SVHS - Time Capsule Project

Time Capsule Project

In 1981, eleven 4th grade students at Vine Hill Elementary initiated a project that was more interesting than the Egypt workbook they had been assigned. Eventually, we buried a time capsule with an odd assortment of contents. Of greater interest was the fact that we we had done something secret; I'm sure not one of us has ever disclosed the true location of the capsule to anyone!

This web site is intended to help keep the memory of the time capsule alive. The year 2030 is, fortunately, still quite far in the future. However, it is easy to lose track of classmates from 4th grade!


50 years from now
They'll be back

by Scott Grant (April 30, 1980; Scotts Valley Banner)

Where will you be in the year 2030?
Some Vine Hill Elementary School fourth graders say they know where they'll be in 50 years -- if both they and the world are still around.


Students involved in the 1981 time capsule project.
The students in Kathy Gutierrez' class say they'll be in Santa Cruz County, digging up nine [sic] time capsules.
They've been working on the project for several months, and Friday they dug a hole for their product. Only they're not telling anyone where they buried it.
Parents don't know; neither do the students' best friends.
The secrecy, they hope, will prevent the capsule's being dug up prematurely. Gutierrez investigated several possible burying grounds before finding some owners that were willing to commit themselves for 50 years. The teacher said the location is somewhere in Santa Cruz County, but she's as tight-lipped as the students when it comes to specifics.
The project is an outgrowth of the Extended Learning Experience (ELE) students' study of King tut and the articles that were included in his tomb.
Deciding what to include in the time capsule -- and what the capsule would actually be made of -- was quite a chore.
"We wanted to show what our lives were like in 1980," Gutierrez said. "We started with a chalkboard full of ideas."
The class narrowed the list down via the democratic method. The top vote-getter was an almanac, with a dictionary being a close runner-up. Other items were a penny, a quarter, a report card, preserved food, a basketball poster and 38 baseball cards.
Also included was a tape recording of songs from the "Grease" and "Saturday Night Fever" albums. On that same tape are the voices of all the students, who explain the time capsule project in their own words.
The students came up with so many items that they first wanted to bury them in a garbage can, but they narrowed the list down enough to fit everything into a styrofoam cooler. The styrofoam will not decay easily, they feel.
If anyone should stumble upon the capsule before the 50-year limit, instuctions -- written on acid-free paper -- are included in the package. The finder is to contact the students (by then they may no longer be students) and various television stations and newspapers. The acid-free paper is more durable, the students found in their research.
When asked if the time capsule if more fun than normal school projects, the fourth graders responded with a unanimous -- and resounding -- "yes."
Gutierrez said the ELE program is structured, although the class is free to go off on creative tangents.
The teacher said the project has been one of the more successful tangents the students have embarked on. "It's not out of a text book. They feel a real sense of ownership."
And the students say they'll feel the same way in 2030.


1981 4th Grade ELE Class

Kathleen Gutierrez (teacher)
Jeff DelChiaro
Heather Oneto
Nell Marshall
Robbie Detlefs>
David Tillson
Jimmy Eckerman
Tim Livingston
Ian Sanson
Dawna Mecham
Eric Ulwelling
Kevin Smith

We have created a group on Facebook for communicating. Click here to join the page: Vine Hill Elementary Time Capsule Project 1981

The funds from our bake sale are accumlating in a bank somewhere! If we can find the money, we'll have quite a party in 2030.

Scotts Valley History Web