Retired teachers make donations, welcome more members to local group
KNOWLESVILLE – The Orleans County Chapter of Retired Teachers Association had their annual meeting Thursday at the Abundant Harvest Fellowship Hall.
The 13 educators collectively amassed nearly 400 years of teaching in basically every school subject, from industrial arts to physical education.
Those in attendance included Frank Berger of Medina, Al Buell of Albion, Gary and Grace Kent of Albion, Gail Johnson of Albion, Nancy Walker of Holley, Georgia Thomas of Medina, Barb Filipiak of Medina, Kay VanNostrand of Medina, Jill Klotzbach of Basom, Charlene Smith of Medina, Ann Czajkowski of Barker and Kathy Punch of Medina. Also attending was Mary Beth Tyndall, president of the Central Western Zone RTA.
Berger, who has served 10 terms as president, presided at the meeting, during which a new slate of officers was elected. They are Georgia Thomas of Medina, president; Gary Kent of Albion, vice president; Nancy Walker of Holley, recording secretary; Gail Johnson of Albion, corresponding secretary; and Charlene Smith of Medina, treasurer.
Berger issued a plea for someone to volunteer as a historian for the organization. He said it was important to have their history documented.
Berger presented certificates of appreciation to several members, including Nancy Walker and Gary Kent. Two recipients, Jeffrey Annable of Gasport and Eileen Wuethrich of Kendall, were not in attendance. The awards were actually announced by the New York State Retired Teachers’ Association at the Central Western Zone meeting a week ago.
Treasurer Ann Czajkowski reported the RTA would donate $100 to Camp Rainbow for the 22nd consecutive year. Jenn Batt from Camp Rainbow was guest speaker at the meeting.
Another $100 was donated last year to the Cobblestone Museum and $50 to the autism trail at Letchworth State Park.
Part of the money for donations is earned from raffles at each meeting, conducted by Barb Filipiak. On Thursday, Filipiak sold tickets for a 50/50 drawing and chances to win a Buffalo Bills banner which had been donated.
Kathy Punch of Medina, a retired teacher, shared information about OCALS (Orleans County Accredited Learning Services) and explained the need for tutors.
Thomas shared she has volunteered as a tutor for OCALS and it was very rewarding.
“When you see a child all of a sudden ‘get it,’ it’s a wonderful thing,” she said.
Czajkowski stressed the importance of members attending meetings, after declining membership caused the Orleans County RTA to consider disbanding before Covid.
“We are in a time when all groups are wondering how they can keep going,” she said. “But people don’t realize how much fun it is to be with other colleagues.”
Grace Kent reported on the Membership Committee, saying she sends letters to all school administrators requesting names of newly retired teachers. They have one honorary life member, Joanne Loughlin of Medina.
The Orleans chapter, which used to meet in the spring and fall, has decided to have just one meeting a year. It will be in the fall to welcome new retirees.
Retirees were reminded anyone who worked in a school system in any capacity in Orleans County is eligible to join the Retired Teachers Association.