The 100th day of every school year is special at Immaculate Conception Catholic School. It’s a day of themed activities and celebrations, as teachers encourage pupils to bring in collections of 100 items from home, or make necklaces with 100 beads to practice counting to triple-digits.
Tuesday, however, was different. It was the 100th day of the 100th year in the life of Immaculate Conception Catholic School. Pupils and teachers alike celebrated with a time capsule, buried and covered with bricks near the front entrance of the school.
“It’s cool. It’s buried and then someone digs it up again,” said Jonathan Bass, 9.
He and other pupil representatives from each grade selected items to place in the time capsule: an Immaculate Conception T-shirt, a photo of the president, a journal, an ornament and a letter to future classes, among other items.
“We’re hiding it and putting it underground,” said Brooke Wheeler, 9. “When we’re older, we’ll open it.”
Immaculate Conception traces its origins to 1902, when a group of Franciscan sisters opened a girl’s boarding school and orphanage for black children.
In 1913, the African Missionary Fathers built Immaculate Conception Catholic Church and asked the sisters to bring the girls and staff a new school. Immaculate Conception Academy was born.
Tuesday wasn’t the first time Immaculate Conception created a time capsule, said Kathy Turner, the development director.
When Immaculate Conception Church was built in 1913, its cornerstone contained artifacts from that year.
Two years later, it was robbed.
A December 1915 article in The Augusta Chronicle reported that thieves chiseled open the marble vault, expecting to find large sums of money. They made off with a handful of coins and documents instead.
Today, Immaculate Conception is the parish school of the Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Augusta. Its priest, the Rev. Jacek Szuster, spoke Tuesday, along with Dr. Mac Bowman, an Augusta cardiologist whose children attended Immaculate Conception.
He encouraged the pupils who gathered on the floor of the school cafeteria to find their unique calling in life.
“Discover what it is that God has planted within you,” Bowman said. “If you do that, you will find it will propel you to heights you never thought possible.”
“God,” he said, “will use you as a vehicle to move Immaculate Conception, the community, the country and the world forward.”