Glimpse of the present: Sleeping Giant teachers put together time capsule to open in 50 years |

Glimpse of the present: Sleeping Giant teachers put together time capsule to open in 50 years

Sleeping Giant School Principal Jennifer Malouff hands off a time capsule to Reilly O'Brien, owner’s representative for the new school construction project, on the second floor of the building where it will eventually be placed for 50 years. Items for the capsule were put together by teachers who will teach in the school this fall. (Photo by Dylan Anderson)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Sleeping Giant School is still under construction, but teachers are already working on a lesson plan for students who attend the school in 2071.

A group of teachers moving to the school this fall — the “capsule crew” — have spent the past month picking out items for a time capsule that will be opened by students 50 years from now.

In the time capsule, they wanted to capture what it was like to go to school during a pandemic, but they also wanted items to represent the work put in to get the funding for the new school. Trying to make some of the items fun was also important.

“Everybody who is going to the new school want whoever it is to open it up and really get a feel for the excitement and what was going on during that year,” teacher Aurora Sidell said. “It is a very exciting prospect to have a brand new school culture, and I hope that is reflected when the time capsule is opened — that excitement and enthusiasm.”

The teachers gathered pictures of Steamboat Springs, newspaper articles about the new school and items from the construction site.

Whittling down the list of items to put in the capsule was a tough process, Sidell said. They also thought about what kinds of items might not mix well together for 50 years in the capsule, which is similar in size to a bank drive-thru capsule.

“We had a lot of ideas, but because it is so small, a lot of those ideas were ruled out,” teacher Susie Gruben said.

Gruben said she looked for inspiration online, but many of those ideas were generic. She reached out to Tread of Pioneers Museum for ideas, but many of those ended up being too big. They thought of putting in a flash drive with even more stuff but worried technology would be so different when it is opened they would not be able to access anything on it.

Some of the teachers turned to their students to make items for the capsule. Gruben has some of her students write letters to students at the school in 2071. Teacher Rebecca McNamara had her first-grade class work together on a book about what it was like to experience the past year.

“It was pretty amazing, because it sparked questions in these little first-graders,” McNamara said. “Questions like what is life going to be like in 50 years and will students be using pencils and will cars be using gas.”

While other time capsules are buried in the ground, this one will be part of the school. It will be incorporated into a community space on the second floor of the school just above a feature called the learning stairs.

For the next 50 years, students will work around the capsule, walk by it as they go to class and sit in front of it during school assemblies. The teachers who worked on it hope the students who open it up will be able to learn about those who put it together.

“You’d hope in 50 years that life has evolved and is at a better place than what it is today,” McNamara said. “Hopefully, they would look back and have happy feelings from the memories, but that they would see that life has changed for the better.”

Gruben said she will be 97 when the capsule is opened. Her students will be 59 or 60.

“I told my class, if I am alive when the time capsule is opened, we should come back together for a reunion,” Gruber said. “You might need to come get me from Casey’s Pond though.”

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