Current and former students of Willowville Elementary gathered in the gymnasium to open a time capsule Monday, May 13. The capsule – a large red canister – had been sealed exactly 20 years prior, on May 13, 1993.
Michelle Kennedy, the current principal of the school, said there had been increasing requests from students to open the capsule. After researching the practice, Kennedy discovered most time capsules are opened 20-25 years after they are sealed.
As community members and students filed into the gym, a video was playing on a projection screen. The video was a VHS tape that had been placed in the time capsule. It showed footage of students and teachers placing documents inside the red canister back in 1993.
The first item to be pulled from the time capsule was a red 25-year Willowville pennant, dated 1968-1993. The white letters and figures on the pennant left a dark imprint on the school calendar, the next item to be pulled from the capsule. Also among the first few items were a newspaper article about the dedication of the school, a polaroid picture of John Martin, the principal at the time, and a picture of the 1993 staff.
A lunch menu from May 1993 was found in the capsule. After asking the students to remember what they would be having for lunch later, Kennedy read the menu for May 13, 1993. This was followed by an outburst of laughter from the students. Tacos were served on the same date in 1993 and 2013.
A few of the students who had placed items in the capsule had made predictions about what the school would be like when the time capsule was opened. These predictions included a “science lab next to the music room” and “bigger classrooms” as well as “flying cars” and “robot teachers.”
A few students had made predictions for their personal futures. One boy wrote “I will live in Florida with my three kids and my wife Sarah.” Another student said he would be an architect and drew a picture of what he would look like. A girl, Jessica Edwards, who was present for the opening of the time capsule, said “I want to be a teacher at Willowville, have a blue car, and live close to the school.”
“I’m definitely not what I thought I would be,” Edwards, now Edwards-O’Neal, said after the event.
A new time capsule is going to be sealed Friday, May 17. The capsule will contain new material from the current students, as well as the contents from 1993.
New material will include class pictures, calendars, and newspaper articles, as well as material generated by the students. This includes lists of favorite toys, sports teams, movies, current events, and the technology and fashion trends of 2013.
“It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years,” Martin said following the event. “It’s so wonderful to be back and see my wonderful teachers.”
The items from the time capsule will be on display at the school through Friday, May 17, along with the new material from current students. The new time capsule will be filled with both old and new information Friday afternoon and will likely not be opened for another 20 years.