P.J. Jacobs students get a look into 1979
By Olivia De Valk
STEVENS POINT – On P. J. Jacobs birthday week in March, students and staff at P. J. Jacobs Junior High school cracked into a 40-year-old time capsule.
The time capsule was originally sealed in 1979. It was reopened in 2000 and sealed again in June 2001.
Ninth graders and members of the student council, Claire Swicke, Jackelin Rangel and Kylie Wiza, were present either in person, or virtually for the opening of the capsule.
“I thought it was kind of incredible to see 40 years worth of stuff,” Randel said.
Among the items unpacked from the time capsule were yearbooks, photos of the school, and local and national newspapers.
“Just seeing how the style can change or the hair,” Wiza said. “Nowadays people just have it short or curled or braids. But back then they had it poofed.”
A stack of cassette tapes were included from 1979. An old cell phone was also included, a Motorola DPC 650, which to some students looked a lot like a walkie-talkie.
Another piece of technology that didn’t age as expected, in 2000 students included a floppy disk filled with photos. Since P.J. Jacobs computers no longer have a floppy drive, students have not been able to see them.
“I’d never actually seen a cassette tape or a floppy disk in person, so I thought that was cool,” Swicke said.
Everyone was surprised to see that the unopened can of Diet Coke, included in 2000, was considerably lighter, with only about an inch of Coke remaining at the bottom.
“I’m really glad we got to be here for this,” Swicke said. “I was telling my older sister about it, she’s only two years older; she didn’t know anything about it.”
Students are now tasked with the job of deciding what to include.
“I’ve heard from my students, the number one thing is masks,” said Alicia Skarsten, P.J. Jacobs teacher.
The capsule from 2001 was closed just months before 9/11. Skarsten, a social studies teacher, suggested including articles from 9/11 and the insurrection on Jan. 6.
In the tradition of the time capsule, the student council may ask students to make predictions about what the world will be like in 20 years.