Published On: Thu, May 9th, 2013

Time capsule answers endless questions of local students

LAUREL  — Opening a time capsule, which had been buried for seven years, brought back a lot of memories and provided an abundance of laughter for the 2013 Laurel-Concord students in spite of the water damage that occurred to the items.

Chuck Potosnyak, known as Mr. “P”, and Mary Hansen had been the teachers for the fifth grade students who each contributed items to the time capsule that would be opened at the end of their senior year in high school.

On Monday morning as the 2013 Laurel-Concord senior students gathered around their time capsule there were murmurs of “oooh”, “yuck” and “oh my gosh” along with “what is that?”.

The items in a number of the student’s zip-lock bags had completely deteriorated to a black substance.

“It is not pleasant,” Ryan Lunz said as he gazed at his bag.

As the senior students looked a little deeper into the storage tote that had been sealed shut with duct tape and used as the time capsule they found some of the priceless items that had been buried when they were fifth grade students.

Four of the five newspapers that had been included in the time capsule were dry and in very good condition.

The Norfolk Daily News, a Sioux City Journal and an Omaha World Herald issued in the fall of 2006 could still be read.

The Sept 20, 2006, Coleridge Blade included a story with the headlines “Local Citizens show why Coleridge is a Great Place to Live”.

“The Coleridge Blade lives on,” one student joked as they discovered the Laurel Advocate was the only newspaper that was missing.

The sheet of paper Nate Granquist had placed in the time capsule was still in good shape. He could still read his list of questions concerning events that could take place by the year 2013.

Granquist, a fifth-grader at the time, asked if World War III had taken place.

Other questions by Granquist included:

Who killed JonBenet Ramsey?

Are there any aliens?

Is there an ethanol plant in Laurel?

What is the gas price?

What is the price of a 20 oz. bottle of pop?

Granquist also wondered if a “War of the Worlds” had occurred during the last eight years.

Science fiction books had been popular with some of the fifth grade students and they had watched a movie about Martians invading the earth.

“We were obsessed with the movie – War of the Worlds,” Granquist said.


Justin Saunders found the baseball that he had caught at an Explorers baseball game.

“It’s in good shape – but it smells,” Saunders said.

Saunders also recovered the plastic bag that held a bolt and a washer along with a note stating it was “a piece from a crashed alien spacecraft found inside the Laurel City limits on Oct, 8, 2006”.

Saunders confessed it was just a joke between him and Mr. P.


Kyle Kardell found the football cards and the little plastic Huskers helmet that he had sealed in a zip-lock bag.

“These are in pretty good shape,” Kardell said.

Another item, which still had Kardell’s name written on it, was unrecognizable.

The Corn Sucker Kardell had placed in the time capsule was still in its original wrapper.

“I had taken some Corn Suckers to school for Mr. P to taste. They tasted terrible,” Kardell said. “but Mr. P promised he would eat it when the time capsule was opened.”


A dollar bill, a few coins, a small plastic Green Bay Packer football player, along with a few other Green Bay Packer items were all a little dirty but had survived.

The two Science text books that had been put in the storage tote could no longer be used.

Lexy Camenzind remembered some Twinkies had been placed in the time capsule although nothing remained of the treat.


Mr. P and Mrs. Hansen, the student’s fifth grade teachers, were excited to be on hand when their former students opened the time capsule.

Each teacher had also placed an item in the time capsule.

The stuffed “Mr. Monkey” that was found in the storage tote was dirty and “dripping” with water but it still brought back some happy memories of being a fifth grader in Mr. P’s classroom.

Mr. P had often used his drawings of “Mr. Monkey” as a way to encourage the students and add a little humor to the classroom.

“Teaching kids was such a good time in my life,” Mr. P. said. “Kids get so excited – they look at things with wonder. Kids are able to find fun in things and be silly.”

It took a little longer but the students found the plastic unicorn and the note from Mrs. Hansen reminding her students that a unicorn is a symbol for imagination.

“Use your imagination to always be successful,” she had written.

According to Mrs. Hansen the fifth graders, who are now 2013 senior students ready to graduate, had been studying artifacts and fossils when they got the idea to create their own time capsule.

“They made the decision as fifth graders on the items that were put in and how to store the time capsule,” she said.


Nathan Schmitt dug up the time capsule that had been buried on his parent’s farm a few miles southwest of Laurel.

As Schmitt uncovered the cracked storage tote he knew there would be some damage.

“When I took it out of the hole I flipped it upside down and let the water drain out,” he said. “It was pretty gross.”