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Mayor signs proclamation

Pictured, from left, are Madison County Retired School Personnel Secretary Kathy Stearley, Vice President Audrey Unruh, Fredericktown Mayor Kelly Korokis, MCRSP President Kim Steska and Treasurer Alice Macke proclaim June 12 Retired Educators Day. Not pictured is Marquand Mayor Edwin Kennon. 

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Madison County Retired School Personnel organization.

MCRSP is a local unit under Missouri Retired Teachers Association (MRTA) made up of retired school personnel from Marquand-Zion R-VI and Fredericktown R-I School Districts. 

As a way to honor MCRSP and MRTA for their service to local and state educational endeavors Mayor of Fredericktown Kelley Korokis and Mayor of Marquand Edwin Kennon signed a proclamation declaring Retired Educators Day, June 12.

MCRSP President Kim Steska described MRTA and how it succeeds with the help of more than 150 local units like MCRSP.

"MRTA is a not-for-profit organization that was organized in 1960 to work through a grassroots approach with its membership to lobby on behalf of the Missouri public education retiree," Steska said. "Even though the initials of the organization indicate that it serves retired teachers, it is an association of certified and noncertified education retirees in Missouri that now number over 27,000."

Steska said over the years the relationship between the statewide and the local units has become very bi-directional.

"They need us to spread the word about what they do and to increase membership, and we need them because they work with government for the beneficial legislation where public education is concerned," Steska said. "They preserve and protect our retirement benefits and they educate legislators on retiree issues."

Steska said MCRSP membership includes not only former classroom teachers, but classroom aids, secretaries, custodians, nurses, bus drivers and administrators.

"I believe that anyone who works in public education will tell you that a school is a community within itself, and it takes everyone to make it run smoothly and achieve its ultimate goal, which is the success of each student, measured on many levels," Steska said. "In retirement, we are still a community of educators, working to give back to the people and the towns that supported our efforts through the years to help our students."

MCRSP works hard every year to support the Madison County Chamber of Commerce, the Azalea Festival, Feed the Families Fundraiser, local food pantries, the Ronald McDonald House, Red Cross Blood Drives and many other community service projects and businesses. The group  holds one major fundraiser, a chili supper, the first Friday of March where it raises the funds for the scholarships given out each year.

"I don't think it's a far stretch to say that everyone's life is in some way positively affected by public education," Steska said. "Our hope is that as others see us continuing to work in retirement, 'to serve, not to be served' (MRTA motto), that we will be supported in our efforts."

All retirees can join MCRSP for $5 annually and all public school employees, both current and retired, can join MRTA for $35 annually.

Steska said she asks all retirees to join the local association and all public employees both current and retired to join MRTA as a way to support a dedicated group of people who are working diligently for the future of public education.

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Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Democrat News. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at vkemper@democratnewsonline.com

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