Sunday Star, Star Education, July 6, 2003
Assunta unearths time capsule
Story by Joanne Lim
EQUIPPED with gloves and a cangkul, SMK Assunta founder Sister Enda Ryan dug up a time capsule planted by the school's Interact Club exactly 10 years ago, on June 26, 1993. About 150 members of the club gathered at the school's Interact Club Garden to witness the ''Time Capsule Reopening Ceremony'', followed by the replanting of a new time capsule to be opened on June 26, 2013.
Eighteen items belonging to Interact members in 1993 were recovered, including pictures of the members, the club's activity reports, and bank statements.
''It is interesting to see what mattered to the students 10 years ago and how things would have changed 10 years from now,'' said Sister Enda.
The reopening ceremony was dedicated to the late Chaleine Shanmugarajah, vice president of the club in 1993, who passed away last year following an asthma attack.
''Although our seniors were not able to attend the ceremony, they have passed down a special tradition to us, reminding us that the Assunta spirit will always be alive, even after we leave school,'' said organising chairperson and club service director Farah Azalea, 17.
For club president Maria Rita Talla, 17, the reopening of the time capsule has given her new insights to the club.
''At least I know how it was 10 years ago. I hope all those present today would make a date for the reopening in 2013,'' said Maria, who hopes to be a forensic pathologist by that time.
A surgical mask, a Malaysians For Peace badge, and a few obsolete ringgit notes were among 12 items placed in the new time capsule, to commemorate year 2003.
The items were planted by school principal Lim Sew Kwe in the exact spot where the previous capsule was unearthed.
The surgical mask signifies the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) scare this year, while the badge is a reminder of the United States declared war against Iraq .
''We also included a keris-shaped letter opener with a picture of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir's face on it, which we purchased at PWTC. The item symbolises his last year as the country's prime minister and Umno president,'' said Farah.
''The students had very creative ideas on what to put in,'' said teacher adviser Shanthy Balakrishnan of the second time capsule. ''We converted the pictures into a digital format and saved it in a compact disc so the colour would not run.''
Other items placed in the time capsule were the club's official 2003 T-shirt, an installation badge, phone numbers, and a copy of its newsletter.
A picture of the school's new Puan Sri Kai Yong Yeoh building was also included. The new block houses four living skills workshops, a library and resource centre, audiovisual rooms, computer labs and a canteen for the school's 2,300 students.
''The students should analyse what significant changes have occurred over the past 10 years with the items their seniors left for them, so that they can learn to treasure the past and appreciate the future,'' said Lim.
Addressing the students, Sister Enda said: ''Pick up little thoughts of those who went before you and pass on the torch of an Assunta Rotarian.''
President of the Rotary Club of Petaling Jaya district in 1993, Yap Swee Fatt, was also present to witness the reopening ceremony.
''Compared with students 10 years ago, I believe they are more matured these days. The Interact movement is a great thing as it teaches students to be creative, organise activities and take an interest in their community,'' said Yap .
Pix: OLD IS GOLD: Sister Enda holding the freshly excavated time capsule, watched by principal Lim Sew Kwe and Interact club members.