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A year’s worth of events, hosted to honour the sesquicentennial (150th) anniversary of St Mary’s College (CIC), in Port-of-Spain, was yesterday rounded off on a forward-looking note, as a time capsule embodying the school’s accomplishments to date was laid in the ground with the hope of fascinating and inspiring the generation who will open it 50 years from now.
The anniversary not only celebrated the founding of CIC, but also the establishment of the Holy Ghost Fathers in T&T and their devotion to education, which is manifest in the number of outstanding graduates to come out of the schools they established. The country’s first president Sir Ellis Clarke, Archbishop Anthony Pantin, and the first Governor-General Sir Solomon Hochoy are all alumni of CIC.
The proceedings kicked off with a Mass at the college church, conducted by Fr Gregory Augustine. In his sermon, he sought to instill a deep sense of appreciation and pride in the students of CIC for being able to participate in perpetuating the legacy of such a prestigious college. Guests were then directed to the central building, where at the entrance, before the grand staircase, lay a neatly excavated cavity in the floor, where the time capsule will be left to rest undisturbed until the 200th-anniversary celebration.
Students and guests formed a circle around the plastered-over square cavity, and were able to look upon the items intended for the time capsule in their last moments for public viewing, before being sealed away.
This will mark the second time that St Mary’s has buried a time capsule on its premises to commemorate a momentous occasion in its history. Earlier this year, as part of the anniversary celebrations, they unearthed a time capsule that had been buried for 79 years, containing a copy of the T&T Guardian and several other fascinating objects like Vatican coins from the year 1934.
Fr Gregory, the provincial superior of the Holy Ghost Fathers and principal of Fatima College, was joined by several other dignitaries to sign a copy of the scroll that had been retrieved from the previous time capsule, and will now be placed in the new one.
Other signatories included: the papal ambassador to T&T, Apostolic Nuncio Nicola Girasoli; acting principal of CIC, Nigel Joseph; secretary of the 150th anniversary celebrations committee Nestor Lambert; and president of the Past Students Association, A John Allum. Representatives from the Express and Newsday were present along with the editor of the T&T Guardian, Irving Ward. Each signed a copy of their respective newspapers to place in the capsule as well.
Danielle Fraser, of the National Library and Information System Authority (Nalis), who is the first certified library conservator in T&T, monitored the handling of these paper documents. Before the event, she had already treated them to ensure that they could be retrieved in mint condition 50 years from now. Other objects that were placed into the time capsule included a school tie, monetary notes, Vatican coins, a copy of a school report book, and a Saints football shirt signed by members of the Intercol side.
Once all the objects had been gathered and signed, Anish Bachu, vice-head prefect, and information technology teacher Louis Ramdhanie closed the time capsule, hoisted it into the air, then placed it gently into the hole, where it fitted snugly. An engraved marble plaque was then placed over the hole, concealing it underneath what would simply appear as a conspicuously ornate tile in the middle of the floor.