Every morning for the past two years, 11-year-old Korina Konciute has arrived at school early, snapped on her lime-green safety patrol harness, and guided her fellow students from the bus circle and the car line to their classrooms.
In January, Korina, who came to this country from Lithuania when she was 6, began performing a task she loves even more: raising the American flag on the school's flagpole.
It's a job she learned from reading coach Kristina Quinlivan, co-adviser for the safety patrol. Quinlivan explained to Korina that raising the flag each day is an important job.
Besides paying tribute to America, Quinlivan said, it's a way to get a fresh outlook on the day.
"Your mind is open and you're ready to go out for adventure," Korina said Wednesday after hoisting the flag.
Just last week, the fifth-grader learned an obscure fact that not even many Rio Vista staff members know: The small ornament that crowns the flagpole, a brass eagle with a wingspan of 6 inches, was carried by troops during the Civil War.
A long-forgotten benefactor donated the eagle when the school opened in 1926, and it has gazed out toward the street from its lofty perch ever since.
Now, Korina wonders what will happen to the little eagle.
No one seems to know.
Principal Wayne Whitney said there are so many loose ends to tie up that he hasn't had a chance to think about the eagle. Acting administrator Robert Czaplinsky said that maybe someone who attends the goodbye picnic next week will have an idea.
Korina knows what she'd like to see happen to it. She'd like it to stay right where it is, on top of the flagpole, in front of the school she loves.