During the height of Milli Vanilli, big hair and hatchbacks, 200 seniors in the Southeast High School class of 1990 buried a time capsule next to their school.
“We made a big to-do of it,” said Tiffany Garner Bush, who was the class secretary and a former cheerleader. “The entire senior class put something in.”
Now, as their 20-year reunion approaches, the class officers are trying to recover the missing time capsule and hope to open it at their reunion in September.
That wish may be impossible now because of hazy recollections of where it was buried and the fact that a new middle school sits on the former Southeast campus.
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“We always considered ourselves special since we were the first graduating class. We had a bond,” said Bush, who remembers putting a note into the capsule predicting her future. “With the school no longer in existence, it would be special to have.”
In 1986, Ballard B Middle School was turned into Southeast to relieve overcrowding at Southwest High School, which had reached 3,400 students.
Part of the Southwest zone was split, and students were redistricted to the newly formed school.
Southeast opened in 1988 without a senior class, making the 1989-90 school year the first year of graduates there.
“There was a great deal of spirit and camaraderie” among that class, said Vicki Scott, who was the assistant principal that year. “Our whole goal for that class was for them to develop leadership and respect.”
She remembers the capsule being buried, but like others, she recalls little else.
That class celebrated many firsts that year, such as the first football team victory and the first prom.
“It got to be a joke, like ‘This is the first time we’ve flushed this toilet. This is the first time we’ve opened this door.’ We’d say stupid little stuff like that,” Southeast student Neha Desai said in 1990.
In 2003, Southeast closed and it was torn down a few years later. The land was used to build the $12.2 million Ballard-Hudson Middle School that opened in January 2008.
Bush said a few of her classmates tried to find the capsule before, about 10 years ago.
“They obviously didn’t find it,” she said. “But technology was not as vast as it is now.”
If any students or staff from Southeast has pictures from the day the time capsule was buried, it may help locate the exact spot. Also, metal detectors could help find it, said Bob Flowers, the school system’s capital improvement program administrator.
“The new building was built in the same general area as the old building,” Flowers said. “The parking in front of the new building is in the same general location of the previous parking lot,” too.
The school system’s maintenance staff doesn’t remember digging up a time capsule throughout various construction stages.
Several other time capsules are known to have been buried near Bibb County schools by their students.
Capsules were buried at Hamilton Elementary School, Carter Elementary School and Southwest High School, students and teachers said.
Rutland High and Rutland Middle school students buried a time capsule in May 2004 at its building dedication with the intent to have it recovered in 100 years.
And this year, Springdale Elementary students found a time capsule buried by former students in 1980.
“My guess is it is up under Ballard-Hudson,” said Richard Mathis, an assistant principal at Westside High School who was a softball coach at Southeast in 1990. “I wish it was something we would have thought of before (Southeast’s) closing so we could have dug it up and put it in archives.”
Anyone with information about the Southeast High School Class of 1990 time capsule should e-mail Tiffany Garner Bush at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report.
To contact writer Julie Hubbard, call 744-4331.