On a warm, sunny afternoon on Aug. 31, First Creek Middle School held its first back-to-school in the nearby Salishan neighborhood. Staff members were joined by two Eagle mascots and the Lincoln High School drum line in walking through the public housing development.
Police officers on motorcycles were on hand to handle traffic, as a few streets were briefly closed off to allow the marchers to safely walk their route.
The parade began in the parking lot of First Creek, which is on Portland Avenue. As they walked along East 44th Street, they briefly stopped in front of Lister Elementary School, where they were greeted by staff of that school.
All along the route, marchers tossed candy to children and also handed out school supplies.
“This is an effort to bring a sense of community to the school,” said Michael Joshua, an instructional facilitator of math and science at First Creek. He said the parade helps children to know they are welcomed and respected at the school.
Rachel Smith-Mosul used to be a teacher at the old Gault Middle School, which closed upon First Creek’s opening. She taught at First Creek for three years before accepting an administrative position in Tacoma Public Schools. She was pleased to be back in the part of town where she used to teach and happy to see partners such as the YMCA and Metro Parks’ Sparx program involved in the event.
“This will grow every year,” she predicted.
Members of Tacoma Urban League also participated in the parade.
After the parade, the marchers gathered in the cafeteria at First Creek. Principal Brad Brown thanked all who participated. He introduced the man he asked to be grand marshal, Josh Garcia. This summer he began his new job as deputy superintendent for the district.
“This is a great day to be a First Creek Eagle,” Garcia told the audience. He discussed some of his goals for the district, reading aloud a list of priorities. Garcia said he has high expectations for First Creek students and hopes they all take advanced placement classes when they move on to Lincoln High School.