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Serra class of '86 unearths time capsule

As part of their 25th reunion celebration, members of Serra Catholic High School`s class of 1986 spent Saturday afternoon literally digging up the past.

Kristie England, Patti Gerick, Paul Kovach, Ken Mazur, Lee McClelland, Adam Mulac and Annette Perez gathered on the island in front of St. Junipero Serra to unearth the time capsule their class buried 25 years ago.

England explained that the class of 1986 had the distinction of being the 25th class to graduate from Serra, and for that occasion the class donated the 'Home of the Eagles' sign that still stands on the island in front of the school, and they put together a time capsule to represent their class, to be buried near the sign.

'Someone suggested that we do something special since we were the 25th class,' England said. 'So we donated the sign, and after it was placed we buried the time capsule behind it, which we planned to open 25 years later.'

A small coffin was donated to the senior class by the Gaudi Funeral Home, then of McKeesport, and placing items inside the capsule was open to the entire senior class.

The contents were wrapped in plastic before being placed in the box, which was then sealed and coated with tar, with the hopes of preserving its contents.

Then on a rainy morning after graduation, Adam Mulac, Pete Pane and others buried the capsule behind the new Serra sign.

'It was right after we put the sign up,' Mulac recalled. 'We had to wait for the cement to harden, and we had to dig at least two feet down, below the frost line.'

What was somewhat less clear on Saturday was the exact spot to dig. Pane directed Mulac via text message to dig 'one giant step back from the sign.'

The problem• The concrete edging now surrounding the sign is one giant step back from the sign.

After some careful landscaping adjustments the digging began — lots of digging — with each of the men taking turns, sharing shovels, a pickax, a crowbar and hand tools.

The classmates regaled each other with memories of teachers and events, such as their freshman year initiation, which required them to dress like bunnies at school, and that while they were the only class to win two powder puff games, they never won for their homecoming float.

After an hour of digging, the box finally was unearthed, with McClelland hauling it up and hoisting it over his head to applause.

No one could quite remember what was placed inside the capsule, but the unveiling was saved for the reunion dinner Saturday night at the Grandview Golf Course.

Unfortunately, much of the contents were badly damaged by water, but among items were baseball cards, a copy of the student newsletter, a VHS tape of the school musical, a can of Copenhagen and a copy of The Daily News.

And despite the damage to the contents, the time capsule`s true worth proved to be in the process of unearthing all of the memories it contained.

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