Sealing our Story: SAS time capsule installed in Dunin House

On May 16, 2024, a bright sun shone down on Dunin House for a truly historic event: the installation of the St. Anne’s School time capsule, set to be opened in 50 years.

Within a sturdy box of chrome lies a trove of personal treasures - not of gems and gold, but of cherished memories from staff, teachers, and, of course, the First Cygnets, the initial class of students to enrol at St. Anne’s, who are now in Grade 10. Items include personal letters written by each First Cygnet, a letter from Head of School, Sabrina D’Angelo, to the students and staff of 2073, early designs of the SAS and house logos, photos of each class from the 2023-2024 school year, and more.

Outside Dunin House, First Cygnet, Bianca, played several lovely renditions on the piano as students, staff, and guests, including the Dunin family, gathered at the main entrance of the school. After being piped in by First Cygnet, Claire, Sabrina addressed the crowd, speaking of the past year and describing “an instant community of warmth, an open embrace to all opportunities, and a deep and growing love for our school.” While reading a segment of her letter to the future SAS community, she grew teary-eyed as she implored her successor to “never lose sight of what makes St. Anne’s special: it has been and always will be the girls.”

This was followed by remarks from Board Chair, Mark Etherington, St. Andrew’s College Class of 1992, who spoke of how impressed he was with the school’s growth and how many remarkable things have been accomplished in just two years. More than anything, he said he felt “overwhelmed by the positivity” of the students and how powerful their sense of sisterhood is.

Grade 7 student, Ireland, then stepped up to the podium to speak of her experience being the first student to step foot into Dunin House on Sept. 21, 2020, during an address to the Board of Governors. Her first impression of the school was one of amazement; after all, the house was beautiful, large, and filled with secret corridors. Nearly a year in, Ireland stated that the charm of the original house is still evident but tailored to be the perfect learning space for students.

Next, two First Cygnets, Onna and Grace, spoke about their experiences as the first class of St. Anne’s students, who had classes in a temporary home on the St. Andrew’s College campus, dubbed the Cygnets Centre, in 2022-2023. Grace touched on the importance of teamwork in getting something new started and how their time in the Cygnets Centre (or “The Box,” as the students jokingly called it) was a key factor in fostering close friendships.

Onna said they’ve become a “tight-knit group that pushes each other forward every step of the way” and that they are much closer to each other than a typical high school class. “St. Anne’s began as a joint legacy with St. Andrew’s, but I think we’ve begun to carve our own name for ourselves,” she said.

Claire again picked up her bagpipes and accompanied the line of students waiting to peer inside the capsule before it was encased above the Head of School’s office. The rest of the day was a celebration in the Sunken Garden, with games, snacks, and fun for students and guests alike.

We do not often think about the far future; our present is often fascinating and fast-paced enough, leaving little time to ponder what life will be like once we’re long gone. Having these documents and photos preserved is not only priceless for future archival records but also a great gift for the Cygnets of 2073 to learn how the school began with all its trials and triumphs. For future generations of students to look back on the First Cygnets and see the many differences and similarities 50 years later is a bridge across time.

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