Jane Webb said she couldn't remember what went into CascadeElementary School's time capsule in 1982, the year the Kennewickschool opened and she started teaching first grade. "I'm thinking pictures, some letters or notes from students," thesecond-grade teacher guessed, adding she recalled the time capsulewas more a project for the school's upper grades rather than theyounger students she taught 30 years ago. Webb was partly right. There were some letters and notes fromstudents, but there was much more in the slim metal box openedMonday afternoon: -- A cassette tape put together by fifth-graders with the help ofthe school's music teacher. -- An old Cheetos bag with a $1.27 price tag, a relic from a pastteacher who loved the snack. |
-- A newspaper article with a photo of the school's first principalleaning against a low wall current Principal Chad Foltz has to tellstudents not to climb on. The school is set to be completely renovated beginning after schoolends next week. Students will move to the district's Fruitlandschool building for the next year. Bigger classrooms, a dedicatedgym and improved infrastructure will greet students and teacherswhen they return for the 2013-14 school year. But it won't be the same school, and opening the time capsuleprovided a glimpse at the school's past and conjured strongfeelings for the school and past staff.
Among the adult-submitted items in the capsule were a list of theschool's staff in 1982, a school directory and the school's 1982-83budget, which listed a teacher's annual salary as $5,524. Student-submitted items made up a large portion of the contents,though. There were cards and notes, a list of students' favoritebooks which included the works of Shel Silverstein, Wilson Rawls' Where The Red Fern Grows and Roald Dahl's James And The Giant Peach , each of which was met with roaring applause by students. One student wrote about how on the first day in the school in 1982,students were greeted by classrooms with no desks.
The students hadto haul the desks into the classrooms from the gym and adjust themthemselves. Adam Griffin, the school's current custodian, wrote his name alongwith the rest of his kindergarten class in a folder that was insidethe capsule. "Horrible handwriting," he said, laughing. "I have just as bad ofhandwriting now." For Mark Walters and Shannon Braun, the capsule's opening gave thema link to their father, Dave Walters.
Dave Walters taught at theschool from its opening until he retired in 2004, though he was asubstitute for years after that. Foltz said Dave Walters became ill last year and the school workedto open the capsule so he could attend, as he'd always wanted to,but he died Oct. 17, 2011, a day after the 29th anniversary of theschool's dedication. Inside the capsule from his classroom was a list of typedstatements from his students with their careful cursive signaturesnext to them. Foltz gave the document to Mark Walters and Braun,who came over from Western Washington for the day.
"He loved this school, he loved teaching," Braun said. Several students said they enjoyed the capsule being opened thoughit didn't contain what they expected. "I thought it would be money," said second-grader Ethan Weatherbee,8. "I thought it would just be pictures," said Ethan's classmate,Avery Reiboldt, 7. Lorraine Cooper, district spokeswoman, said the walls of the schoolwill remain, but not much else.
The gym will be converted into amultipurpose room to be used as a cafeteria and assembly area witha new gym built onto the building. Electrical and air systems willbe rebuilt and current technology better integrated. Not all the students are excited about coming back to a new Cascadenext year. "The second-graders are saying they don't want to leave thisschool, they like the old Cascade," Webb said. It would seem thatwhile technology and prices and salaries have changed since 1982,feelings for Cascade haven't.
"I am built for kids and they love me," read one note written by astudent inside the capsule.
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