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At 50, Newport-Mesa Unified celebrates history by showcasing items to be buried in a time capsule

Items are displayed that will be placed in a time capsule during an event at the Newport-Mesa Unified School District offices on Friday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Daily Pilot)

A bit of pop culture and a letter from a Corona del Mar High School student will help represent the past as part of a time capsule celebrating Newport-Mesa Unified School District ’s 50th anniversary.

District officials invited community members to its administrative offices in Costa Mesa to see items selected by students.

The more than 100 items placed on a table were chosen to represent the 32-campus district. Memorabilia included yearbooks, backpacks, socks, district lanyards, a list of student enrollment numbers, a computer mouse, a flash drive, a signed photo of the current board of trustees, proclamations from Costa Mesa and Newport Beach, and Daily Pilot articles.

“This is a historic event culminating the 50th anniversary of the district,” said Supt. Fred Navarro as he looked toward the items neatly displayed.

Navarro joked that it felt like the district was “putting a whole Dollar Store” in the thick, gray composite box that will be buried next week in a brick container placed at the front of the district office.

Board President Karen Yelsey said the district has always focused on student success and will continue to “remain dedicated in graduating students with the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve success.”

When it comes time to open the capsule, Yelsey said she hopes they’ll all still be around.

Newport-Mesa trustee Martha Fluor, left, and Donna Bunney look at items that will be placed in a time capsule at the Newport-Mesa Unified School District offices on Friday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Daily Pilot)

Trustee Martha Fluor gave a brief history of the district, sharing first how two neighboring communities came together to merge three schools systems — Costa Mesa Union, Newport Beach City and Newport Harbor Union High — into one, Newport-Mesa Unified.

She listed the seven superintendents who’ve governed the district and highlighted trustee Judy Franco, who is the longest serving board member — she started in 1979.

Despite some rough times, including a recall attempt and the firing of a music teacher because of insubordination, Fluor said the district continues to serve students by providing “rigorous curriculum and standards” and being one of the few districts to still offer music and art programs.

The six representatives from the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council also shared current pop culture history like popular music, television shows and notable high school alumni.

Abigail Peterson, 18, a senior at Corona del Mar High School, reads a letter that will be placed in a time capsule during an event at the Newport-Mesa Unified School District offices on Friday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Daily Pilot)

CdM student Lauren Griffin penned a letter to future students describing what it’s like to be a student at the Newport Beach high school in 2017. Though Griffin was unable to make the event, her peer read the letter aloud.

In her letter, Griffin described the school’s transition to a block schedule and how students are involved in a “plethora of extracurricular activities.” Though they are proud to be CdM students, Griffin said students would have more school spirit if they had their own stadium to host Battle of the Bay football games.

Before the ceremony concluded, Navarro also introduced the district’s new logo.

Supt. Fred Navarro speaks during a time capsule event at the Newport-Mesa Unified School District offices on Friday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Daily Pilot)

Doraelia Bahena, a 2017 Early College High School graduate, said she was happy to help collect items for the district’s time capsule. Her school donated their school flags.

Though Bahena said she doesn’t know whether she will remain in Costa Mesa in the future, she said she would like to visit the district office and see it opened.

Angie Garcia, parent of a fifth-grader at Adams Elementary, said it was “really cool” to learn what’s going in the box. Though her son couldn’t attend the ceremony, Garcia said she’s looking forward to her son seeing the items when it’s unveiled.

Priscella.Vega@latimes.com

Twitter: @vegapriscella


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