Time stood still Wednesday in Okfuskee County. The 20 members of Mason's Class of 2000 were celebrating a moment that began in 1987, when they were kindergartners in the very same school. They had made an American flag with their teacher, Mrs. Collier, who asked them to sign a pledge for good citizenship. Then, she had an idea. "Let's just bury it and let's just see if you can be everything you say you can be,â€ said Collier. â€œWhen you get to be seniors, we'll dig it up.â€ The flag and pledge went into a time capsule the class buried in May, 1988.
The faces, and lives, have changed quite a bit since then. But they never forgot about opening the time capsule during their senior year. "Since school started, they've been asking about it,â€ said Mason Principal Eddie Weaver. â€œSome of the students left Mason over the years. They now go to Okeman, Paden, Boley , and we've got one former student in Bristow. They have been calling and writing Mrs. Collier saying, â€œDon't forget us, don't forget us. We want to be there when they dig up the time capsule."
All but ten of the old classmates were there, along with about half of the town of 300. The ceremony began with a salute to the flag that stood above the burial spot.
Then, wearing shirts that read "Can You Dig it," they all dug it. Everyone took a turn, until Mr. Weaver brought up the treasure. They gently unfolded the butcher paper flag they had colored with crayons 13 years ago.
Mrs. Collier read the pledge they'd signed as five-year-olds. She'd also put in the capsule, some pages from the Sears catalogue to show the clothing styles of the day. Students said they thought the day would never get here. "I was excited and kind of sad,â€ said Jessica Henry. â€œI remember when we put the little stars on the flags." Classmate Mitch Clark remembers thinking that it was going to be forever before we got out of school. â€œIt was forever, but I'd probably like to go back to school,â€ he said. â€œStart all over. I think it'd be fun."