Article by Conor Gogarty: A Billericay school buried a time capsule and hosted a US Embassy visit during a celebration of its 50th anniversary.
The event at Mayflower High School, on Stock Road last Wednesday, October 12, was attended by Vince Murphy, assistant cultural attaché at the US Embassy, and John Rolfe, who began his 41-year teaching career at the school when it was established in 1966.
Also in attendance were pupils who won a competition to decide which items would be buried in a time capsule due to be unearthed at the school's 100th anniversary in 2066.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Assistant headteacher Jonathan Rowlands"]It went exceptionally well. There was a really good response from the students to all the different activities we did.[/quote]
The capsule contained items thought both to define the school and life in 2016: a new and old £5 note, pictures of staff and students, information on the European Union, student planners, the school's 'outstanding' latest Ofsted report and its brochures.
It also included a model of the Mayflower ship the school is named after, which took early settlers to America in 1620.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Mr Rowlands"]Our students came up with a fantastic range of items to place in the time capsule. Everyone involved enjoyed reminiscing about the past 50 years and looking forward to the next 50.[/quote]
The idea of an American guest of honour, meanwhile, came from the importance of the ship to the school's history, coupled with the appearance of a base commander from the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) at the school's opening in 1966.
The lid of the time capsule, which will be opened in 2066. That was Colonel Daniel Cummins from the 20th Tactical Fighter Wing of USAAF, which had a base in Wethersfield near Braintree until 1970.
Lessons at the school last Wednesday focused on life 50 years ago and before the burial ceremony, Mr Murphy gave a presentation to the sixth form students on common misconceptions about the USA and studying opportunities there.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Mr Murphy"]It was a real pleasure for me to participate in Mayflower High School's big day. I was so impressed by the excellent behaviour of the students and the great questions that they asked.[/quote]
John Rolfe, left, and Vince Murphy speak to Mayflower students
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Mr Murphy"]I can see why the school has been rated as outstanding. I'll be expecting an invitation to the time capsule opening ceremony in fifty years.[/quote]
Jade Wheeler, the 18-year-old head girl of Mayflower High School, added that she found the activities "fascinating".
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by"]So many things have changed, but there are lots of ideas expressed at the time about the importance of giving students a good start in life that still hold true today. I am going to try and be back here in 2066 to see the capsule dug up and see what students make of Mayflower past and present.[/quote]
Article by Conor Gogarty, Essex Live