Olivenhain school time-capsule mementos finally see daylight


Students at Olivenhain Pioneer sat captivated at an assembly, watching as Emily Andrade pulled up a VHS tape, rollerblades that fell apart and other relics from a recently unearthed time capsule.

Now a trustee at the Encinitas Union School District, Andrade served as the school principal when the capsule was buried in 1995. Since nearly two decades have passed, many of the items were as much of a surprise to her as to the audience.

Students cheered when Andrade relayed over a microphone that she found “Goosebumps,” a horror-book series that’s apparently still popular. But they exchanged looks of confusion when she scooped up Pogs, a game played with cardboard discs.

“Pogs were really popular,” Andrade said. “Do you guys even know what they are?”

Later, Andrade remarked that the times have changed quite a bit.

Administrators, residents, students and teachers gathered Oct. 3 for the unveiling, meant to also mark the school’s 20th anniversary. Anticipation was especially high, because a prior attempt on Sept. 26 to open the capsule — a 200-pound water pipe — in front of a crowd proved futile.

However, school staff eventually unsealed the pipe using industrial tools.

The yellowed front page of a newspaper dated March 29, 1995 — the day the capsule was placed into the ground — had articles about a ballot item on affirmative action and former California Gov. Pete Wilson trying to connect with voters.

Stickers promoting D.A.R.E, the anti-drug program, covered many of the mementos. Popular movies at the time included “The Lion King” and “Mrs. Doubtfire,” according to posters that students left behind.

A fifth-grade class documented life back then and predictions for the future on a VHS tape. However, a VCR wasn’t readily available to play it.

“Do we still have VCRs?” Andrade joked.

Among other written accounts, sixth-graders recorded what was important in 1994 and their hopes going forward.

“NOW: Virtual reality is important. FUTURE: I hope to have computer teachers,” Bill Gahr said.

“NOW: We aren’t overcrowded, yet. FUTURE: I hope the area we live in still will not be overcrowded,” Eric Van Epps stated.

Travis Hassig commented that Super Nintendo is important, and in the future he hopes to have a good job.

After the unveiling, sixth-grade teacher Jenny Taylor, whose class left behind those reflections, said seeing it was a trip down memory lane.

“It’s emotional,” Taylor said. “A lot of these kids now have families. It’s amazing to think where all the students have gone in life.”

She added: “I remember a little bit about putting this together in the past. When they were pulling out the items today and I saw the green ribbon covering the sheet, I knew that was from our class.”

Taylor had included her own note on the written account: “NOW: Having and doing it all is important. FUTURE: I hope to live to see this paper dug up.”

Katie Underwood, who was in kindergarten at Olivenhain Pioneer when the capsule went underground, checked out the unveiling with her mom, Laurie Underwood, who worked as an office manager at the school back then.

They both noted that at the time, there were few homes in the area and cows would occasionally make their way to the playground.

“It’s pretty different now,” Katie Underwood said of the surrounding housing developments that have since sprung up.

But some things remain the same, she said. Writings in the capsule showed kids back then cared about the environment, adding that seems to hold true today.

Before the event, they tried to guess what’s inside the capsule.

“We knew Pogs would be big,” Katie Underwood said. “We thought Beanie Babies would be in there too, but we didn’t see any.”