Before the luncheon, Deborah Flower, program chairman, introduced Jennifer White, education curator at the Museum Center at Five Points. White encouraged the retired teachers to become education docents at the Museum Center by using their skills perfected in the classrooms.
The museum’s education programs provide excellent opportunities to both teach and learn about the history of the Ocoee District. She shared brochures from the museum about current and upcoming series.
After the luncheon, Flower introduced guest speaker Melissa Woody, vice president of the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau at the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce.
Appearing first as the character of the great Minnie Pearl, she briefly regaled the group with some “Pearlisms” before appearing as her “authentic character” — Melissa Woody from the CVB. In that role, she enthusiastically told of the many tourism opportunities available in Bradley County and of their importance to our economy.
One area of particular interest is the development in the Charleston area as a historical tourism venue. She informed the group that the Center for Historic Preservation at Middle Tennessee State University has completed a study on the site and that the National Park Service recently visited the area.
Woody then shared the history and the origin of the coming First International Cowpea Festival in the Fall of 2012 to be held in Charleston. She left numerous booklets with information regarding this area and all may be obtained at the local Chamber of Commerce.
During the business portion of the meeting, Carolyn Goins, secretary, read the minutes of the last meeting. Harold Reno, treasurer, gave the treasurer’s and membership report. He welcomed new member Phyllis Martin. Lois Glass asked all to remember the family of Lorane Baker Shelton and the contribution she made to education.
Gerald Lillard, the legislative chairman, announced that Tennessee Retired Teacher’s Association membership is up statewide and encouraged all retired teachers to join their local association.
He updated the group on state legislation that could possibly affect the future of retirement benefits and again stressed the importance of being active in a local association. Lillard also heralded the goal set forth by the Student Tennessee Education Association: Students Helping Schools by giving back to school communities.
The STEA and the Tennessee Retired Teachers are helping some schools in need and have targeted three schools in the regions of East, Middle and West Tennessee to receive support.
Blue Springs Elementary In Bradley County, representing East Tennessee, was selected because of the tornado damage sustained in the April storms. STEA decided to help the Blue Springs teachers individually because they were displaced by the storm damage.
Lillard also announced a regional meeting of RTA would be held in Knoxville and the Cleveland Bradley chapter would have representation. Wilma Cross, in the absence of the Community Participation chairman, Martha Wattenbarger, reminded all present of the annual Christmas project and to bring appropriate gifts in December for those homebound retired teachers no longer physically able to attend meetings. The gifts will be delivered after the December meeting.
President Duane Schriver welcomed former Bradley County superintendents Jerry Frazier and David Holloway as guests.
The next scheduled meeting will be Dec. 8 at Westwood Baptist Church at 11:30 a.m. The local association meets bi-monthly and membership is open to any retired teacher.