You have to admit we are quite a handsome group of retired educators. Considering what we have been through in our careers, we have emerged in very fine fettle. I heard once that what you are inside is what you will resemble when you get older. We were good people, so we look good now. Agreed?
We had 81 reservations for our March meeting. There may have been more added later. Our numbers are strong and we continue to grow and to prosper. We enjoy coming to meetings and renewing old and new friendships. We also see the need for remaining informed about the actions of the School Board in Tallahassee (the Legislature) as it affects not just us, but present educators and children. We give back to the community with our scholarships, our volunteering in the schools, and our wealth of knowledge about education, which we are happy to share with those who ask for it.
As an example, Bruce Dietch, member and retired English teacher from Sugg Middle, was recently honored with two awards. One is from the Manatee Schools for Senior Volunteer of the Year and the other from the State of Florida as one of five Senior Adult Volunteers of the Year.
Dr. Mona Jain, also a long-time member of MCREA, was honored by having a new Manatee County middle school named after her.
We have distributed 275 books to schools so far this year. Oneco, Rogers Gardens, Samoset, Ballard, Tillman, and Sugg Middle were the schools so far to get books. Connie Myers delivered books to Ballard. Carol Champlain took some to Tillman, and Bruce Deitch took 25 middle school level books to Sugg. We have enough now for 50 more to be distributed. Prine has been suggested and I need someone who knows that school to volunteer to take them there. We try to give them to the principal with the stipulation that they must be given to the kids, not to the library or to a classroom collection. Let me know if you know Prine, and I will see that you get a box of books to deliver there. Please continue gathering your books and shopping for some at the used book stores and your grandchildren's book shelves. Bring them to the meetings. FREA sends me some pretty bookplates to stick in each book that says they are from MCREA.
At our last meeting, we voted to name one of our MCREA Scholarships, the Elaine Brown Scholarship. Elaine was a tireless chair of the scholarship committee who believed that our help would create future teachers.
If you have received a notice from the State FREA that your membership is due, be aware that you should pay those dues through your local MCREA group so that you will receive membership in both groups. I think FREA sends those out because some counties do not have active Retired Educator groups. By the way, we are accepting membership dues for next year now and they can be paid at a meeting or by mail to your MCREA Treasurer, Judy Bodmer.
At our last meeting, Adam Stockdale gave us an overview of the Robinson's Preserve as it now stands and as it will change in the future. It covers 487 acres and has 6 miles of trails. The Valentine House, which was moved from Palmetto by water, offers art exhibits and other events. There is a kayak launching area and storage for kayaks as well. A salt marsh, a primitive trail with wild flowers and butterflies, marsh rabbits and fiddler crabs, an observation tower to overlook the Preserve, the Perico Boardwalk, a rubberized 1.5 mile running track, and a new education center were among the must-sees. Oh, and they need volunteers. Who better than educators to help?
Our April 19 meeting at the IMG Golf Club will feature Dr. Diana Greene as our speaker. We have scheduled Dr. Greene before but because of last minute demands on her time, she could not be with us. We hope she will be able to get away from what must be a very taxing position for a little while, to speak to us. I have heard her speak at other occasions and she is very informed and surprisingly unruffled, calm, and friendly. How she is coping with the school board in disarray, the county balking at sharing the costs of policing the schools, and all the other items on her plate, I can only imagine. Come and find out.
If you do not hear from your caller, please call Mary Ann Jensen at 756-7603 or Phyllis Omilak at 723-1360 before April 15.
See you soon,