Last St. Stans Class Unearths 1991 Time Capsule
It is the final school year before St. Stanislaus Parish School becomes Mater Dei Catholic School, due to a merger initiated by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Students gathered outside to dig up a 21-year-old time capsule in bittersweet celebration
The year was 1991: The Gulf War began; Germany was unified; "Ghost," "Back to the Future III" and "Home Alone" were box office hits and Opposites Attracted between Paula Abdul and MC Skat Kat.
It was the same year when St. Stanislaus students buried a time capsule behind the school sign along East Main Street on the school's 100th anniversary.
On Wednesday, 21 years later, history was unearthed by the students at St. Stans, in bittersweet celebration of the final days of the end of the name "St. Stanislaus Parish School."
The students of 1991 chose to remember what St. Stan's was 21 years ago rather than signify what was going on in pop culture during that time period.
As the entire school gathered around a tree stump in the front yard, the contents of the time capsule were pulled out and displayed with awe and wonder.
There was a copy of the sixth grade Gazette school newspaper, a Sacrament of Reconciliation handbook, a first-grade class gym shirt promoting "We Love Gym" on the back, a folder with news clippings from the era and numerous class pictures.
The most awesome thing - a plastic pretzel and a bottle of French's brand mustard.
"We always had pretzels and mustard for snack. We still do," said kindergarten teacher Diane Chowanes.
Physical education teacher Linda Brown was there when the items were placed into the capsule - and she was there to pull them back out.
"It really was a great feeling," she said of unearthing the capsule. "The kids were looking at the different styles and different hairstyles. Even some of the kids' parents are in the pictures and a few of the teachers."
Brown said the school is putting items back into the capsule and re-burying it out front of the school. She said two other time capsules exist on the property dating back to the mid-1980s that have not yet been unearthed.
"We brainstormed with the kids about what to put in the capsule," Brown said. "We wanted some of the items to do with what we stood for, like first Communion and first Reconciliation."
Pictures, a St. Stanislaus flag and brochures such as a Confirmation book, according to sixth-grader Julia Kretzer, will also be part of the new time capsule, as well as a Flash drive of some of the things the school has done throughout the years. Students said those things include visits by author Gary Kaschak and the Passion Play.
"This is the last year of St. Stanislaus," Brown said. "Next year will be the start of Mater Dei School. We will change a little bit with the excitement of falling under a new school, new teachers and new students. We know our Catholic education will blossom and we look forward to the future."
Perhaps the capsule was most familiar to Katie Mitchell, a pre-school teacher at the school who was a second-grade student at St. Stanislaus when the capsule was buried.
"I remember the capsule, but I don't remember what we put in," Mitchell said. "It was a very strange feeling to see the capsule. I put things in as a teacher and I put things in as a student."
The students were amazed to see relics from the past during a time when they weren't even born yet.
"I think it's awesome," said sixth-grader Nyasia Heyward, 12. "You see what it was like years ago."
Logan Vondercrone and Melanie Derstine, both sixth graders, thought the capsule was a great idea.
"You see what students were like back then from the pictures," she said.
Devin Quigley, 11, said she had mixed emotions on Wednesday.
"I'm happy and sad at the same time," she said. "It's like a second home. I'll miss all my friends of eighth grade. There are some who might not be going here anymore."
Rosilla Edward, 12, said she would miss the teachers.
"They would always be nice and understanding," Edward said.
Heyward said at the end of the day, she knows the name will change.
"All the memories of St. Stan's I'll miss," she said. "The school was inspiring."