Creek Culture Right Under Your Feet


Courtesy of Jared Dettlebach

In the courtyard before the front entrance of Silver Creek on May 5th, beneath the trees are varying bricks dedicated to students and staff.

Early in the school year, as the summer turned to fall, a group of freshmen sat in a ring, eating lunch and making conversation in the courtyard of Silver Creek high school. Once in a while, they studied the floor beneath them, etched in black onto the red bricks were names and symbols. After these freshmen got used to the school, its details were simply part of it. As the year progressed, the bricks went unnoticed, despite knowing little about them.

These stones are the product of the Brick Buy Brick fundraiser, a cheekily-named tradition that has been raising money for the school and honoring former members of the Creek community for years. Though the participation has lessened in the years, this remains a tradition allowing Raptors to leave their mark.

This project, run by the Silver Creek Education Foundation (SCEF), was created when Creek was a young school. Eric Ottem, the assistant principal of Silver Creek High School and a member of SCEF, was there at the project’s birth, about fourteen years ago.

Ottem explains, “The principal who hired me asked me to start the Education Foundation, so I’d find people who would be on the board, figure out how we’re going to raise money so we could give it away to support the classrooms of Silver Creek.”

The SCEF decided upon the Brick Buy Brick project, where one can pay to have an engraved brick embedded in the Silver Creek courtyard, and the money goes to the SCEF which supports the school. This is really a win-win as it supports the school and sets Raptors’ memory, quite literally, in stone.

“There are two bricks that I helped purchase,” Tina Fredo, a SCEF member, says. “They were the larger ones, for the two librarians that were here prior to Mrs. Holtz and I, so they have little icons like book icons, so you can get them customized, of course the larger the brick the more the donation.”

The bricks lie beneath the trees in the courtyard, and as the years go by, more sections of the courtyard are replaced with bricks engraved in the honor of Raptors. However, less people are buying bricks than in the years when it started.

“We usually, maybe get a half dozen [brick buyers] or so a year now, it was kind of really hot [before],” Ottem said.

As fewer bricks are bought, less money is going to the classrooms. The bricks are often overlooked and less are being bought as a result. Riki Frea, who is president of the SCEF for two years (as of 2023) explains.

“A lot of people don’t know [the bricks] are there, that’s a problem with promoting them,” Frea says.

A big portion of the Silver Creek community has never heard of or seen the bricks and as such, don’t buy them. With fewer sales, there are fewer donations. However, it is a great way to support the school.

“It’s a nice way for parents to give back to the SCEF for all the things we do for teachers and students,” Frea says.

Not only do these bricks support the school financially, but are physically a part of it. These bricks display each generation, meaning Silver Creek’s culture is in its very architecture. The tradition impacts the school in multiple ways.

“That is a way to kind of start a tradition,” Ottem says. “And honor your kid who made it through, and raise a little money for the Education Foundation that will then go back into the classrooms and help other kids.”

This tradition impacts the school in multiple different ways. Through these bricks, one can better connect to the school and leave their mark. Brick Buy Brick is more than a fundraiser with a very serious name, it is a tradition that truly differs Silver Creek from any other school.