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December 17, 2021

UNIT SPOTLIGHT: Ascension RTA

Ascension RTA President Donald Songy presents at their local Unit meeting.

We all started somewhere. Retired teachers can identify with college students studying and completing their education to become teachers. They understand the emotions and some of the challenges college students overcome to earn their degrees and get started in the classroom. Though many things have changed for aspiring teachers over the years. The Ascension Retired Teachers Association has formed a service project aimed at bringing some relief to education majors nearing the end of their college programs.

Previously, Ascension RTA gave scholarships to high school seniors pursuing a college degree in education. Over time, Ascension RTA recognized the requirements have changed for students majoring in education. “Student teachers used to teach for one semester. Now, they have to teach a full year,” Ascension RTA Donald Songy explains. “They’re working full time, which doesn’t allow them to take another job.”

As a way to help these students, Ascension RTA converted their scholarship fund to an intern grant fund. Each year they award $500 stipends to student teachers currently interning in Ascension Parish Schools. The number of stipends they distribute has grown as the intern grant fund has grown.

Along with the annual membership dues reminder, Ascension RTA includes an appeal for members to donate additionally to the intern grant fund. Thanks to the generosity of its members, Ascension RTA has had the ability to award multiple stipends each year. Not only are the grants an excellent way to help aspiring teachers, but Songy also sees a dual purpose for the grants.

“We wanted to reward someone who has been through the process of becoming a teacher,” Songy says. “And, we hope this will encourage them to come back and teach in Ascension Parish when they graduate.”

On October 20, Ascension RTA awarded six grants to student teachers. Pictured below are Donald Songy and Ascension RTA secretary Iva Tullier with the student teachers.

For more information about Ascension RTA, contact Unit President Donald Songy at (225) 323-3921.

Interested in joining your local Unit? Click here to find a retired educator community near you.

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