The local Gamma Theta chapter of the Delta Kappa Gamma International Society held its last quarterly meeting of the 2010-2011 school year on Tuesday, May 28. Thirty-five of the women educator members toured Honey Lake Plantation, a local resort and spa premier destination, in Greenville, Florida. Ted Ensminger, Honey Lake Director of Sales, showed the local educators the Honey Lake lodge, the Five Pines cottages, the salon, spa, fitness center and pool, the Lakeside Pavilion, the stables and the magnificent church, complete with antique stained glass windows, overlooking the beautiful 80-acre spring-fed Honey Lake.
Gamma Theta had an extremely successful year. In April, they initiated the following six new members: Missy Cherry (Pinetta Elementary School), Kim Gurley and Delores Mabardy (Lee Elementary School), Martha Register (retired educator), Leigh Ann Browning (Madison Academy), and Shannon Curtis (Madison County Central School). MCCS Teacher of the Year Celeste Fleming, a former member of the Beta Rho chapter in Louisiana, transferred her membership to join the Gamma Theta group, and Laverne Rutherford, another retired teacher, rejoined the chapter. The Gamma Theta Madison chapter now boasts over 50 members and continues to lead the entire state in chapter growth and membership status.
In February, Gamma Theta sponsored a table at the Golden Apple Awards Banquet, sponsored by the Madison County Foundation for Excellence in Education. The Gamma Theta members in attendance were proud to recognize two of their very own as outstanding Teachers of the Year for Madison County public schools. Gamma Theta member Susan Maultsby was recognized as Lee Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year, and Celeste Fleming was recognized as the Teacher of the Year for Madison County Central School (6-8).
At the Madison County High School Baccalaureate and Awards Ceremony held on Tuesday, May 31, Derita Pinkard, Gamma Theta chapter treasurer, awarded Summer Merritt, MCHS senior, with a $500 scholarship to attend the college of her choice. Every year, Gamma Theta awards monetary scholarships to outstanding females in Madison County who declare the field of education as their college major. Summer plans to attend North Florida Community College to begin her quest to obtain a degree in English education. Summer stated, “This scholarship will help me…make a difference in the lives of students. With this scholarship I can further my education to inspire students. With this scholarship, I can attain the correct training and truly make a difference in how students view English.” Mrs. Rhonda Moore, MCHS English teacher, said, “Summer is diligent and focused and finds joy in learning. She exhibits this through her work ethic and dedication to her responsibilities. I find her to be a most refreshing and inspirational student.” Robin Hill, assistant principal, added, “Summer has demonstrated that she can overcome anything that would prevent her from attaining her dreams. Summer wants to be a teacher because she has experienced support and encouragement from her teachers. Because of those truly caring teachers and counselors, Summer has found a positive direction for her life.”
In October, the Gamma Theta ladies donated over one hundred books to the MOMS clinic in Madison. Dr. Julie Schnindler, local physician, was delighted to accept the books to distribute to her clients and their children. Gamma Theta recognizes the importance of reading and wanted to place books in the hands of mothers and their babies in the hopes of instilling a love for reading at a very young age.
The chapter also recognized the need for education in older adults as well, and because of that, the Gamma Theta educators donated school supplies to the Adult Education department of the Madison County District School Board.
Sharon French, adult education teacher and Gamma Theta member, gratefully accepted the materials on behalf of all the instructors and students.
In April, two members attended the Delta Kappa Gamma state convention held at the Orlando Airport Marriott in Orlando, Florida. Frances Sanders, former Gamma Theta president (1974-1976), and Susanne Griffin, current Gamma Theta president (2008-2012), enjoyed two days of meetings, workshops, and banquets. Throughout the weekend, several Gamma Theta members were recognized for their achievements. Members Lucile Cherry, Mildred Bruner, and Glen Baker (deceased) were honored for fifty years of active membership in the society. Susanne Griffin and Carolyn Edwards were recognized for their entries in the Betty Thornton Arts and Crafts Exhibit, and Susanne Griffin was also recognized in the Celebration Banquet’s Presentation of Presidents and for receiving the Mu State Past President’s scholarship of $2,500 and an International Scholarship of $6,000. In addition, Griffin was also asked to serve on the statewide scholarship committee for the next biennium. The final activity of the weekend was the Ceremony of Remembrance memorial service. This touching candlelight service honored all the Delta Kappa Gamma members who passed away during the last biennium. Glen Baker was named as a Gamma Theta member in District II during this remembrance ceremony. “Sissy” passed away in October 2010 and had been an active member for fifty years.
At the close of the last meeting of the year, President Griffin recognized six Gamma Theta “sisters” who are retiring this year. Joyce Bosscher, Doris Murdoch, Carroll Ryals, and Joe Ann Wiggins, retired from Madison County Central School, Kathy McCollum retired from Lee Elementary School, and Monteze Walker retired from Madison County Central School. The rest of the Gamma Theta membership applauds their service to the “ministry” of education and wishes them many happy, relaxing days of well-deserved retirement.
The Gamma Theta officers who are leading the chapter for the 2010-2012 biennium are Susanne Griffin, president; Dianne Phillips, 1st vice president; Joyce Bosscher, 2nd vice president; Derita Pinkard, treasurer; Mariann Hutto, recording secretary; Debbie Christ, corresponding secretary; and Carroll Ryals, parliamentarian.