Democrat Photo by John Emerson
DIGGING IT: Michael Demondo, a member of Cordisco's fourth grade class in 1985-86, helps current Duggan school student Michael Bolduc remove the last layer of dirt from atop the slate cover of the crypt holding the time capsule Demondo and his classmates buried in 1986 in White Lake.
Fourteen-Year-Old Time Capsule Dug Up
By John Emerson
WHITE LAKE June 23, 2000 -- In 1986, a brand new teacher fresh from college wanted to do something special with his first class, a group of fourth graders at the Duggan School in White Lake. He and the kids buried a time capsule in honor of the Space Shuttle Challenger astronauts, to be opened in the year 2000.
Tuesday, Mike Cordisco, now a veteran teacher within the Monticello School District, and some members of that class unearthed the box containing the treasures they placed there for the future. Their initial discovery was that the supposedly air and watertight box was neither. More importantly, though, they uncovered a trove of memories and what they felt was important at the time.
We thought everybody was going to be flying around in space by 2000, said Kim Neves, now 24 and a member of the class. We were only 9 or 10 at that point, and it seemed like a long time.
Current students at the school helped the former students scrape away the last few shovelfuls of dirt that covered the slate top to the crypt. All of the schools classes came out to watch the event, many with no idea of what was really happening.
When the case was finally removed from the concrete block that had held it for the last 14 years, those present were greeted with a strong musty odor and some disappointment. Some of the items didnt fare too well over the years.
The content of one album that was packed in the bottom of the case was totally indiscernible, lost forever to the effects of time. Other photo albums of class activities and a tribute to the shuttle astronauts fared somewhat better.
Prominent among the artifacts was an action figure of wrestler Hulk Hogan, even then an icon among boys.
He was really big at the time, said Mike Demondo, another member of the class.
Cordisco said that the class agreed to the idea of a time capsule at the beginning of the school year, months before the disaster. The decision to make the capsule a tribute to the astronauts came after the disaster.
I dont remember what we put in it, he said looking over the contents of the case. I think we put in a Cabbage Patch doll.
In fact, the Cabbage Patch Kid entry turned out to be a puzzle instead of a doll.
Among the members of the class who made it back for the opening and reunion were, in addition to Demondo and Neves, Scott Hendrickson, Scott Persten, Carlo Pittaluga, Jessica Ramsey and James Shields.