40-Year-Old Time Capsule Discovered at School Prompts Search for Long Lost Teacher

Time Capsule

Connie Ingels, IMT/Registrar at Ramblewood Middle School, discovered a time capsule on the campus {photo by Jen Russon}

By: Jen Russon

With a little sleuthing, the registrar at Ramblewood Middle School discovered the real purpose of what appeared to be a safe, buried in concrete under the floor of a vaulted bookkeeper closet.

“I showed the Brinks driver a safe in the floor, and he said it wasn’t a safe at all, but a time capsule,” said Connie Ingels, adding its combination was unknown.

Her next move was to send her predecessors a photo of the alleged time capsule to see if they knew anything about it.

The school’s original secretary, Joy Emerson, who worked for Principal Flynn in the late 1970s, confirmed that, yes, this was probably the very same time capsule placed by Diane Brode, a gifted teacher at Ramblewood Middle school over 40 years ago.

Ingels did more digging, managing to locate one of the time capsule’s contributors, Michael Bennett, who said he and about 80 other students in Brode’s Resource class were given an assignment of guessing what the world might look like when they turned 45.

Back in 1978 when Bennett was an 11-year-old sixth-grader, he said public schools were overcrowded when he attended Ramblewood, which sent him and classmates down the road to Margate Middle School for double sessions, taught in a scattering of portables.

Brode had tasked her students with finding solutions to significant problems that existed for the world at the time, specifically energy, transportation, technology, medicine, and housing problems.

“I think the point of the project is that you can use research skills, coupled with your creativity, to paint a picture of the distant future and what the world might be like and how it could influence your future life,” said Bennett. “You might not get everything right, but it’s fun to stretch your imagination.”

At that time, J.P. Taravella did not yet exist; Jimmy Carter was President, and gas cost around 63 cents a gallon. Residents could purchase their first home for an average of $55k – a jump from previous years, but still unfathomably low to homebuyers in South Florida today.

Calling their time capsule project, “Future World,” Bennett and his class buried academic papers that predicted what the world might look like 33 years into the future, to compare how problems were actually tackled, with methods his classmates had designed.

“Future World” was hidden at a subterranean level in August of 1978, the date Ramblewood Middle School was opened to accommodate overcrowding, and function as the school, Coral Springs residents, know today.

A former resident whose family lived near Sherwood Forest, Bennett said creating a time capsule with his classmates had an impact on the life he leads today in North Carolina.

“In middle and high school, I was always interested in journalism. I wrote for school newspapers. Writing is still the most important skill I use daily,” he said.

Now 53-years-old, Bennett is vice president of communications for Honeywell. He said nothing is stopping him from boarding a plane, once his alma mater decides the time has come to unseal Future World finally.

Bennett said the time capsule has remained on his mind all these years, especially in 2011, when the date to reunite with his class and open it came and went.

No one knows why reopening the capsule is almost a decade overdue, but Ingels and staff, as well as Bennett, said they are excited, even obsessed at the thought of unlocking the relics of a bygone era.

“I think if we were able to find Ms. Brode, we could not only get the correct combination to open the time capsule, but arrange an official ceremony for an unsealing,” said Ingels.

A staff member at Ramblewood Middle since 2003, Ingels added she could only imagine how different her school must have been 42 years ago.

Bennett echoed that thought when he talked about his two grown children, and how different their adolescence was from his.

“The advancement in technology over the past 30 years has been amazing. One big change has been my children’s ability to connect with the rest of the world and make friends virtually everywhere — even on different continents. If you told me as a child that I would regularly interact with people from far-away nations and cultures, I wouldn’t have believed it,” said Bennett.

Anyone with information about the 2011 time capsule is urged to contact Connie Ingels.

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