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Retired educators learn a thing or two about grave markers


The Boone/Newton County Retired Teachers and Support Staff Association met Tuesday, May 7, 2024, at Western Sizzlin' in Harrison, Arkansas, at 11:30 AM. The meeting was called to order by President Lisa Bailey, who welcomed the members and guests. Beverly Bear led the Invocation, and Wilma Finney led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Lisa Bailey introduced Abby Burnett who presented a program entitled “Unusal Tombstones.” She spoke of the various symbols that were placed on older tombstones that give clues to the personality of the person being memorialized. These tombstones are sometimes unintenionally humorous and less staid than modern tombstones. Abby is the author of “Gone to the Grave, 1850-1950,” which pictures and describes the tombstones she has discovered in this region of the state.
Following Ms. Burnett's presentation, President Bailey called the business meeting to order. The mintues of the last meeting were approved as presented. Treasurer Linda Mathis reported that there are 41 paid memberships and reported the current balance. A check for $1,000.00 was given to Jane Adair, Scholarship Committee Chair, to be used for the two scholarships to North Arkansas Community College that were approved at the April meeting.
Wilma Finney, Historian, reported that all newspaper articles related to the organization from 2015-2023 have been collected. Lisa Bailey has offered the use of her scanner to create the digital archive for these materials. Members can submit materials for the archive by emailing them to boonenewtoncounty@gmail.com.
Community Services/Public Relations Chair, Amy Young, collected the members' community service hours for inclusion in the report to the state organization and asked anyone who had not already submitted them to text them to her at 870-204-1670 or email to ameliaY951@gmail.com. Requirements for these hours can be found on page 9 of the yearbook and the reporting period runs from July 1, 2023-June 30, 2024. Reports should specify the number of youth and adult hours and include a total of all hours. May and June hours may be estimated.

Scholarship Committe Chair, Jane Adair, reported that BNCRTSS is awarding two $500.00 scholarships for fall 2024. One recipient is Laini Block, a 2024 Alpena High School graduate who plans to attend North Arkansas College and then transfer to Arkansas Tech University with the goal of becoming an elementary teacher. The other is Espin Daniels, a 2024 Jasper High School graduate who plans to attend North Arkansas College with the goal of becoming a world history teacher and basketball coach.
Lisa Bailey reminded everyone the Boone County Friends of the Library is looking for volunteers to tutor adults in preparation for their GED. Interested persons can contact Amy Roberts at North Arkansas College, 870-391-3198. Area 7 is still looking for a co-director for the retired teachers association. Signatures are still being gathered to amend the Learns Act to require all recipients of school funding to adhere to the same criteria as the public schools. Signatures must be submitted by July 5th.
Under new business, Lynn Holmes moved that BNCRTSS host the Area 7 meeting next spring and Linda Mathis seconded the motion. All in attendance voted to hold the meeting. Charles Adair said perhaps the First Christian Church would be a possible meeting place. Ellen Corely reported on a Public Hearing set for May 22nd to discuss the School Voucher Draft Rules and provided information from an article in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette regarding this hearing. Marti Olsen made a motion for Ellen Corely to create a letter to post on the Arkansas Public School Employees and Friends Facebook and the Arkansas for Students and Educators Facebook pages expressing our group's concerns about the draft rules. Charles Adair seconded the motion. It was also suggested that as many people who wish to should also write individual comments.
Lisa Bailey said she would take the books brought to the meeting to the Pediatric Clinic. She said anyone else who was interested in donating to please email her at boonenewtoncounty@gmail.com. She also announced that the children’s book sale at the Boone County Library will be May 10-11 and that the ARTA State Convention is Tuesday, May 14, in Benton. President Bailey and Beverly Bear will be attending. The next meeting of the BNCRTSS will be September 3rd at Western Sizzlin. President Bailey will be emailing everyone to let them know when we will be greeting students and staff with the Back to School banner.
Area ARTRS retirees, certified and non-certified, may send $15 dues to Linda Mathis, treasurer, 1382 Old Bellefonte Road, Harrison, AR 72601, or pay at any monthly luncheon. To join the Arkansas Retired Teachers Association, visit https://www.artanow.com.