Retired teachers groups gather for fall meeting _lowres

Photo provided by Mico Cooper -- Members and officers of the Louisiana Retired Teachers Association met in East Feliciana Parish for the Baton Rouge District’s annual fall meeting, Oct. 5. The group welcomed guest student and guest speaker, Mika Cooper, 16, of West Feliciana High. Beth Dawson, member, LRTA; Rodney Watson, executive director, LRTA; Cooper; and Janis Hernandez, president, LRTA, District IV.

The East Feliciana Retired Teachers Association hosted the Baton Rouge Retired Teachers Association for its fall district meeting Oct. 5 at Jackson United Methodist Church.

Both associations are part of the Louisiana Retired Teachers Association. Everyone was treated to breakfast, lunch, door prizes, poetry readings and other activities in the church’s social hall.

East Feliciana RTA President Sonja Terrell opened the meeting; the Rev. Joy Comeaux, pastor of Jackson United Methodist, offered the invocation; Jackson Councilman Jim Parker, a veteran, led the groups in the Pledge of Allegiance; and East Feliciana schools Superintendent Carlos Sam greeted the group.

East Feliciana School Board member Beth Dawson, a retired East Feliciana Parish teacher, introduced West Feliciana High School student Mika Cooper, 16, as the guest speaker.

“Alphabet building blocks are tools used for learning, and as parents, grandparents and teachers, you provide the foundations we build our lives upon. Alphabets and numbers are vital tools in our society, and you should consider yourselves one of these valuable building blocks,” said Cooper. “A virtuous teacher can build a student’s self-esteem, academic ability, strengthen confidence and offer encouragement. Each of you have been fundamental in the development of someone’s life.”

A native of Little Rock, Arkansas, and resident of Bains, Cooper is active in various sports and extracurricular activities, including cheerleading, cross-country, track, volleyball, Students Against Destructive Decisions, the Baton Rouge Youth Coalition and Beta and Interact clubs.

East Feliciana RTA member Effie Sharkey Dawson, 94, was honored with a certificate of recognition and bouquet of yellow roses for being the oldest member in attendance, while Willie Honeywood Smith, 95, was honored as the oldest attending member from the Educators of Yesteryear RTA of Baton Rouge.

A memorial service at the conclusion of the meeting featured the retired teachers lighting candles for colleagues who have died during the past year.