The Vermilion branch of ARTA received its charter in 1975, and a number of Wainwright area teachers attended its functions. On September 9, 1982, Nancy Ryall had a coffee party where the idea of forming their own branch was proposed. Twenty-five retired teachers attended an organizational meeting on December 9 in the Grace United Church hall. Elected to office were Marie Valleau (President), Washburn Laird (Vice-President), Nancy Ryall (Secretary-Treasurer) and Mildred Hughes (Program Convener).

A committee was appointed to draft bylaws for the Wainwright Retired Teachers’ Association (WRTA). Fees were set at two dollars per member and one dollar per associate member per year. Meetings were to be held on a rotating basis in Irma, Wainwright, Edgerton and Chauvin. The boundaries of the Wainwright School Division were designated as the boundaries of WRTA.

The ARTA provincial executive accepted the proposed bylaws on October 26, 1983, and the charter was issued. Charter members were Edythe Allen, Cynthia Ballentine, Muriel Bazley, Irene Cargill, Heathy Challenger, Phyllis Craig, Orrell Darling, Alma Enger, Marjorie Fischer, Claire Folkins, Jerry Gregorash, Donald Gunn, Elsie Harris, Jean O. Herbert, Ione Hetterington, Mildred Hughes, Eva Koch, Washburn Laird, John Mitchell, Emmy Nysetvold, Eleanor Perry, Louissa Prosser, Mildred Reinhart, Nancy Ryall, John Taylor, Doreen Treffry, Marie Valleau, Mary Whitby and Phyllis Worall. Phyllis Craig and Eleanor Perry of the original twenty-five are still members of the association. The association appreciates their contribution over the years.

Those holding the position of president or secretary-treasurer over the years include Maria Valleau, Washburn Laird, Doreen Treffry, Mildred Rheinhart, Eleanor Perry, Jack MacDonald, Louissa Prosser, Elsie McRoberts, Maxine Pugh, Rose MacDonald, Nancy Ryall, Phyllis Craig, Eva Ho, Allen Ford, and Erika Foley.

The branch has made a significant contribution to the provincial executive and pension committees, for example, Washburn Laird was ARTA president in 1991 and 1992. The branch has also recorded the histories of the rural and town schools within the division in the book Little Schools in the Parkland, a project begun by Doreen Treffry.

Activities have included bus trips organized for branch members and others in the community, joint June meetings at the Battle River Mini Park for the Vermilion and Wainwright branches, and four meetings held each year that include a To Hell With the Bell Breakfast in August and a Christmas luncheon in December. In recent years WRTA has been supplying the luncheon for two of the monthly Farmers’ Markets, a form of revenue for the organization. As WRTA approaches its 30th anniversary in 2013, a special bus trip is being planned for the members as well as seniors in the community.

WRTA is proud to be part of ARTA and is happy with the direction it is going. We wish ARTA congratulations on fifty years of service to retired teachers.