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Nelson school's long-buried time capsule to be revisited Monday

LYNCHBURG — Twenty-five years ago, children at Lovingston Elementary School buried a time capsule with strict instructions: “Do not open until 2019.”

Now, a time capsule reunion event is planned for 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Monday at the Nelson Center, and the public is invited to come and revisit the past — even though the actual time capsule itself can’t be found.

The idea for the gathering came about when a parent in the county brought Nelson schools Superintendent Martha Eagle a newspaper article a few months ago, recounting the initial burial of the time capsule.

Eagle said that she and Vickie Mays, the gifted-education teacher at the middle school; Kim Candler, director of elementary instruction; and Tammy McCray, a seventh-grade physical science teacher, began thinking of an event to unearth the time capsule.

The only problem? The time capsule hasn’t been located, McCray said.

Lovingston Elementary once stood off U.S. 29 where the Nelson Center is now, next to the library. After the elementary school was closed, when the multitude of elementary schools in the county were combined into the two standing today, it was transformed into the Nelson Center, to house the offices of different county organizations.

Amidst the construction and renovations, the actual time capsule was lost. McCray said she doesn’t know whether it was buried farther in the ground or moved from its original location accidentally.

“We think during the remodeling, the time capsule could be buried more or it shifted. We think through that process, we can’t get to it or even verify where it is,” she said.

However, McCray and other event organizers didn’t let this stop them from reminiscing about the school and planning a 25-year reunion.

“We’re having a reunion with as many staff, students, faculty as we can get. We have a guest speaker. We are going to talk about items that were placed in the time capsule,” McCray said.

McCray said she came up with the idea of a time capsule for her Challenger class for gifted children of 1993-94.

“After 25 years, I almost forgot about it. I thought I would be retired,” she said.

McCray said that back then, she was always brainstorming fun, hands-on activities that would keep her class of about 25 fourth- through sixth-graders engaged and interested.

“I had a principal at the time that really let me explore, venture and think outside the box. I was also interested in project-based learning. I thought this was a cool idea,” she said.

McCray instructed her students to think about what they wanted people to know or remember in 25 years. Other than that, there was no real instruction to follow and students could put in what they wanted.

“Michael Jordan had just retired. So they put in a Michael Jordan collector card, a baseball everyone signed, DARE [Drug Abuse Resistance Education] items, Lovingston Elementary T-shirts and news clippings. Just various things that interested the students,” McCray said.

Although the time capsule is unaccounted for, Eagle and McCray are still excited to host an event reminiscing about the school and those involved with the time capsule 25 years ago.

“We still wanted to get everyone together and bring the students and teachers that were part of the time capsule together. We wanted to discuss the items they put in and then talk about if they did one today, what items would they put in?” Eagle said.

McCray said she is hopeful many former students, staff and faculty can make it.

“We really want all our Challenger students in the area, as well as other former Lovingston Elementary students, to attend,” she said.


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