur in about a week, said Colangelo, explaining the area will be checked to be sure that underground lines are not disturbed. The burial will be about four feet deep, she added.
The project including the capsule and marker stone cost about $2,000 total, said Colangelo, who pointed out that the school district contributed $1,000 toward the cost while the senior class fund covered the balance.
George expressed thanks to the local Kellogg Memorials company which provided the marker stone at a reduced price; it was “really helpful” and “very proactive” support, he said. The time capsule, measuring about 20-by-18-by-10 inches and made of a composite material, was purchased online from the Heritage company, according to Colangelo.
George thanked Colangelo and Duffy “for all their support” with the project.
The Rome Free Academy name was established in 1869 as part of a union free school district, succeeding the Rome Academy which dated back to the 1840s and was a privately owned school that charged tuition.