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The City Journals

Time capsule unearthed at Carl Sandburg Elementary

Jun 23, 2017 11:13AM ● By Travis Barton

Retiring faculty and staff at Carl Sandburg Elementary School were presented quilts and student-made art pieces. (Travis Barton/City Journals)

By Travis Barton | [email protected]

After a quarter of a century, the ‘90s were revisited at Carl Sandburg Elementary School—the year 1992 to be exact. That’s when a time capsule was buried with specific instructions for it to be opened on May 11, 2017. 

And it’s just what they did. 

“It was something I’ve been looking forward to for a while,” said Alberta Hertel, the principal’s secretary. 

In conjunction with the school’s annual dance festival, Sandburg Elementary celebrated the capsule opening with raffle drawings, student serenaded songs and many former students. 

“It’s a good community project that we do. Parents come, they bring picnics, eat on the lawn. It’s just a lot of fun,” Hertel said. Hertel began as a volunteer at the school in 1992 when her kids were in third and fifth grade. One child even put items in the capsule. 

PTA member Adrienne Griffith arranged two tables with the various tributes from the capsule such as a Pac Man game, a drawing of Homer Simpson, a Beauty and the Beast button and a baseball bat with Jose Canseco written on it. 

Chrissy Breeze, PTA president, said she loved pouring over the artwork and “little handwriting.”

“I have family here so I found their names and their pictures and all the friends in the neighborhood so it’s been really fun reading their little work…it’s been really exciting seeing all this,” said Breeze, whose sister-in-law was in fourth grade when they buried the capsule. 

Former students and parents also saw the newspaper articles and a Carl Sandburg Week proclamation document spread across the display. 

Breeze said with charter schools and kids attending places away from their neighborhoods, it was awesome to see the community come together. 

“Think it says a lot to the community that they love West Valley, they love where they live and they stay here,” she said. 

Hertel’s an example of such longevity in the area. Her family bought a house 40 years ago and never left. 

“It’s just that kind of a neighborhood where people who have grown up here move back here. That’s a nice aspect of this area,” Hertel said. 

It’s a generational element that staff and parents feel sets Sandburg apart. 

“It’s a great school and it’s a great community and I’m really glad to be a part of it still even after all these years. I didn’t think I’d be here but I’m glad I am,” Hertel said. 

In addition to the time capsule celebrations, the night also saw the PTA give retiring teachers and staff quilts and student-made art work of hand prints with the handprints created out of students finger-painted prints. 

“It just talked about how you’ve shaped our minds and touched our hearts,” Breeze said. 

Principal Marilyn Laughlin, who had four of her five kids attend Sandburg, will be one of those retiring at the end of the year. 

Other retiring faculty and staff include: kindergarten teacher Kathy Porter, second-grade teacher Mary Jane Chambers, fourth-grade teacher Karen Leigh, fifth-grade teacher Kim Bigler and staff member Betty Jean Johnson. 

The end of year celebration will be capped with a new time capsule to be opened in 25 years. Instead of burying this one, it will be placed in the library. 

“Every year they have the dance festival, this year they added the time capsule and then in 25 years we’ll do it again,” Laughlin said.