Students unearth history

Greenhills Elementary School digs up a time capsule buried since 1976
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Thirty-three years ago, a forward-thinking teacher named Louise Stephenson buried a time capsule. On April 16, students at Greenhills Elementary School in Granite Bay unearthed the submerged treasure. The year 1976 marked the United States’ Bicentennial, and then-fourth grade teacher Stephenson wanted to include her students in America’s celebration. Each class selected items indicative of the era’s politics, fashion, music and more to add to the time capsule. “This was quite an event for both my class and the school,” Stephenson said in a press release. “The students had a real good time researching the items they thought would represent our times.” Current and retired teachers and students from 1976 joined in as Greenhills Elementary School Principal Peter Towne and Stephenson dug up the 3-foot by 18-inches PVC tube hidden beneath a marker near the campus flagpole. The tube bobbed in a chamber of water, and its contents were dry and well preserved. Stephenson pulled out a handcrafted skirt, student drawings, a brochure from Disneyland, samples of 35mm film, old photographs and preserved tests and student papers. Cigarette advertisements dominated the magazine clippings back then, including photographs of people riding horses or hiking in the woods while smoking. The students of 1976 included an empty packet of cigarettes in the time capsule with a taped message: “We hope these are banned by the time the time capsule is opened.” Students at Greehnills Elementary School will soon add new items to the time capsule and return the tube to its rightful place under the soil to be unearthed once again in 2043. “Reuniting with alumni students and teachers provides a wonderful opportunity for our children to realize they are part of a much bigger community,” Towne said. “The time capsule gives our students an authentic look back into the past and helps them make sense of their lives today. We were excited to have an event that helped kids make connections on so many levels.” ~ Sena Christian