Cascade cleanup unearths time capsule | SLIDESHOW

MARYSVILLE — A recent spring cleaning at Cascade Elementary saw some local history unearthed for the first time in more than a dozen years.

The Cascade Community Cleanup, which was started by Laura Bailey because she believes that the school has been neglected due to state budget cutbacks, assembled more than 25 volunteers of all ages on the school’s campus on Saturday, March 24, to remove trash, touch up the paint, replace some fencing and plant more than 1,500 flower bulbs donated by Kmart. The Marysville School District likewise donated mulch for the flowerbeds and gravel for the walkways, while volunteers brought their own tools.

The group’s first on-campus cleanup was on Oct. 1 of last year, when it drew 15 volunteers, and Bailey hopes to see even more community participation for a third cleanup, which is still in the planning stages but is already gearing up to tackle the school’s “Fantasy Fortress” playground structure, which has suffered from deterioration and vandalism alike.

“If the community doesn’t pull together for it, and if there’s not enough money to repair it, I’ve been told that it could just disappear,” Bailey said. “It’s still an area attraction for Marysville, since families from other cities still flock to it, but it’s something the school should be able to be proud of, rather than being an eyesore.”

While Bailey and her group have an eye on preserving the campus’ positives into the future, Cascade Elementary fifth-grade teacher Kathy Phillips stumbled upon a relic of the school’s past when she discovered a jar, buried under one of the pre-existing flowerbeds, that contained two letters from students, one dated April 13, 1960, and the other dated June 9, 1999.

The 1960 students explained in their letter that they’d planted a tree to make the campus more attractive, while the 1999 students’ letter noted that they’d suffered from an infestation of carpenter ants that they learned had been nesting inside of the tree planted by the 1960 students. When the Marysville School District removed the tree in 1999, the students discovered the letter from 1960, and added it to their own time capsule as they replaced the tree with a rhododendron.

“We hope that when you find this time capsule it is not for a similar reason having to do with an ant invasion,” the students of 1999 wrote in their letter.

Phillips and fellow Cascade Elementary fifth-grade teacher Therese Randall were not only excited to see the time capsule, but according to both Randall and school Principal Teresa Iyall-Williams, the students proactively requested that they be allowed to write their own letter to include in a reburied time capsule, which would also include the previous two letters.

“As soon as we shared the story, one student said, ‘Now it’s our turn,’” said Iyall-Williams, who pointed out that the students’ efforts would have to wait until after spring break.

“It’s up to the kids what they want to do,” Randall said. “It’s not what I think should be included in the letter, but what the kids think they should say.”

Randall and Phillips will nonetheless be guiding them through the process of coming up with ideas for the letter, as well as writing them down.

“With the 1999 class, my students have asked me, ‘Did you have any of them as students?’” Randall said. “And yes, I knew a few of the names that were signed on that letter. The 1960 letter was even more amazing to them, because they realized they hadn’t even been born yet when it was written. Who knows? In a few years from now, the letter they’ll write might be found by someone else.”


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