“Congratulations, we’re 50 years old and we don’t look a day younger,” president Harriet Parcher told the group Thursday.
The association was organized Feb. 17, 1968 at the Huron County Education Department in New London with 35 charter members. Five years later, the membership had grown to 65.
Currently with 152 members, the group includes educators from Monroeville, New London, South Central, Western Reserve, Bellevue, Norwalk and Willard.
Max Friend, who retired in 1979 after six years as the Western Reserve High School principal, said the HCRTA allows him to keep up with “a lot of teachers in Western Reserve.” He spent 14 years teaching industrial arts in Galion.
“I was what’s called the secondary superintendent in Erie County before (Western),” said Friend, who served in the U.S. Navy for 2 1/2 years.
Of the 65 retirees who attended Thursday’s celebration and meeting at Collins United Methodist Church, Friend had been retired the longest.
Noting that “the important thing is I missed the kids,” Friend said while teaching industrial arts he learned there were students who had a lot of skill, but not much ambition.
“We had good kids at Western. We had some bad apples, but we were able to treat them right,” he added.
Helen Payne, 95, was the oldest person at Thursday’s celebration. In fact, she taught five or six of those retired teachers. For 33 years, Payne taught “physical education for girls,” health, driver’s education and social studies.
Having retired in 1986 from Monroeville Local Schools, she remembered when the HCRTA was being formed.
“It was quite a job, but we had fun doing it,” she said.
The purposes of the association include education, entertainment and service. In 2017, members logged about 7,630 hours of community volunteer work and set a goal of 8,000 hours this year.
Parcher said HCRTA members keep aware of teacher-related legislation and attend monthly meetings to stay updated on what’s going on with the retirement system.
“Working with HCRTA gives us a bigger voice,” she added. “Teachers like to be in the know.”
Linda Walker, who retired in 2007 after teaching in Bellevue City Schools for 36 years, called herself “one of the younger ones” in the association.
“I taught third grade for 10 years and then I taught first grade for 26 — and loved it,” she said.
When she was first hired, Walker wanted to be a first-grade teacher. However, she said the Bellevue superintendent told her she needed more experience first because “there are so many important things they had to learn” right after kindergarten.
“I loved when the learning clicked and they took off. You could see when they had all the components and could do it independently,” Walker said. “I thought the teachers’ association was important when I was teaching. … I still have friends who teach and I want to be aware of what’s being pushed on them.”
The HCRTA meets on the second Thursday in March, May, October and December.
“Any Huron County retired teacher is always welcome to join our group,” said Parcher, who can be reached at 419-663-1542.
In June, the association has an “excursion,” which includes a Victorian breakfast at the Wright Mansion at Historic Lyme Village in Bellevue. Afterward is a tour of the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums in Fremont.
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Teachers receive red rose
COLLINS — The Huron County Retired Teachers’ Association honored nearly 30 educators Thursday when the organization celebrated its 50th anniversary.
These teachers, who retired prior to 2000, each received a red rose. Their names, the school districts where they worked and their year of retirement are:
James Beck (Willard, 1995)
Jan Bell (Willard, 1985)
Robert Brown (Willard, 1995)
Ruth Brown (Willard, 1997)
Peggy Case (Willard, 1997)
Bernice Clevenger (South Central, 1990)
Nancy Eden (Willard, 1999)
Evelyn Ferguson (Bellevue, 1990)
Max Friend (Western Reserve, 1979)
Ruth Griffin (Willard, 1996)
Frances Johnson (Willard, 1997)
Kay Kersey (Norwalk, 1995)
Robert Knoll (New London, 1998)
Harriet Parcher (Huron County Educational Service Center, now called North Point ESC, 1999)
Helen Payne (Monroeville, 1986)
Maxine Robinson (Willard, 1999)
Norma Robson (Western Reserve, 1995)
Thomas Robson (Western Reserve, 1992)
Cheryl Roshon (New London, 1999)
Joyce Schaefer (Sandusky, 1995)
Bonnie Scheerer (Western Reserve, 1990)
John Schick (Norwalk, 1998)
Martha Shafer (Western Reserve, 1990)
Linda Shibley (Monroeville, 1996)
Barbara Smith (Bellevue, 1995)
James Van Sickle (New London, 1995)
June Zweidinger (Willard, 1991)