Where were you two decades ago?

Current Rocky Mount Elementary School students, of course, had not been born yet. Most of their parents were still in school themselves.

Yet, many things were still the same in 1999. Students collected Pokémon cards, the U.S. Women’s Soccer team was World Cup champion and a Toy Story movie played in theaters.

Rocky Mount Elementary School also included some of the same educators that teach students today. That may have surprised some of the students who peered over their principal’s shoulder with excitement as she pulled out class books from the 20-year-old time capsule.

Principal Peggy Fleming recently opened Rocky Mount’s time capsule during the school’s back-to-school bash. Each class at the school in 1999 carefully selected their contributions for the box.

The time capsule contained memories from the school’s then-20th birthday celebration, which included photos and even a nameplate of a former Rocky Mount staff member.

Fleming unrolled a scroll of student goals. One student set a goal to have better handwriting while others aimed to be the best soccer player or gymnast, to run fast and to get a better education.

There was even a first-grade book dedicated to Beanie Babies, a tribute to the stuffed animal craze of the 1990s. There was also a Beanie Baby snuggled inside.

The lunch container from the Roadrunner Café looked largely unfamiliar to the students who watched in awe as Fleming revealed other pieces of Rocky Mount’s history. The box also included canvas bags from the school’s PTA and a student handbook.

Some of the elementary students claimed to recognize the VHS tape that Fleming pulled from the capsule, but they had no trouble identifying the Pokémon that was hidden in the two-decade-old box.

Now that Rocky Mount has celebrated its 40th year, it is time for the current students to make their own time capsule.

What will they include this year and who will be watching as the box is opened two decades from now? Only time will tell.

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