Back to the future for schoolkids

Longtower PS teacher Peter Davison with former students who compiled a Time  Capsule to be opened this week.  Included are seated, Lauren Nash, Niamh Canning and Aoife Stewart with standing, Karen Lytle, Oisin McCool, Jenna Ryan, Eoghan Murray, Sarah Crowley, Robery Guthrie and Kieran McGrory.  (0604JB35)

Longtower PS teacher Peter Davison with former students who compiled a Time Capsule to be opened this week. Included are seated, Lauren Nash, Niamh Canning and Aoife Stewart with standing, Karen Lytle, Oisin McCool, Jenna Ryan, Eoghan Murray, Sarah Crowley, Robery Guthrie and Kieran McGrory. (0604JB35)

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As the new Millennium dawned in 2000, the children of Mr Davidson’s Primary Four class at Longtower PS compiled a time capsule containing some of their most treasured items. “Come back to me when you are 20,” Mr Davidson told him - and today, they will. Journal reporter CLAIRE ALLAN found out more.

For those past 12 years Mr Davidson has held on to large cardboard box, taped up with a warning that it was not to be opened until 2012. “Childhood memories contained within” the box reads - and inside are collection of mementos and small toys which meant a lot to the 29 boys and girls of the primary four class of 1999-2000.

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“The Millennium seemed like a good time to put away some memories,” Mr Davidson said. It was also at this time that the ‘Journal’ visited his classroom to talk to the children about what they thought the new Millennium may bring.

At the same time he made a video of his pupils - singing songs they had practised for their First Holy Communion, doing their party tricks and talking about what they liked and disliked. The video has since been transferred onto DVD for each pupil to take home and relive their childhood memories.

Niamh Canning is now 20 years and studying for a degree in Psychology at the University of Ulster in Coleraine. She said she had always remembered putting the time capsule together and her time in primary four. “I think I put something about Pokemon in it. I’m not sure - so I’m interested to see what we might pull out of it.

“It’s mad to think that 12 years have passed. It will be strange seeing everyone from our class again - although I’ve always remembered doing it and Mr Davidson has reminded me enough times that we would be opening it this year.”

Lauren Nash featured in the ‘Journal’ article in 1999 - saying that she thought the new Millennium would see people living under water or on the moon and the ability for parents to choose the gender of their unborn children.

Now she is studying to become a nurse in Manchester. Although she won’t be home for the official opening of the time capsule today she was able to meet with some of her former classmates and collect a ‘goody-bag’ from her former teacher on Tuesday.

“It’s strange being back in primary school,” she said. “But lovely to see people I went to school with. Everything seems really tiny back here,” she laughed, adding that she remembered her Primary Four year with great fondness and remembered putting the time capsule together, although she couldn’t quite remember what she put it in.

The youngest in the class, and still only 19, Kiera McGrory remembers putting some glittery lipgloss in the time capsule along with an “alien baby” which was one of the more popular toys of the time.

She said Primary Four was one of her favourite years in school - and one she will always remember. “Mr Davidson was such good fun. I’ll always remember how he would read us stories and put so much energy into them. He did the best voices! I still have some of my reading books from that year and wouldn’t part with them.”

Kiera is looking forward to meeting up with all her former classmates but says she is dreading the screening of the DVD. “I hope I don’t make a show of myself!” the nursing student said.

In 1999, Sarah Crawley told the ‘Journal’ she thought the new Millennium would see the invention of boats that could talk and would tell you where the fish are if you wanted to catch some.

Now 20 and a proud mum to two year old Evie, Sarah said she can’t believe what she said 12 years ago and is very intrigued to see what is inside the time capsule.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing the DVD. It will be a really nice memento to keep to show to Evie when she is up and bit so she can see what her mammy was like and what kind of things I liked.

“It will also be interesting to see what everyone put in the box - it seems like such a long time ago.”

Robert Gudhrie is currently studying Finance at Queen’s University - he has stayed in touch with many of his school friends and also can’t wait to see what lurks inside the time capsule. “It will be really weird to see everyone together again”.

Poignantly for Mr Davidson’s class of 1999-2000, one of their young classmates, Padraig Barton will not be with them as he passed away a few years ago. It would have been his 20th birthday today - the day the time capsule is to be opened. “He is never far from our thoughts and we will be thinking of him and his family more than usual today,” Mr Davidson said.