Time Capsule Unearthed from West Hills Junior High School
In 1982, the West Hills Junior High School Social Studies classes buried a time capsule and left maps to help someone discover its location. The time capsule and associated maps were lost to time, until Summer 2023, when BHS Physical Plant Services crews unearthed a beat-up garbage can while installing the new lower elementary playground. This was in the area behind the new Kindergarten classrooms, in the grassy nook behind what was once the West Hills art room.
Included within the time capsule were items such as typical middle school clothing; McDonald’s styrofoam containers; a vinyl record; a Wall Street Journal; a dictionary, thesaurus, and vocabulary book; a West Hills Watch student newsletter; a note written in French, German, and English; a Rubik’s Cube; some small paint containers; two plastic instruments; a plastic cross and a plastic dreidel; a recipe for caramel pudding; a magazine cut-out of a car; a cycling license plate; and part of a letter describing the time capsule project.
The dilapidated letter reads:
June 14, 1982
To the Finders of this Time Capsule:
Hello! Greetings from 1982. You have discovered this time capsule either by design or by accident. If by design, you’ve been quite successful in following our maps, and we wish you continued success in your analysis of our culture and life style.
If you have discovered this time capsule by accident, we would really appreciate your contacting the Social Studies department at West Hills Junior High School, and tell them what you’ve found.
To satisfy a bit of your curiosity, this time capsule was a school social studies class project completed and buried on June 16, 1982. We tried to fill the capsule with artifacts representative of 1982 American culture and life style. In fact, our purpose in the project was to analyze our culture and life style and leave a permanent record for a….
The Principal of West Hills at the time, Beverly Stone, reflects upon those years: “Our students had great experiences! Burying a time capsule was only one of them. The staff made sure that their days at West Hills were memorable!”
After contacting teachers of West Hills from the 1980’s, Mel Kozek emerged as one of the Social Studies teachers who buried several time capsules with students over the years. Kozek began teaching in Bloomfield Hills Schools in 1967, and retired in 1999 in the role of Assistant Principal at Bloomfield Hills Middle School. Kozek notes, “The Time Capsule Project was just one of many active, kid centered projects I did with students. I tried to get them to look at their place in history and what kind of history kids of the future might find interesting. Times change, but middle school kids stay remarkably the same. A good middle school class helps kids develop into good students and good people.” While a lot has changed in terms of culture and schools over the past 41 years, this nugget about education remains true!