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Fifth Graders Open 1930’s Time Capsule

By Staff | May 4, 2010

EIGHTY YEARS LATER, the 1930 time capsule that was placed inside the cornerstone of the old Middle School, was opened by members of the Emmetsburg Middle School Fifth Grade Class. Students Michael Frerichs and Alli Enriquez were selected to assist Middle School Librarian Joanne Garrelts and David Hadley, social studies instructor, with the opening on Apr. 29, in the high school/middle school auditorium. Pictured (from left) are Michael Frerichs, Mrs. Joanne Garrelts, Alli Enriquez, and Mr. David Hadley. More photos can be found on Pages 5 and 6 of today’s “Reporter.” – Lori Hall photo

It had been 80 years in coming, and with a drum roll of hands on the armrests of their seats, the fifth graders officially welcomed the opening the 1930 time capsule. The event, held Apr. 29, in the high school/middle school auditorium, drew a large turnout of students, family, and community members.

“A year ago, Mr. Joynt [Superintendent] came to me and told me that someone had mentioned that there was a time capsule that had been placed behind the cornerstone of the old Middle School building back in 1930,” said Middle School Librarian Joanne Garrelts at the start of the program. “After researching through the archived Emmetsburg newspapers online, I found an article in the Apr. 17, 1930 edition of “The Reporter”…the discovery of this article lead to discussions on how to retrieve the time capsule, and what to do with it.”

Garrelts shared that Dan Cooper removed the time capsule from the old Middle School cornerstone in June 2009 and transported it to the high school where it remained in the vault.

Coinciding with the official opening of the time capsule, the fifth grade class spent six weeks researching online newspaper archives, old yearbooks, and the Internet into Emmetsburg’s school history. Students interviewed past teachers or their family members, and used the information they gathered to write papers and complete project boards and/or PowerPoint presentations. The youngsters also learned about advertising and designed ads that appeared in the newspaper, as well as video commercials.

The names of a fifth grade boy and girl—Alli Enriquez and Michael Frerichs—were then drawn to assist with the opening of the time capsule.

1930 Time Capsule Contents: Emmetsburg newspapers (“Palo Alto Tribune” – Apr. 9, 1930, “Emmetsburg Reporter” – Apr. 10, 1930, “Emmetsburg Democrat” – Jan. 10, 1929); “Des Moines Register” – Apr. 11, 1930; “Chicago Tribune” – Apr. 8, 1930; football and basketball records for the 1929-30 school year; “Popular Science” magazine – April 1930 issue; list of the architect, contractors, and workers for the new high school; American Flag; picture of the old high school; list of the faculty and students in 1930; March 1930 issue of Midland Schools; samples of high school and grade school report cards; list of new school building petitioners; handbooks for students, parents, and teachers for the 1928-29 and 1929-30 school years; an Iowa Educational Directory; and old coins ranging from 1902 – 1917.

Also included in the time capsule was the following untitled poem:

“I hold a paper in my hand, ‘A Journal of Today,’ so reads its modest title page, now dim with age and gray.

Tis filled with startling incident, wit essay, tale and rhyme, the doings of the long ago—the new of olden time.

And yet, in those time-honored days they had their little spites and jealousies and quarreled o’er their fancied wrongs and rights.

Each faction, lead to victory or beaten, left the field poor human hearts so like ours they’d rather die than yield.

We run our eye across the page and up and down the column and read the list of marriages and births and deaths so solemn;

And then we wonder who will read when we have passed away—a hundred years or more to come—our journal of today.”

Following the opening, the items were displayed on the auditorium stage for all to view.

“This journey has not only been a wonderful and educational trip into our school’s past but also an insightful look into our future,” said David Hadley, social studies instructor. “While tonight’s focus is on the past, the fifth grade students will also be working on what to include in a new time capsule in the weeks and months to come.”

Plans call for the Emmetsburg Scholarship Foundation and the Dan Cooper Family to relocate and reconstruct the base of the high school/middle school Victory Bell. The new time capsule will be placed at the bell’s base. The fifth grade class has also been working on the architectural design of that project.