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Capsule location buried in mystery

Published Sep. 26, 2005

There's a lot of talk about a time capsule at a Clearwater elementary school, but none of it includes where to find it.

There is a great mystery at South Ward Elementary School.

Legend has it that students at the school buried a time capsule that was supposed to be opened in 2000.

Some say it was buried in 1960. A longtime teacher says it was hidden between 1970 and 1975.

The problem: No one knows where it was buried.

At the beginning of this school year, school volunteer and parent Sara Halvorsen heard faculty members talking about the missing capsule. She told her 10-year-old daughter, Alison, who has taken it upon herself to solve the case.

The blond, ponytailed fifth-grader has enlisted the help of her classmates and teachers to find someone who knows where the capsule is buried.

"We're just kind of asking around and seeing what we can figure out," said Alison, president of the student council.

The time capsule is believed to contain a speech made the day it was buried. Alison, who has acquired an appreciation for history, said she is curious to find out what else is inside.

"It makes me think, like, what's really possible?" she said.

Some have suggested it was buried near the sidewalk of the school, located off S Fort Harrison Avenue. Others think it is by a shed on the school's grounds. Another idea is that it was buried under the kindergarten playground.

But with no proof of its location, school officials do not want to start digging until they are fairly certain they have an idea of where the time capsule is hidden.

Third-grade teacher Alvera Williams began teaching at South Ward in 1969 and is certain the time capsule was buried somewhere on the campus between 1970 and 1975.

So where is it?

"I know it was in the ground somewhere," she said, apologizing for not remembering more specifically.

The school's principal in 1960, Kathryn Wilcox, died in 1994. The principal who served in the early 1970s, Don Goddard, died in 1995.

Other teachers are scattered across the county.

There has been talk at the school of burying another time capsule before the school year ends. Alison offered the use of a time capsule she got for Christmas.

"Maybe this time, we'll give directions so you know where to find it," said student council adviser and kindergarten teacher Allison Brown.