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Messages of hopes and dreams revealed as Fort Worth elementary school unearths 30-year-old time capsule

"We want them to understand the great traditions we've had here," said Lily B. Clayton Elementary school principal Kate Anderson.

FORT WORTH, Texas — To an elementary student Thursday, 30 years might seem like eons ago. But as the students, staff and parents unearthed a time capsule from 1992 outside Lily B. Clayton Elementary in Fort Worth, they found out the hopes and dreams then were very much the same as they are now.

The audio cassette tapes, though -- that's a slightly different story.

Lily B. Clayton, first known as Mistletoe Heights Elementary, is celebrating its 100th birthday this month. The landmark -- first home to just 79 students in a four-room schoolhouse in 1922 -- is now home to more than 500 pre-K through fifth grade students.

But, in 1992, they placed a time capsule in the ground next to the flag pole with instructions to open it on Feb. 17, 2022. 

Two PTA dads removed the bronze plaque and removed a 3-foot-long section of large PVC pipe. Once they carried it inside the school auditorium, two school employees who actually helped bury it those 30 years ago used a batter-powered saw to open it.

To the cheers of students, staff and parents, several ziplocked bags of cards and letters and artwork spilled out. Teachers took turns reading them out loud, including a telling technological message from the school secretary in 1992.

"We have a Tandy 2500 XL/2, that will eventually be used to do all of the procedures that have to do with reports, mail etc.," a staff member read as the crowd laughed. That "state of the art" mode of computer operated on roughly 256KB of RAM.

But in all the messages, one read by another teacher stood out.

"It is my hope that in 2022, that all races will have tapped their reservoir of passion to realize the importance of getting along with each other and living in peace and harmony," a staff member wrote in 1992.

Harmony that the current principal wants today's kids to keep striving for.

"We want them to understand the great traditions we've had here and understand the impact that they've had on students for over 30 years," said principal Kate Anderson.

There was one more treasure: an audio cassette that had a recorded message from a fifth grade class in 1992. The problem was they couldn't find a working cassette player to play it on.

That treasure, as the school continues its month-long celebration of its place and impact in the communities of Mistletoe Heights and Berkeley Place, will have to wait until Friday.

"Lily B. is the heart of the Berkeley Place and Mistletoe Heights neighborhoods and an asset that continues to draw both alumni and new families to this historic community," said Lisa Mocek, the school's PTA historian, who is spearheading celebration planning. "Our teachers, administrators and families do an incredible job providing children the foundation they need to succeed in life. And the school connects all of us in ways that shape lifelong friendships."

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