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A look back at 1985, Ecole Monseigneur Blaise Morand opens a time capsule

Many people have heard the story from their parents or told their kids, those were the days - referring to their time in elementary school when there wasn't a care in the world.
Paul Lewchuk the janitor at the time the capsule was sealed and teacher Jake Wall open the time capsule.

Many people have heard the story from their parents or told their kids, those were the days - referring to their time in elementary school when there wasn't a care in the world. The major concerns were what your friends were doing after school or on the weekend and 28 cents a litre gas was just right. No one was thinking about their life 25 years down the road.

June 9, nearly 100 people entered the gymnasium at Ecole Monseigneur Blaise Morand and were instantly brought back to 1985, and given a chance to look back at part of their childhood. Photos on the walls, music playing in the background and the list of historic events from that year set the scene for the opening of a time capsule created in 1985. The opening celebrated by students and staff from 1985 along with current students and residents interested in the getting a glimpse into the past.

Days before the capsule was opened, Sheila Johnson, who was a teacher at Alexander School when the time capsule was created, recalled working with Walter Kostyna, the creator of the capsule.

"He was a wonderful, very supportive, very likeable person," said Johnson.

Her expectations of the articles inside the capsule appeared to be quite accurate.

"Things have changed," she said, 'but I don't think that kids today will be surprised by what's in the capsule."

Paul Lewchuk a custodian at the time remembers placing the time capsule in the school like it was yesterday.

"I had to take the lockers out, and I slid it in behind them, then of course I slid the lockers back in again," said Lewchuk, who was invited to help open the capsule since he was the last person to see it open in 1985.

Former staff members, including Barb Sealy and Lorraine Voegeli, were in attendance. Nearly a dozen students from the time of the time capsule and two who helped organize the event, Lori Lehman and Rae Ann Barclay, were present as well as a former school board member, and representatives from the North Battleford Archives Committee. The man with the plan, the late Walter Kostyna, passed away in 2006. His daughters Janet Kostyna and Kathy Storgard were in attendance on his behalf and spoke before the capsule was opened.

They spoke about how education and history were important parts of their father's life.

"His spirit is here and he is so proud of the students here," said the evening's MC John Hunchak.

Once Lewchuk and teacher Jake Wall pulled the box open, the memories came rushing back. First, they pulled out nearly a dozen textbooks from 1985. He paused for a moment and said "now we get to the good stuff, because no one came to see textbooks."

The capsule included articles submitted from each homeroom in 1985. There were class pictures and albums of class trips. Cassettes with personal messages and some with the top songs from the time were pulled out of the capsule. Flags with students' signatures, report cards, timetables, letters from the students to themselves, a tambourine, drum sticks, books, a cassette player with instructions, a phonebook, a calendar, hair fashion magazines, teacher's door plates, News-Optimist and Star Phoenix newspapers, a diet Coke bottle, a program from the SCR fashion show, a tale from a students' hair and several other mementos were revealed during the program.

Perhaps the most anticipated thing pulled out of the box was a letter from Walter Kostyna.

The letter read:


It is my hope and prayer that I may be able to read this to you. However, just in case I am pleased that you came to recollect your days at Alexander School. Enjoy yourself. As you read your predictions you will see how close you came.

Let me take a shot for some things that I see for the year 2010. I certainly hope that you haven't gone through a war.

Brian Malroney may still be the prime minister, but I doubt it.

Is Quebec still part of Canada?

Technological advances should be major.

Flight into space should be common.

Schools won't have changed that much. They were much the same in 1942 when I first started. Students will play the same tricks as they did 25 years ago. After all they learned them from their parents. Some of the programs we started will still be used, perhaps modified a bit - they are good programs.

Linda Davidson, if you're here I want you to know how much I appreciated your unique enthusiasm and work. Linda is your spelling any better?

Myrna your support was great. Perhaps I let you do too much, but I felt the best way to learn was to do it, and you always did a good job.

I could mention all of you however, but as usual I'm in a hurry.

In closing remember: life is what you make it. Some joker may want to screw it up. There will always be those small people. You be a big person, respect yourself and respect others.

It has been nice chatting with you.

As ever your friend Walter Kostyna.

The articles from the time capsule were given to the North Battleford City Archieves.