Time capsule opened at Fort Craig after 25 years
By Wes Wade (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The items were old, but definitely not forgotten — especially to those former students gathered at Fort Craig Elementary on Saturday to unearth the time capsule they buried in May 1986.
Even current students at the school could barely contain their excitement. Grouped around the dig site as the large red polyvinyl container saw its first light in more than two decades, the elementary students began shouting “Bust it! Bust it!”
But it took about ten minutes and three or four former students and faculty with hacksaws to get at the drawings, pictures and old yearbooks they’d put to ground 25 years ago.
Andrew Raulston, who was finishing his first grade year in 1986, finally found his signature among the hundreds of student names adorning the outside of the container. At 33-years-old, he said he’d been looking forward to its opening since the day he signed the capsule.
“I think it was because I was so young and it was such a big deal,” Raulston said. “And the teachers kept talking about coming back in the future ... I think that excitement carried over into adulthood. So I was really excited about being here.”
Former student Shaun Love found a variety of items from his fifth grade year, including a drawing of a church buried in the hills of East Tennessee and a photograph of himself and several classmates on a field trip to the Maryville Municipal Building. A father of three, his two sons, Zuriel and Shaun Marcus II, both attend Fort Craig. And they were quite shocked to see what their father looked like at their age.
Fourth-grader Zuriel said his father “seems different.” Shaun Marcus, however, was not so kind in his assessment.
“He looked crazy,” the third grader said.
Yet Love was not the only father whose children got a look at what dad looked like in 1986.
While they thought it was pretty neat seeing their father’s signature on the capsule, Rick Pope’s children — third-generation Fort Craig students — found even more enjoyment out of his fourth grade picture.
“They got a really big kick seeing the pictures in the old annual,” Pope said.
And Pope himself said he remembers the spring burial like it was yesterday.
“It was a big deal for months and months leading up to it,” Pope said. “Then the day of (the burial) they had us out of class for probably half the day.”
Aaron Woods was an 8-year-old second grader at the time. The 34-year-old Blount County firefighter agreed that the burial was a big event.
“I remember coming out here and standing out here — it was May, spring,” Woods said. “It was a huge deal. Us going outside and doing this.”
David Berry, Fort Craig principal from December of 1980 until 1995, said they decided to do the time capsule as part of several events during the 1986 Tennessee Homecoming, which then-Gov. Lamar Alexander declared his tenure.
The school had established a “Homecoming Committee,” which coordinated events that year like the crafts fair and time capsule burial.
He said Saturday’s event was a trip down memory lane as he and former students and faculty revisited with old newsletters, annuals, asignments, drawings, pictures, cassette recordings, comics and baseball cards.
“It was really nice to see (the students)” Berry said. “Twenty-five years goes very quickly.”
School officials plan to put the capusle’s contents on display at the Blount County Public Library next. What happens after that was left up to Saturday’s visitors. Suggestion cards were filled out with several different options, including reburial, the safe return of items to their original owners or something else the cardholder felt might be appropriate.
And although their family didn’t have any items buried in the capsule, Kay Davis and her children Laci and Noah had plenty of fun at the coinciding carnival event the school puts on every year. In fact, second grader Laci and former student Noah are both fourth-generation Fort Craig students.
The carnival, which hosted several attractions including a dunking booth, airwalks and a silent auction, is only one aspect which makes the school so special, mother Kay Davis said.
“This is just part of what Fort Craig is about,” Davis said. “It’s about being part of a family. You cherish the things of the past, but you look forward to the future.”