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Montpelier school celebrates 100 years

Montpelier Public School fifth-grade teacher Ryan Nelson presents his unoffical mascot, a toy lizard named Peter “Liz” Kippling, as his class’ contribution to the school's 25-year time capsule at the school's 100th-year celebration Friday. Following groans from the students, Nelson retrieved the lizard so the kids could have another week to say goodbye. David Luessen The Sun

MONTPELIER, N.D. — Montpelier Public School students and staff celebrated 100 years of classes with a school-wide birthday party at the building on the southern edge of town.

A day filled with activities including games and inflatable bounce houses rented by the Montpelier PTO and fundraisers culminated with each class depositing an item in a 25-year time capsule.

Superintendent and Elementary Principal Jerry Waagen said students will unearth the time capsule at the school’s 125th anniversary in 2039.

“When we talk about a school, you can look at our building: It’s a hundred years old and the foundation of this building is made up of brick and mortar and all that,” Waagen told students. “But really what the foundation of a good school is, and our school for sure I know, is all the people — the students, the staff and everybody who’s been through the door in the last 100 years — and so all of those people, thank you so much for making Montpelier school what it is today.”

Prior to the ceremony Waagen said he had no idea what was going into the time capsule, which will remain open and unburied through the summer school sessions to place more items.

Fifth-grade teacher Ryan Nelson’s class gave up its class mascot Peter “Liz” Kippling, a toy lizard that has also doubled as the volleyball team’s unofficial mascot.

“It’s been in a bunch of different people’s classrooms; I’ve had it for five years,” Nelson said. “It’s just a stupid thing I had in my room just sitting on my shelf, and actually one year we used it as the mascot for the volleyball team when I was coaching. Honest to God, it sat, at districts (tournaments) on our bench — on the end of our bench is this toy lizard.”

Students gasped as Peter Kippling was added to the time capsule, so Nelson retrieved it for the students to have another week to say goodbye.

When the wooden time capsule is sealed it will be encased in metal before it’s buried.

“They’re going to put up a new flag pole out front somewhere, then they’re going to bury it right below the flag pole so they don’t forget where it’s at,” Nelson said.

Other items in the capsule included letters to future students, questionnaires the students filled out, class pictures and other photos.

Sun reporter David Luessen can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at