The pupils and staff of Greenbrier Middle School literally dug up the past last week.
As part of the school's 10th anniversary celebration held Friday in the gym, school officials showed off a time capsule buried a decade earlier even though the contents already had been removed and put on display near the media center.
The display included such items as magazine covers from the year 2000 featuring a blond Mandy Moore and Eminem on the covers, a Columbia County News-Times article on the middle school's first football game, an Augusta Chronicle article about President George W. Bush's first 100 days in office, and an identification badge from a public speaking contest for Sam Gaston.
Now a senior at Georgia Southern University, Gaston was a member of the first eighth-grade class at Greenbrier Middle and returned to the school for the anniversary celebration to relay some of his memories.
"I can still smell the fresh paint and new floors of the school when I first walked in 10 years ago," Gaston told an assembly of Greenbrier Middle pupils.
Jackie Creasy, a former Greenbrier Middle principal and the school's first assistant principal, also recalled those early days.
"I remember we were rushing construction workers out the back door as we were holding a ribbon cutting at the front door," she said. "We had to have P.E. in the lunchroom for about the first 10 weeks while we were waiting for the gym floor to be finished."
Despite those early difficulties, Gaston said he enjoyed every minute of eighth-grade, with the exception of algebra class, and encouraged the current student body to learn as much as they can and make these moments last.
"Don't let one moment go by without making a memory from it," he said.
Also returning to the school was former Greenbrier Middle social studies teacher and former state Teacher of the Year finalist Shaun Owen, who reinforced Gaston's message.
Owen, now an education program specialist for the state Department of Education, told pupils that settling for mediocrity now leads to living a mediocre life later.
"You are only limited by the limits you put on yourself," she said. "Invest in yourself, invest in others, be responsible and you will be as successful as you want to be."
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