Written By Elisha Writt, Third Grade Teacher In September of 2008, at the start of the 2008-2009 school year, my co teacher, Michele Sasse and I were continuing the weekly practice of reading the Tribune Gazette, our local newspaper, to our eight and nine year old third grade students. While this year’s class was only about to enjoy this for the first time this school year, our class last year always looked forward to the event. One of us would always read the paper ourselves the night before we brought it to share with the students. In the Thursday, September 4, 2008 edition, I was thrilled to read a letter to the editor from Mrs. Shirley Johnson. In her letter, she bluntly questions why the time capsule buried at city hall in 1978, had not yet been dug up. If her memory served her correctly, she thought the capsule was to have been dug up after 25 years, which would have been 2003, and here it was already 2008. Immediately after reading her letter, I knew our class project for this school year would be launched shortly after sharing that letter with my class. And, I was right!
Timeline of events
9-5-08 We shared Shirley’s letter with the students at milk break. Later that afternoon, we walked to city hall to meet Mrs. Kuss and inquire about her knowledge of the time capsule. Mr. Dick Writt, my dad, was also at city hall and spoke to the children about his memory of the day the capsule was buried. (He was working for the city and present on the day it was buried.) 11-5-08 11-13-08 Dick Koeppen visits our class and shows a video from the day the time capsule was buried. He gives us the names of people who were at the 1978 burial who are still alive today that we could contact. Children write letters to Dick Writt, Roger Metzger, Nancy Koeppen, and Ken Suehring asking them to share what they remember about the burial of the 1978 time capsule. 1-29-09 2-3-09 2-10-09 Ken Suehring responds to the children’s letters in person with a visit to our class. His wife accompanied him. We wrote a letter to the city council stating our reasons for wanting the city to dig up the time capsule. Several students, along with myself and Mrs. Sasse, attended the city council meeting where we gained unanimous approval from the council to go ahead and dig up the time capsule. 3-2-09 3-13-09 3-16-09 3-17-09 Lisa Kuss comes to our classroom to discuss the $150 project budget she is allotting the students. We split the class up into committees to divide the work and best use each student’s strengths. Several parent and community volunteers, along with city employees, helped us with this great undertaking. The New Capsule committee wrote a letter to Mr. Schutt of Schutt Industries asking if his company would be willing to make us a new time capsule to bury. 4-2-09 4-15-09 April 2009 5-5-09 Invitations are sent to 50 people and 30 student families. We received confirmation from Schutt Industries that YES they would be able to make us a time capsule. The students work diligently to create posters, flyers and other forms of media advertising. A cake is designed and ordered. Decorations are planned and purchased. A plaque is designed and ordered. RSVPs are tallied. Supplies for the digging are rounded up. Plans for sharing the contents of the 1978 time capsule with the public are developed. Hopefully the weather allowed for us to dig the time capsule up on this day. I can’t write for sure that it happened today because this note is already sealed inside the 2009 capsule. I’m sure whether it was May 5 th or 6 th , or another day, our class completed the task with flair! 5-16-09 The students are prepared to put the contents of the 1978 time capsule on display for the public at Pigeon River Street Days.
This project has been an exciting journey. I hope the residents of Clintonville 2034 enjoy the “Look Back At History” that we’ve afforded them with our efforts in packing the 2009 capsule with items of interest. It is our hope that another group of citizens, young or old, will again bury a time capsule and keep this tradition of history alive.