An organization that has been around since 1972 has seen remarkable growth in the current school year. The Bulloch Retired Educators Association (BREA) grew from 30 members back in the fall of 2019 to 122 members currently on roll. BREA numbers have fluctuated over the years and peaked at 161 at one point, but then dwindled to less members recently.
An active membership committee, consisting of Sarah Hines, Becky Renfroe, Johnny Tremble, Cherry Brewton and Meralyn Smith, made it their mission to seek out other retired educators to join the organization.
According to the BREA handbook, members of the Bulloch Retired Educators Association “are retired teachers, principals, librarians, college professors and other educators from Georgia education agencies who draw their pensions from the Georgia Teacher Retirement System (TRS).”
BREA falls under the umbrella of GREA – the Georgia Retired Educators Association. BREA members are encouraged to join GREA, also, to support GREA’s work with TRS and the state legislature to protect pensions and health benefits.
BREA meets six times a year, five at Pittman Park United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall and December in a school. The luncheon meeting offers a program of interest at each gathering.
At the March meeting, musicians Maurice Hill and David Sharpe serenaded the educators with songs picked out especially for the gathering, with titles like “You Are So Beautiful,” “Thank You” and “Georgia On My Mind.” Hill also sang the song, “Reach Out and Touch,” with phrases that included “Make this world a better place,” “Try a little kindness” and “We can change things.”
Hill paused long enough to call the names of some of his former teachers in attendance.
“I remember those typing classes,” Hill said. “A teacher always has high hopes for their students.” With a smile before singing another tune, Hill said, “Mrs. Clifton, I was never good in math. But to all those who have paved the way, I’m thankful for our educators.”
BREA President Gwen Yarbrough called the meeting to order, and Priscilla Clifton shared a meditation. Johnny Tremble led the pledge to the American flag. Corporal John Clark, Statesboro Police Department, and Lakeidra Lee, executive director of the Teal House, spoke on community issues and the importance of teachers and educators.
For more information about BREA, call Cherry Brewton at 912-687-1544.