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President Patsy Moore wants to encourage any retired teacher from Coffee County to join the Coffee County Retired Teachers Association. Pictured in front from left are Sandra Weiten, a new member of CCRTA, and Mary Camp, also a retired teacher. Standing in back is CCRTA Membership Chair Betty West.

Teachers who retire from any of the three Coffee County school districts don’t have to completely give up loving education and public schools.

While many take some time for themselves, once that much-needed break is over, they have a place to go for fellowship with friends and neighbors: the Coffee County Retired Teachers Association.

According to President Patsy Moore, a Tullahoma City Schools retiree, she wants to let all those newly and not-so-newly retired teachers in the county know they are welcome to join the club for fellowship and scholarship.

“We’re very excited about trying to get the word out,” Moore said in an interview. While several retired teachers from the county’s three school systems join together quarterly to discuss how best to assist public schools, she’d like more people to know just how active the group is.

“We give scholarships to people who are graduating high school who want to be a teacher,” she said.

This year, for instance, CCRTA gave out four scholarships to students from Tullahoma High School and Coffee County Central High School who were looking to go into the field of education.

“That is a good number,” she said.

It was also more scholarships than CCRTA had previously been able to give, which was exciting for Moore.

The scholarship committee is one of the most important aspects of CCRTA, Moore said.

“Part of it is fellowship, but scholarship is the main thing,” she said of the group.

According to Moore, CCRTA was formed in 1969, meaning the group is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

In addition to the fellowship and scholarship, Moore said the group is also a member of the Tennessee Education Association and the National Education Association, two lobbying groups that support public schools.

“Since we’re a member of TEA and NEA, that is where we would be supporting the teachers and also people who are running for the offices that would by supporting the teachers,” she said. “It’s legislative sort of, and political, yes. We would be supporting the things that help the ones who cannot go to private school. We would be supporting those measures that they’re fighting for, because we feel like public schools helps everybody and makes the world a better place.”

And any teacher who retired from a Coffee County school system is welcome to join.

Meetings take place quarterly at the Manchester Coffee County Conference Center, Moore said, where the group has a “short business meeting,” followed by a meal and some entertainment. Sometimes the group highlights a teacher who’d made an impact in their members’ lives, while other times they had music playing.

“If somebody wants to come, and they’re a retired teacher, they’re welcome to come,” she said. “They don’t have to be a member. It’s sort of like church: just show up.”

Those retired teachers in Coffee County who wish to join CCRTA are encouraged to contact Moore at 931-308-3190.

“We’re very excited about trying to get the word out,” she said. “We need you. We will find you, but maybe you can find us.”

Erin McCullough may be reached at emccullough@tullahomanews.com.