LAKE FOREST — Some students at the School of St. Mary think more personal items belong in a time capsule than the one they saw Father Michael Nacius open from 60 years ago in a ceremony at the Lake Forest school May 17.
Those students will have a say about items for a new time capsule to be planted this September in commemoration of the school’s 100th anniversary. The original capsule was encased in the cornerstone of a 1957 addition to the school. The new one will be nearby.
During an all-school assembly, Nacius opened the capsule, which revealed a Chicago Tribune, a Lake Forester, a Lake Forest-Lake Bluff phone book, a Church of St. Mary Campaign News, a Catholic newspaper from the time, a penny, a nickel and a dime.
“I would like to see something written by the class itself,” said Casey Hippel, an eighth grader from Lake Forest. “It will help people understand what we thought then.”
“They could see it from a kid’s perspective rather than a newspaper,” added Lily Trkla, also an eighth grade student from Lake Forest.
Though Rachel Kuhn, the school’s director of development, said she does not know how decisions were made in 1957 about the contents of the time capsule, this time students will have a hand in the selection through a democratic process. Principal Venette Biancalana said they will vote.
“The teachers are gathering ideas from their students and compiling a list,” said Biancalana. “The students will vote on the ideas and the winning three items selected by the students will be included.”
There was speculation one of the items included will be a cellular telephone but Biancalana and Kuhn said there could be a challenge.
“I don’t know who’s going to give up their phone,” said Kuhn.
“Some of them are probably on their third or fourth,” added Biancalana.
Along with the St. Mary’s student body there were more than 40 graduates of the school who were either there when the capsule was encased or were enrolled shortly afterward. Though none interviewed by DailyNorthShore.com remembered what was encased, some like Antionette Minuzzo had ideas.
“Probably a Lake Forester,” said Minuzzo, a member of the class of 1952, who lives in Lake Bluff. “I think a class picture would be included.”
While there was no class picture, Hippel said she would want a photograph of her class as well as a photo of the school play. Rina Biancalana, an eighth grader from Lake Forest and Venette Biancalana’s daughter, wants something electronic.
“It would be cool to see a kid’s electronics,” said Rina Biancalana. “Everything has changed so much since then.”
Jerry Kelly, a Lake Forest eighth grader, said he would add a fidget spinner. He also liked learning how people communicated differently six decades ago.
“It was really interesting to look at the newspapers,” said Kelly. “That’s how people communicated back then. Things have really changed. Now most people use electronics.”
Some of the graduates were remembering how things were different in the 1950s. Patrick Reilly, a 1952 graduate who now lives in Springfield but grew up in Lake Forest, reminisced that Harry Truman was president and former President Dwight Eisenhower was running for the office. He had more personal concerns.
“I had decided to go to Lake Forest High School,” said Reilly. “I was wondering what it would be like.”
Jane Lynch Reilly, Reilly’s wife, who graduated in 1956, said she remembers some of the fashions.
“We wore white buck shoes,” said Jane Reilly. “We carried white powder to keep them looking clean.
She said she remembered the crowning of Mary in the spring. “It was a big deal back then,” said Jane Reilly.
Kuhn said it is still a “big deal.” An eighth grade girl is selected each year because of traits she possesses, which show some of those demonstrated by Mary.
Steve Amidei, who went to St. Mary’s in the 1950s, also remembers the crowning of Mary as something special. For him it was also personal.
“My father was a gardener,” said Amidei. “He made the crown two years in a row.”
Students like Trkla feel a significance being part of the 100th St. Mary’s class.
“My mother and brothers went here,” Trkla said. “It’s really cool to be part of the 100th class.”