Many former students of Beach Elementary returned to their academic roots on Saturday and mingled with current students and school staff members at the Beach Elementary 65th Anniversary Block Party.
The event featured a tour of the school grounds (particularly the library section where the original school was housed), group photos, ongoing videos of past school photos, a time capsule dedication ceremony and a block party that encompassed school grounds, the historical cottage, the Beach Library, Matanzas Pass Preserve and Bay Oaks Recreational Campus.
"We are here today to renew old acquaintances and make some new ones as well as celebrate the 65th birthday of the school," said Beach Elementary Principal Larry Wood.
Current and former students were among those who attended Beach Elementary's 65th birthday party Saturday.
Lee County School District's Dr. Connie Jones, the executive director of school development, congratulated everyone in attendance regarding the school's milestone birthday.
"School is not really those buildings and facilities that are surrounding us," she said. "A school is really the people inside the buildings and the people that are surrounding the building that support the school. Fort Myers Beach has a reputation of being one of the most wonderful community schools in the district. I strongly encourage all of you to never let go of what you have here. You have something truly precious here."
Two ladies that were honored were Winnie Wordy, who taught at Beach Elementary from 1961-2001 and started the first kindergarten class in 1973, and Kathy Brindise, who has been teaching at Beach school for 27 years and is currently still teaching.
During the new Time Capsule Dedication Ceremony, Wood explained the trials and tribulations of past time capsules that were buried by former classes.
"It's something like 75 to 80 percent of old time capsules never get opened," he said. "That's because you can't find them."
Wood explained that the new time capsule will be a wall safe that will be opened 25 years in the future.
"The reason it is so small, because technology allows us to put a lot of stuff in there without using much space," he said. "All of photos will be on a thumb drive or a DVD. We are going to mount this flush in a hole in the main office and put the combination outside. We are even going to say 'to be opened Nov. 16, 2038.' That's 25 years from now."
Wood stated a class may want to open the capsule before that date to place more items in it.
"At least we are going to be able to find it," he said.
Possible items that may go into the time capsule at school year's end include an Iphone, school mouse pad, yearbook, end-of-school video, US stamps, coins and a dollar bill, hand sanitizer, dry erase marker, photos and a school shirt. Many current students also suggested Play-doh.
Once the official list is decided upon, the two Beach weekly newspapers will publish it so that newspaper archives can reveal the information, much like the Beach Observer did with the yet-to-be-found 1981 time capsule.