George W. Davis
GREEN: “This is awesome!” and “very cool.”
Those were the words of the two Green Local Schools students as they opened a time capsule that had been ensconced in a cornerstone of the 112-year-old Kleckner Elementary School for nearly 77 years.
A standing-room-only audience of more than 50 people crowded into Green High School’s small TV production studio to witness the unveiling, which occurred at 2:29 p.m. Saturday, about an hour after the production began as part of the school district’s annual six-hour Celebration of Education.
The one-hour video, which will be shown in its entirety on talk show Bulldog Buzz, is expected to air on Green Community TV (Channel 16) beginning Tuesday or Wednesday, according to Chuck Lyons.
He retired in June as the district’s TV production instructor but still assists in training the seven members of the Bulldog Beat reporting and video team, which was formed last fall.
Built in 1903 on Greensburg School property and enlarged at least three times over the next 30 years, the Kleckner building was abandoned in 2011 because of the high cost of maintenance.
The cornerstone and time capsule tucked into the 1939 addition were recovered last November when the school at Greensburg and Thursby roads was razed.
To mark the 1939 addition that created the main wing of Greensburg High School, students, staff and administrators had put materials into a metal container that looked like an ammunition box and then inserted the capsule into the cornerstone, which also was displayed Saturday.
Bulldog Beat members Caroline Campbell, a sophomore, and sixth-grader Rachel Pritchard donned white gloves to protect whatever contents were inside. While preparing for the reveal, they interviewed the district’s director of communications and community relations, Julie McMahan, who is also their adviser, as they pondered what might be discovered when the lid was removed.
First out of the can was a March 27, 1939, copy of the Greensburg High Pioneer newspaper, which the girls were able to easily read as they scanned the contents, including legible advertising.
Greensburg High School’s Class of 1939 had 35 students.
In good condition
The students also found scrolls containing signatures of staff members and those in first through 12th grades. After examining them, McMahan declared the handwriting wasn’t “bleeding” and was “completely intact.”
A New Testament Bible also was inside along with name cards of seniors like those sent inside graduation invitations.
The cards were on the bottom of the box and some were dirty but not wet, the students explained.
Besides the capsule items, the audience was invited to look closer at the other memorabilia, including a photo montage of the Class of ’39 and a 1939 Greensburg Hi-Lites yearbook.
The first item discussed as the program began was an orange sweater with an athletic “G” on the front that had been worn by the late Basil “Buzz” Chiofolo, who graduated in 1940 but had said for years that he had graduated a year earlier.
Several of his relatives, who related the story, were in the audience, including his son, Anthony, daughter-in-law Kathleen, and granddaughter Amanda Fledderjohann, a teacher at Greenwood Early Learning Center.
When talk of tearing down Kleckner arose, McMahan said she had heard rumblings that a time capsule was in the walls. The late John Torok alerted her along with A.J. Schweikert of the Class of 1935, who sent her a letter from California concerning the matter.
Glen Butcher of Butcher & Son Excavating, whose firm razed Kleckner, came to McMahan after the building was down, telling her “I think this is what you have been looking for,” she explained.
McMahan kept the container sealed and, like everyone else in the room, didn’t know what was inside until the unveiling ceremony.
George W. Davis can be reached at email@example.com.