August 28, 2019

2018-2019 Year in Review

St. Albert and Area Retired Teachers’ Association Annual Report

Being Co-Presidents of STARTA for the 2018-2019 year has been quite a learning curve for both of us but we have enjoyed the journey.  Our executive has been extremely supportive, working hard to make the STARTA experience a satisfying one for our members.  They have provided good leadership through their enthusiasm to embrace new ideas and make sound decisions.

It was wonderful to be back at the Sturgeon Valley Golf and Country Club for our activities. Besides being a beautiful venue, the staff was welcoming and accommodating. Our monthly breakfast meetings were well attended, although we did encounter a problem at our February breakfast.  Executive and non-executive members gave freely of their time to make our meetings welcoming and efficient by phoning before the meetings, manning the registration desk, providing name tags, providing table centrepieces, asking the blessing, leading O Canada and directing the meeting. Each meeting we held draws for baskets prepared by our co-president.  We ended the year with an evening barbeque and AGM.  STARTA members paid the cost of their meals, and non-members were charged $5 extra.

Our greatest challenge for the year was how to predict attendance at our meetings.  Even though our phoners contacted everyone before the meeting, we had some difficulty with actual numbers attending each breakfast. This led to pre-selling the barbeque tickets and suspect this may have led to a decline in attendance at that event. We continue to look for a solution to this challenge.

One of the highlights for the co-presidents this year included presenting “beginning teachers’ baskets” to four first-year teachers; two chosen by the St. Albert Public school district and two from the Catholic school district. We also presented at an ATA sponsored retirement seminar (our ARTA reps were unavailable that day), manned the ARTA booth at the North Central Teachers’ Convention and attended the ARTA General meeting and Board of Directors’ meetings, as well as the ARTA retreat.

Our Past Presidents took an active role in the year’s activities.  Their advice and support were invaluable during this first year of our presidency.  Not only did they keep the new co-presidents on track, but took on projects of their own, including stepping in to prepare our monthly Bulletin and arranging activities. They are currently organizing “Lively Living”, a wellness conference for retirees scheduled for November 21, 2019, supported in part by a Wellness Grant from ARTA.

Our historian took pictures at all our activities and kept the annual Archives binder containing the photos and bulletins.  A slide show of the pictures from the year was presented at the AGM barbeque to the delight of everyone there.

The STARTA choir performed at local seniors’ facilities during the year and at STARTA breakfasts in November and December.  Other activities available to STARTA members included an evening at the local dinner theatre, a trip to the Royal Alberta Museum, an evening to see Abbra Cadabra at the Horizon Stage in Spruce Grove, the annual STARTA picnic, and a trip to the races at the new facility.

Our ARTA Representatives made a presentation too soon to be retired teachers from the St. Albert Catholic School Board. Information was presented informing the participants about ARTA and in particular about the ARTA benefits plan. They also were able to speak about STARTA and the benefits of joining our branch such as the free membership for the first year after retirement and the activities that occur in STARTA.

Our Program Committee provided great programs which were well received by the membership.  They appreciated the support and guidance from the previous convenors.

The 2018-2019 speakers are outlined below:

September Swell No Bell Coffee Gathering and Table Talk
October Friendship Force presenters Carole Bahry and Barb Olynyk with remarks on the school in Burundi
November Speaker Captain (N) Carman McNary. “What Remembrance Day Means to Me”, with remarks as well about veterans of the past and today.
December Josh Classen, meteorologist
January comedian Tim Kubasek “The Nervous Comedian”
February lawyer Stacy Maurier on Estates and Wills
March RCMP presentation on safety, internet security and fraud/scams with Cst Trung Tan and A/Cst Shelly Ullery.
April Physiotherapist Heidi Fedoruk, with remarks on pain control, fall prevention, arthritis, exercises for seniors Book Sale
May AGM and Barbecue


We held two fundraisers this year in the form of used book sales in November and April. Our silent auction will be held again next year. These add to the funds collected for memberships and the non-member charge on meals.

Following the AGM in May of 2018, the Communications position was empty. David Flower had stepped down after many, many years of writing and editing a fabulous monthly Newsletter for STARTA. After scrambling for a few months, our past president took over the role of editor on a temporary basis.

Two executive members worked with ARTA this year to set up am ARTA Branch website. We look forward to the inclusion of pictures, history, events, bulletins, and useful information about STARTA as the website develops.

We would like to thank the district office staff of St. Albert Public Schools for making available a room to hold our monthly executive meetings.

Respectfully submitted,

Debbie Kelley and Marian Oberg

Co-presidents STARTA