It all began with a mysterious hissing sound, one that the students at Syracuse Elementary had never heard before. The sound only came from one classroom, Mrs. Frazier’s SEM ((Schoolwide Enrichment Model) room. The thermostat hanging on the wall would randomly “hiss” making the kids laugh. To make light of the situation, Mrs. Frazier would tell the kids that a large snake lived inside the wall.
Christy Frazier teaches the SEM program at Syracuse Elementary. She works with advanced learners K through 6. One day after the thermostat hissed, several sixth-grade students made a paper snake with a large mouth, and placed it over the thermostat. If it was going to hiss like a snake, they decided it should look like one. Then they placed a large sign over the snake that said, “This is Carlos, say hi!” Carlos became the classroom mascot.
Years began to come and go and Carlos started to show his age. His color faded and he fell off the wall a few times, putting small rips and tears on his aging body. It was becoming apparent that Carlos needed to be retired, but the garbage can was not to be his final resting place. Mrs. Frazier and several of her students decided that Carlos should be preserved and that a time capsule would be the ideal resting place for him.
The date of May 29, 2018 was set for Carlos’ memorial/funeral. All SEM students, past and present, were invited to attend. Those who couldn’t come sent messages to go into the time capsule:
“I remember my first time seeing Carlos in 2011, I remember pointing him out. Those were the days. Have fun Carlos! – Mikaela Kelly “
I heard that Carlos was retiring! I would just like to say that the first time I heard his hiss, I was surprised and thought he was very clever! I looked forward to seeing him in SEM. I hope someone will think of something to decorate your room as cheerfully as he did. May he always be remembered.
Love, Mattina Thompson
Other items were placed in the time capsule from past and present SEM activities. The items included: class lists, Civil War soldiers made from TP rolls, a crown used as a hall pass, letters from students to their future selves, letters and art from our pen pal friends in Japan, a paper Shakespeare, plus much more.
May 29th came. Over 50 students attended the memorial, including several past students who are now in junior high and high school. A nice memorial was held, and Carlos’ time capsule was sealed then buried in a quiet secluded area in the school’s garden. The kids took turns placing dirt on top of the capsule. Yes, one student even cried. Carlos’ resting place was then marked with a hand painted rock. He is now the garden’s guardian, according to one student.
Carlos’ story doesn’t end here. On May 29, 2028, ten years from now, the time capsule will be dug up and opened. This fun and inspiring paper snake who bonded years of students, will one day be remembered again.
Christy Frazier is an author. You can learn more about her books at, pocketcheerleader.com