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Ceremony set for 1976 time capsule opening

| Sunday, May 27, 2001, 12:00 p.m.

The nation's bicentennial will return to the Mon Valley for a moment Wednesday as South Allegheny School District students and officials open a time capsule that has been sealed for 25 years.

Kathy Burchel, who taught first grade for the district when the capsule was sealed, said she has seen many changes since 1976 and looks forward to the opening.

'It makes a connection with the past and the present,' said Burchel, a teacher at Manor Elementary School. 'I think it shows children how things change.'

Burchel was in her third year as a first-grade teacher at the now-defunct Liberty Way Elementary School when the capsule was filled.

Burchel said she remembers a variety of items going into the steel tube, including an American flag, recordings of patriotic songs, a 1976 series $2 bill and other memorabilia.

Time capsule projects are beneficial to school children, Burchel said, because they help put historical events in a perspective that might not be readily visible through a book.

In addition to the benefits for the children, the capsule opening will provide a bonus for the school district. Officials have gotten in contact with some of the people who participated 25 years ago, and many are scheduled to return for a minireunion Wednesday.

The capsule is at the site of the former Liberty Way Elementary School at the corner of Lauck Avenue and Liberty Way, now the site of the Liberty Manor Personal Care Center.

After the contents of the capsule have been extracted and displayed in various locations during the summer, students will assemble their own collection of modern items to be sealed in a capsule for another 25 years.

The new capsule will be placed at Manor Elementary in September.

The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Lauck Avenue-Liberty Way site.

Joseph J. McCallister can be reached at jmccallister@tribweb.com or (412) 380-8536.

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