Creekside Elementary School goes all out for Operation Bald Eagle

February 7, 2012

By Tom Corrigan

Creekside Elementary School kindergartners Reagan Mitchell, Caden Culver and Ethan Ball (clockwise from bottom) show off pictures and decorated collection boxes going to Operation Bald Eagle. Contributed

There probably is no doubt that the Sammamish-based organization Operation Bald Eagle has inspired plenty of people to help United States troops and their families here and overseas.

Operation Bald Eagle has definitely touched the students and staff at Creekside Elementary School.

“At Creekside, a goal is to help each child realize that they are a leader and to encourage them to make a positive, meaningful difference in their community,” Creekside teacher Michelle Blake said.

According to both Blake and fellow instructor Katie Tasa, the school has numerous Student Leadership Clubs. Tasa and Blake are the faculty advisors to the clubs. Principles from the well-known book “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” are taught at the school, Blake added.

Blake noted that her kindergarten class just happens to include Reagan Mitchell, the son of Operation Bald Eagle president and founder Jeff Mitchell.

Operation Bald Eagle is an official nonprofit that was started as a means to give back to the families of men and woman killed in the service of their country, according to its website. The group undertakes numerous activities, including sending care packages to active duty units and visiting veterans’ hospitals in the area.

At Creekside, Blake and Tasa were inspired to collect items to send to troops, as well as have students decorate collection boxes, draw pictures and write letters to soldiers.

“By being involved in Operation Bald Eagle, the students understand that they are collecting items and giving to our troops,” Blake said. “The end result is knowing that they gave back to the soldiers for protecting our country.”

She and Tasa said collecting items for the soldiers gave students the chance to discuss veterans and the military with their families.

For the collection, Creekside teachers were looking for specific items. Those included baby wipes (used by soldiers to clean themselves,) scented dryer sheets (used for pest control,) gum (important for days when troops may not be able to brush) and toilet tissue. On a flier distributed around Creekside, the tissue issued to troops is described as “like sandpaper.”

The official collection ran at Creekside from Jan. 25 to Feb. 2. Blake said items would be turned over to Operation Bald Eagle shortly after the final day. The classroom with the most items was awarded Creekside’s “Golden Otter” award, described by Blake as a new tradition at the school meant, in this case, to honor the class that showed the most leadership by gathering the most items.

“It’s amazing to see how involved the students are getting,” Blake said.

Tom Corrigan: 392-6434, ext. 241, or Comment at

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