A group of Hoover Middle School alumni scoured the campus Friday toting metal detectors and rods in search of the school’s missing time capsule.
The time capsule mystery has been looming for years, explained Dawn Atkinson-Spaccio, who first started to hunt for the historical gem five years ago.
Today, the small team of alumni, former teachers and current school administration think they have struck gold, or rather, aluminum.
The group pinpointed the area of the time capsule down to an 8-foot by 8-foot area, said Hoover assistant principal Bill Macheras. There were four distinct spots that stuck out, he explained, and pencils have been put in the ground to mark the area.
“They all could ping at different levels, whether it’s picking up a paper clip or whatever, but they all pinged pretty strong in this area,” said Macheras.
In 1976, teacher Jack Deppner worked diligently to film students on an 8 millimeter camera and collect mementos to bury in a time capsule. It was the U.S. bicentennial at the time and the school wanted to do something special.
Decades later, alumni reconnected on Facebook where the idea of digging up the old time capsule came up – but no one, including Deppner, could remember exactly where it is buried. Deppner had long since retired from Hoover and just passed away a few years ago. In searching for what is believed to be at least a 3-foot-tall capsule, the group aimed to “think like Mr. Deppner,” said Atkinson-Spaccio, and pursue this in his honor. Deppner’s widow, Barbara, and daughter Becky were at today’s search.
Five metal detectors and three metal rods were used to skim the grassy courtyard area behind the school where alumni think the capsule is buried. A group was started for the Hoover Middle School 50th anniversary on Facebook where dozens have dug deep into their memories trying to remember where the capsule was buried.
Alumni first believed the capsule was buried right outside what was once the boy’s locker room and shop class, but Friday veered that hypothesis in a slightly different direction.
“They at least narrowed the search area a little farther east,” said Macheras.
But there was another revealing discovery, said Atkinson-Spaccio. The team found a set of “X’s” painted on the concrete correlating with where the metal detectors sensed something underground.
“Up against the wall we found an ‘X,’ so we went straight out to where we were and found a hard spot,” she said.
A metal rod was stuck in the ground and low and behold there was definitely something down there.