Retired teachers group honors women, organizations

Published on Monday, 14 July 2014 20:16 - Written by Staff Reports

The Smith County Retired Teachers and School Personnel Association recently recognized several women and organization achievements at its annual banquet.

Retired school counselor Barbara Gilbreath was honored as the 2013 Volunteer of the Year. She received roses and a certificate of recognition.

Her 3,199 hours of volunteer work include service to Gateway to Hope Tyler, a day resource center that she helped establish and continues to maintain for Tyler’s homeless population, according to an association news release. 

Mrs. Gilbreath also volunteers at Bethesda Health Clinic, helps a 94-year-old, edits curriculum and counsels homeless people.

Her volunteer hours combined with the rest of the association members totaled more than 76,850 for 2013.

In addition to the volunteer award, the association also presented Madison Draehn, education major at The University of Texas at Tyler, with its $1,000 scholarship for her senior year. 

Miss Draehn scored a 1600 on the SAT, earned all A's throughout college, and was described as a person of exemplary character. 

“She is the top of the top in every way — character, integrity, academic — just a wonderful example,” said Dr. Syntha West, the association’s scholarship chairwoman.

The association annually awards its scholarship to a senior education major at UT Tyler or Texas College.

In other business, the organization's Children's Book Project committee was recognized for its book donations to Smith County school students. 

Last year, the organization donated 1,369 books to students at Chapel Hill ISD’s Jackson and Wise elementary schools and Kissam Intermediate School.

In March, students from Winona Elementary and Winona Intermediate schools received books. Association members Deanna Olson, Lynn Fisher, and Mary Delaney gave 468 books to all kindergarten through fifth-grade students. 

In May, the association gave an additional 100 books to Winona Junior High and Winona High School for those students.