But most of all there were cherished remembrances from their pre-teen youth.
“I love this. This is my favorite part of graduation … coming here and doing this,” said Lakota West High School senior Amy Whitaker, as she pulled her memorabilia from one of the decorated Pringles potato chip cylinders serving as a make-shift time capsule.
“I learned to look at the way I looked at things then and I smile. And I get to see everyone I used to sit in this (school) lunchroom when we were 10 times tinier,” said Whitaker.
The “time-machines” are courtesy of veteran Adena teacher Lori Combs, who invented the annual time capsule tradition years ago.
It’s fun, instructional and most importantly deeply moving for graduating seniors on the cusp of their first step away from school into young adulthood.
They can look back with greater appreciation and perhaps more insight on where they are in their arc of life and where they are headed, said Combs, who teaches sixth grade.
“We go back in time and we think about how excited we were …and on an emotional level they get to re-live who they were,” said Combs.
“So much gets lost, especially today. This (time capsule) brings them back to the fads, the toys of yesteryear and they are reminded of themselves as youngsters,” she said.
“And this is an opportunity for them to reflect on how they have grown since elementary and what’s ahead for them. A lot of students move away to different school (systems) but they came back today,” she said.
“There is a lot of emotion in this,” she said. “A lot of high highs and some sad moments too.”
Fellow Lakota West graduate Camdyn Stradford stared surprised at what sixth-grader Stradford included in her capsule.
“This is my dance team from sixth grade,” she said unrolling a photo. “And these are my dance medals.”
“I think this is awesome,” she said. “I was really excited to come back here to do this.”