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Students unveil time capsule buried 7 years ago

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By Tom Wilmoth

    Seven years ago Jane Parrish’s advanced reading class at Body Camp Elementary dropped a piece of history into a time capsule and buried it in a garden behind the school.

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    Monday afternoon, several of those students—and their teacher—gathered to dig it up.
    “I’ve thought about it every year,” Clay Ferguson, now a senior at Staunton River High School, said of the time capsule. Back when they buried it, the fourth and fifth graders vowed they would dig it up this year, when most of them would be seniors. “We wanted to get everybody back together and get this back out of the ground.”
    And they did.
    Parrish along with several of the students—and even some parents—gathered for the unveiling of the time capsule. No markers had been placed to help them remember exactly where it had been buried, but it didn’t take too long to find it. The bucket and its contents were opened as everyone gathered around to begin looking at what they had left behind.
    There was a plastic motorcycle left by Colton Parker, a program from a University of Virginia football game, Yu‑Gi‑Oh! trading cards, pictures and notes. One student had left a shell; another a shark’s tooth.
    The letters, pictures and other items had been placed in separate plastic bags by the students, but many had gotten wet from water that had seeped into the bucket. Parrish and the students did their best to read as many of the notes as they could.
    Ferguson, who will be attending Virginia Tech next year to study wildlife science, had left a picture of himself—so he would remember what he looked like in the fourth grade—and a quarter “for good luck.”
    Ferguson said he enjoyed getting back with some of his former classmates. Some of them have already graduated, some have left for different schools. “It’s really good to get back together,” he said.
    Ryan Tuck, now 18, was also a fourth grader in the class. He graduated from SRHS last year and now works with his Dad. “I couldn’t remember what I put in there,” Tuck said. He and Ferguson had helped organize the gathering Monday at Body Camp.
    His plastic bag included Yu‑Gi‑Oh! Cards. “They were really big back then,” Tuck said. “We would ride the bus and everyone played.”
    For Tuck, Monday’s gathering was like a reunion.
    That’s how Parrish felt as well.
    “I thought they would forget,” Parrish said of burying the time capsule. But they didn’t and they contacted her, just as they said they would do seven years ago. “They were the greatest bunch of kids,” Parrish said.
    Now retired, Parrish has kept up with some of her former students through the years. She’s gone to see them in plays, sporting events and even at livestock shows.
    “Seeing the kids (again) almost makes me cry,” she said. “I’m just so proud of all of them. I almost felt like they were my children when they were in class with me.”
    Projects like the time capsule helped make school fun, Parrish said: “We laughed a lot.”
    Parrish also brought a reminder to the students. One of their projects seven years ago was for the students to draw a picture for her to remember them by. She had kept those and passed them out to the students Monday.
    “I would go back and look through them sometimes,” she said. “I miss the kids. This group was just wonderful. They were wonderful children and they had wonderful parents. When you have that combination it’s great.”