After more than two decades underground at the Patrick Springs Primary School, a time capsule was unearthed at an April 29 event that drew former educators and others.
The capsule along with its contents was buried by the Explorer Group of gifted k-3 students on April 23, 2001, according to teacher Cathy Natoli.
Patrick Springs principal Annie Baker said the students in the group had been nominated by classmates and teachers in their respective classrooms because they excelled and needed an extra challenge. The Explorer Group met after school with Natoli multiple times each month to work on projects or go on fieldtrips.
“The projects consisted of many things in many areas such as school gardening, planting trees in honor of retirees, recycling, trips to the zoo, and reports on areas of interest. They would help out at times with school events taking place like a Jump-a-thon or field day,” she said.
Baker said the group was also excited about burying the time capsule in the greenhouse area, where they often met. “They made plans to dig in 20-25 years, and now 21 years later the time capsule is coming up,” she said.
Larry Belcher, a former principal at the school, retired the year the capsule was buried. As he and Natoli work to recover it, they did so to the excited chatter of former teachers and giggling from students.
Once opened, the contents included a gold dollar, a picture of the 2000-2001 academic year’s Christmas celebration, an empty Dr. Pepper can, and a six-pack soda ring.
“We used to make crafts with the things that came off of the bottles,” Natoli said.
Natoli read a letter encased in the capsule. It discussed the important issue of recycling in 2000.
“One of the biggest issues is recycling to help our earth. Our school tries to clean up the school groups, plant trees and flowers, and recycle aluminum cans, plastic rings, paper, and cardboard. We try to encourage other people in our community to do this too.
“We have a recycling contest each year where our students create items from trash such as models of musical instruments, transportation, food, animals, and others. We also make posters and bookmarks to encourage everyone to save our earth. We hope the earth will be here for many years to come by getting people to think about it and act on those ideas like we do,” she read.
A Backstreet Boys CD, sentences from a 1st grade class, a small Patrick Springs Panda mascot, a baseball card, a 2000 Massachusetts quarter coin, and a 2000 TIME magazine also were pulled from the time capsule. Natoli also pulled out a floppy disk that contained the game, Grammar Toy Shop. She said it was a game her 2nd grade class played.
A few labels from Campbell’s Soups evoked another memory.
“We used to collect Campbell soup labels and redeemed them for equipment like books, videos, and movies at the end of each school year,” Natoli said.
A Pikachu toy keychain and some Pokémon cards also were among the items retrieved.
“Hello, I’m a Pokémon. I’m a cartoon and a Nintendo video game they made a move about my friends and me and there are trading cards of us too,” Natoli said as she read the attached statement.
Natoli also pulled put a cassette tape, which she said teachers “used to have these in the classroom. We would listen to the tape and read the book with the tape.”
Some film strips also were recovered.
“Into the 1990s, VCRs became more of the way movies were shown in classes and films strips were used less and less. A special film strip projector was used to show them, and the teacher or student would read the writing that was on them,” she said.
A list of school board office employees, PTO officers, school board members, and teachers at the school during the 2000-2001 also were hidden in the capsule.