First Take: Vintage Bottle Print

Vintage Bottle

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Photo by Kevin P. Casey.
The call came too late to help Emily Hwaung with her fourth-grade science project—21 years too late, in fact. But for what it’s worth, her message in a bottle did achieve its stated aim: to help her "study oceans and learn about people in distant lands." Merle Brandell, a bear-hunting guide from the tiny village of Nelson Lagoon, Alaska, found the plastic bottle while beach-combing along the Bering Strait earlier this year—more than two decades after Hwaung and her North City Elementary School classmates launched their project. He contacted an official at the Shoreline School District, who in turn was able to track down Hwaung—now Emily Shih, ’99, a 30-year-old accountant still living in Seattle. "It was out of the blue and totally shocking," says Shih, who admits she had forgotten all about the letter. "I didn’t really believe it. It’s just very random."