I had the distinct pleasure of speaking at a luncheon for the St. Tammany Retired School Employees Association (STRSEA) on Thursday, May 12, 2016. This luncheon took place at the Abita Springs Town Hall. As I entered the building, I was excited to see several retired employees from Woodlake Elementary School. Throughout the festivities, I also enjoyed getting to meet the other attendees and learn about each person’s background in the field of education.
After being welcomed by the President of the Association, a special memorial program took place to honor STRSEA members that passed during the last school year. I was truly touched by this program as it included honoring a person that had subbed frequently at my school the last few years. Following this program, a student from Pearl River High School was awarded a $1,000 scholarship. Then, I was asked to speak. For my speech, I reflected on the things that I have learned this year as the Louisiana Teacher of the Year. One thing that I have learned this year is to have a “teacher voice” through social media. I shared how this has made an impact on others while encouraging each attendee to share their positive stories about education on social media.
After the program, I was invited to join the STRSEA for lunch. During the meal, several members spoke to me about their concerns over possible changes in Teachers Retirement System of Louisiana. They also shared how the members of the association were working to advocate on behalf of all educators. Although my purpose for the meeting was to inspire and empower, I left the meeting feeling inspired and grateful for the advocacy efforts of STRSEA. As in “Be True to Your School” by the Beach Boys, the members of STRSEA are staying true to the schools and teachers in St. Tammany Parish. Thank you for your continued service and devotion to education!