Time erodes paper, but not Russell memories

Russell Elementary celebrated its 50th anniversary Friday evening with an ice cream social, open house, and ceremonial opening of a time capsule, which had been buried in 1989 during the school’s 25th anniversary, by second grade teacher Sue Yovich and Ed Braley.

Both Yovich and Braley, who each have 34 years committed to the school, were able to attend the celebration.

“Years ago as a community, we wanted to do something special. Someone had the idea to bury a time capsule and we ran with it,” Sue Yovich said with a smile. “We asked local companies to contribute. It turned out really great, this whole thing, with everyone here. It’s exciting, especially since this is the last year that we’ll be able to do this here.”

The solid copper box had to be removed from its original spot, a few feet beneath the ground just feet away from the east end of the old building in 2003 when renovations began to expand the school. The time capsule sat in the administration offices of the building for the next 10 years. Unfortunately, its contents had been exposed to moisture during those years. A note from Yovich was still legible.

“If nothing else, it’s a great science lesson for the kids,” said Yovich. “We can show them its contents tomorrow, and they’ll see that the only thing still perfectly intact is the plastic mug.”

Perhaps the weight of those 25 years could only be seen by current students as they peered at the green, warped time capsule, and not felt, but for Marcia Madigan, the school’s current principal, it was obvious.

“It’s just wonderful,” said Madigan. “You see all of these students, and teachers who can remember having their parents in the classroom. I think it’s great.”

For her, this was a celebration of the past, and a touch of excitement for the future.

“This is so nice, because we’re moving next year,” she said. “We have the chance to celebrate these 50 years, and then next year we have so much to look forward to even though this is such a beautiful school. We’ll have better security, more community involvement, and the elementary school will be so much more connected and supportive of the high school, its students and sports.”

Russell Elementary will be closed to students after this year, and will be used for administrative offices in the fall of 2014.