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President's Column October-December 2013



An anecdote is told that Ernest Hemingway was challenged to write a short story in six words.  He won the bet by writing, “For sale:  baby shoes.  Never worn.” 

In 2006,  Smith Magazine followed up on this idea by having a six word memoirs project asking readers to tell their life stories.  And more recently, Michele Norris began The Race-Card Project asking people to share their experiences with race or cultural experiences in six words.

That  made me wonder if I would be able to describe our past year in six words.  The answer is “Absolutely!”  My six words are “We work together.  We achieve together.”  Look at some things we have done this year:

FEA-Retired was the host state at the NEA-R Organizing Conference . Through donations from both active and retired locals, individual members and businesses, we were able to provide gifts to every delegate each day.

Our membership numbers have continued to grow this year  not only in most of our locals, but we have added new members to our family.  We welcomed Clay, Flagler and Hernando as new locals and St. Johns and Pasco as reactivated locals.   

The M.O.R.E. program (Mobilize, Organize, Recruit, and Engage) with Todd Crenshaw is a pilot program that will be a big boost to us.  The Idea is that MORE will connect us with education retirees from other states who now reside in Florida. 

Our visibility has increased tremendously this year. Five retirees were elected to Minority seats for the FEA Governance Board.  Several members were elected to the FLARA board as well as a member being elected to the NEA-R Resolutions Committee and another being elected as an alternate.  We have at least one FEA-R member representing us on each of the FEA Standing Committees. Nine of our retired locals received $800 grants from AFT.

None of these could have been accomplished without our working together, communicating with each other, and sharing ideas.

We are now beginning a new year.  What is ahead for us?

Politics and elections will play an important part is our activities.  It is important that we support candidates and issues that will help us.  We are an important voice in our local, state and national politics. 

We will be starting new retiree locals and increasing the number of members in each of our locals. 

The MORE program will depend on our enthusiasm, energy and excitement  to help us reach our goals.

We will be continuing our mentoring program at UCF and hope to expand it to other campuses in the future.  Our expertise and experience will be a great benefit to future educators

We want to unite retired members with student FEA members.  At the NEA Representative Assembly, the two groups met at Outreach to Teach where we worked at an elementary school in the Atlanta projects.  We had so much fun being together that we would like to continue this relationship. Mark the date:  February 9!  That is when we will be doing a Florida Outreach to Teach.  Watch for further details

As we move into another year with FEA-R, we can look ahead with pride in what we have accomplished and the knowledge that what we do benefits those around us.  A quotation says “Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.”  Let us remember that because, as we have seen, “We work together.  We achieve together.”