When a time capsule was buried on the grounds of Harry Camsell School 20 years ago, Lana Nason, left, was a student at the school where she now works, and current principal Carolyn Carroll was teaching elsewhere in Hay River. The time capsule was to be dug up on Oct. 12, but that has been postponed to the same date next year because of Covid-19 restrictions.
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

It’s going to take some more time before a time capsule buried on the grounds of Harry Camsell School is dug up.

The time capsule was buried on Oct. 12, 2000, and was to be dug up and opened exactly 20 years later – Oct. 12, 2020.

However, that is not going to happen because of Covid-19.

“We couldn’t do it because of Covid, because you can’t have large crowds and then we can’t distribute all the items either from the school because there’d be so many visitors coming into the school,” said Carolyn Carroll, the principal of Harry Camsell School.

The plan is to wait another year and open the time capsule on Oct. 12, 2021.

“I guess it will be 21 years now, if our restrictions are lifted by then,” said Carroll. “And we are very optimistic things will be back to normal, hopefully. One never knows.”

She noted that some former students who had placed items in the time capsule had hoped to travel back to the NWT to be on hand for the opening, but even that would have been difficult with travel restrictions because of Covid-19.

“Some of the students who had things buried in there reached out last spring and the plan was to have a little bit of a get-together and a bit of a celebration, and have it dug up and share it,” she said.

Carroll said organizers of that celebration just decided it was best to postpone it so that they could do it justice next year.

Twenty years ago, Carroll was teaching at Diamond Jenness Secondary School when the time capsule was buried at Harry Camsell School.

She was not on hand when it was buried, but she did have three children at Harry Camsell School at the time.

“I know my daughter had a letter saying what she was going to be when she grew up and that sort of thing,” Carroll noted. “So it would be fun to look at what your idea was as a child.”

As she understands it, the time capsule was buried as a millennium project.

Back in 2000, Harry Camsell School housed students in Grade 3 to Grade 6, while it now has Junior Kindergarten to Grade 3.

Carroll estimated that the school in 2000 had at least 300 students and it is believed all placed something in the time capsule.

She is not sure how many items in all are waiting to be uncovered.

The principal has been told of some things that are in the capsule – other letters, Pokemon cards and a voice recording on a cassette.

“You just don’t know what’s in there,” she said.

One of the students at Harry Camsell School in 2000 was Lana Nason, who was in Grade 5 back then and now works at the school as a literacy support assistant.

Nason, who was 10 years old at the time, remembers that the burial of the time capsule was a big event at the school.

“I think we all came class by class and we put something inside of it,” she said. “That’s what I remember.”

However, she doesn’t exactly remember what she put into the time capsule.

“I think it might have been a necklace. I don’t know,” she said.

Nason said the whole school and many former students were looking forward to having the time capsule dug up.

“I think a lot of people were excited to find out what they put in there,” she said.

Carroll said it is disappointing that the time capsule won’t be dug up this year.

“It seems like we’ve had so much taken away from us because of Covid, but we make the best of things and we move on,” she said, noting it is important to keep everyone safe.


Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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