WE: Shining Our Bright Light

December 2nd marked one of the few in-person school events allowed at White Eagle Elementary this semester. The evening brought two PTA-sponsored events together under one theme of “Shining Our Bright Light” within our school, neighborhood and local community. 

White Eagle's First-Ever "Spirit Tree"

With a “DIY” Halloween Activities and Scavenger Hunt event behind us, the Executive Board really felt that December’s winter event should include an element of togetherness at the school, even if we couldn’t physically be together. Thus, the idea of a “White Eagle Spirit Tree” was born!

PTA volunteers put together 525 kits containing materials and instructions for students to design a clay pot tree ornament that they could then hang on one of the two large pine trees outside of the school building. Rather than being a holiday-specific event, the idea was to allow students to design decorations under an all-inclusive theme that represented 2020. The winning suggestion, “WE: Shining Our Bright Light,” came from parent Candy Bourbonnais who referenced light as something “…that not only provides us the ability to navigate through dark times, but also the hope to persist.” She went on to say, “I honestly feel that the kids represent a great deal of that light. I’d like to quote the great Albus Dumbledore on this one: 'Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one remembers to turn on the light.’”

In keeping with the idea of bright lights, projection lights were used to illuminate the large pine trees and families came through one at a time to hang their handmade ornaments on the trees for a bright display showing the community that we have remained “White Eagle Strong” during the hardest of times this year. And, who knows?! We might have started a new White Eagle tradition, although hopefully with less restrictions next year!

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5th Grade Angel Giving Tree

The evening also included collecting toys and clothing gifts for local children in need through our 5th Grade Service Project with the Salvation Army’s Angel Giving Tree. Organized by parent Angela Greco, the families of White Eagle Elementary and even our local White Eagle neighbors came together to fulfill 200 gift tags for the Salvation Army. Angela’s team of 5th grade volunteer elves (with some help from Mrs. Preston and Mrs. Vieira) were hard at work all evening, retrieving enough bags and boxes of donations to line the school’s gym wall.

And the generosity doesn’t stop there! During an especially difficult year where the Salvation Army of Aurora’s donations are down by 75%, White Eagle was able to donate a few thousand dollars worth of EXTRA toys to the organization, which will be distributed to other children on their list.

Mrs. Preston, Mrs. Vieira, and Mrs. Howicz organize donations in the gym.

WGN News even came out to White Eagle during the Salvation Army’s pick-up to highlight the successful event! Check out the amazing clip below where Angela Greco talks about our Giving Tree!! You can read the full news story HERE.

We hope everyone who participated enjoyed making our community a little brighter this week, and in doing so, may your day have been brightened as well!

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