On a warm, sunny Tuesday afternoon last week, students attended one of the final events held at Horatio May Community Elementary Academy before the school closed for the summer – and for good.
To commemorate their time at the school – one of four in Austin that CPS is shutting this month – students, staff and faculty collected items to bury inside a time capsule beside the school’s playground.
May Principal Roger Lewis said June 18th was emotional for the faculty and students because of the memories, memories they hope will be preserved in the time capsule.
The school had long had a tradition of creating a video highlighting the entire school year, but the staff wanted to do something special this year because of the school closing, Lewis said.
The plan is for the capsule to be opened in 20 years. Each class was asked to select an item to include.
“It’s bittersweet in terms of saying goodbye,” Lewis said, adding he wonders what the future holds for his students.
When the school reopens in the fall, the students will have new staff and faculty, and they will attend a school that’s been renamed George Leland Elementary School. It’s unclear where May’s 50-some teachers and staff will find employment elsewhere, Lewis said.
Jeff Hetrick, dean of students at May, said many of the students are sad their teachers are leaving and the community will miss the school.
Although the school has been on probation, Hetrick said May has seen growth in test scores and attendance.
“It’s a sad for me, because it’s the end of May for me,” said Hetrick, who’s not sure where he will work this fall. “[Students] are sad they won’t see a lot of their former teachers. It’s unfortunate that students have to go through something like this.”
During last Tuesday’s closing ceremony, Lewis and Assistant Principal Ruthanne Tolliver threw dirt in the hole as students watched. Later that day the time capsule was buried.
“Your faces and your smiles have all been imbedded in my memory,” Lewis said. May “will always be forever, so thank you all.”
Here’s a poem a student wrote about May closing; it was placed in the time capsule:
It’s so hard to say goodbye
Because everybody wants to cry
They are changing our school
And that’s not very cool
Everybody is always sad
Everybody is quite mad
I hope this year was a blast
Because in my eyes it will last
I hope you will all will feel my pain
When I say it’s so hard to say goodbye.