Lit teacher is searching for students who wrote letters to their future selves

OUTLOOK PHOTOS: TERESA CARSON - Retired Barlow High School English teacher Sue Schneibel holds the time capsules her students created and encased in the walls of the school in 1974. In 1974 Sue Schneibel's two science fiction literature classes at Barlow High School created time capsules. They wrote letters to their future selves, recorded their voices, added some music meaningful to them, a newspaper, books and some other items.

The two classes buried the capsules in the wall of the 400 and 500 classroom wings being built at the school and not much thought was given to them after that.

Fast forward 44 years to 2018 when workmen demolishing parts of Barlow for a big remodel found the two, small, now beat up, metal boxes and turned them over to principal Bruce Schmidt. He handed them over to Schneibel.

"We didn't really know when we would find them again. Someday we figured we'd be able to get them out," she said. Some of the documents students created at the time indicated they thought the boxes would be opened in 25 years in 1999.

The keys to the boxes were lost when the Schneibel family suffered a house fire.

OUTLOOK PHOTOS: TERESA CARSON - Sue Schneibel is looking for students in her 1974 science fiction literature classes so they can decide what to do with the contents of the time capsules. Schneibel, now retired and substitute teaching, is searching for the students in the two classes.

"I'm going to find as many as I can and let them decide where and when they'll open them," Schneibel said.

The 1974 science fiction Bruins could opt for an upcoming anniversary year — 2019 would be 45 years. Or they could chose to open it when the remodeled school opens in 2020.

One of the books the students included was the 1970 "Future Shock" by Alvin and Heidi Toffler.

Student Kim Randolph said in an explanation "we are including this book since this book tells us what the future may be like, we will read the book then and will compare our future with the book's predicted future."

A newspaper was included to remember events of the time and as one student said, "The newspaper has been a part of our culture for a long time. By putting one in our time capsule it will remind us of the power of the press and the need for accurate, truthful reporting."

For the letters, Schneibel instructed the students to "remind yourself of all your dreams and hopes for yourself" and explain to your older self "the many, many things of value and meaning that you don't want to forget."

She urged them to "be sure and tell him/her (future self) what you expect him/her to be like."

Schneibel said the student-led project still excites her.

"I was so proud of them."

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