Twenty-second 80+ Luncheon for RTO and RWTO Members draws appreciative crowd
In 1994-95, Barbara Clarke, former Music Consultant with the Ottawa Board of Education and then President of RTO/ERO, organized the first 80+ Reception at the Heron Road Community Centre. Fifteen members were in attendance.
This year more than one hundred and forty persons (100 members accompanied by more than 40 guests were present). Goodwill Chair Pauline Trudel sent 940 invitations to members who are more than 80 years of age. Who knows, we may have up to 200 guests next year. Thank you Pauline and Ray Ball for being such good organizers.
Guests were greeted by Board of Directors members and volunteers who accompanied them to their table where they were served with an aperitif to the sound of easy listening music by pianist Jacques Giroux. After words of welcome and presentations by President Roger Lalonde and 1st Vice President Terry Craig and the singing of the Grace lead by Aurore Trahan a copious luncheon was served compliments of RTO/ERO District 27.
After dessert, Roger Aubrey on behalf of all the invited guests conveyed sincere thanks to the organizers. To the applause of the assembly and in a festive ambiance, Past President Norbert Boudreau took photos of the eleven members over the age of 90 of which seven were over 95 years old. One of the most appreciated moment is the presentation of a beautiful flower arrangement to all present as they left the Centre.
Many were most appreciative of being invited to this reception in their honour; some took the time to write thank you notes like the one below:
Over 100 RTO and RWTO members 80 years and over attend 2103 District 27 Luncheon
Anyone who still holds the idea the teachers, particularly retired teachers, must be a very staid group indeed, would be amazed at the laughter and animated conversation which echoed into the hallway as the attendees gathered. Many ran into former colleagues whom they hadn’t see for years, and a lot of memories were shared. Listing the names on the programme of those expected to attend seemed to be very popular, as people were able to look for old friends while they were there.
Younger RTO and RWTO members are often surprised to learn that this very popular event draws over 100 guests each year. They are even more surprised when they hear that almost 800 invitations are sent out annually to local 80+ members. Unfortunately some of the recipients are unable to attend due to poor health, but a good many more are unable to attend because of a conflict in their social calendar. “I’ll be there next year.” is the response from many when they phone in their regrets.
The 80+ event began as a Tea for RWTO members approximately 25 years ago. Several years later RTO members were included, and the event has grown and evolved since then. At first it was held at the Seniors’ Centre on Heron Road, and for a number of years more recently it was held in the library at Immaculata High School. This location is now too small for such a successful event. At Immaculata, the students’ lunch period meant that it had been held in the early afternoon. However many guests felt that the timing, being so close to the noon hour, didn’t allow them to fully enjoy the refreshments. Moving to the Centurion allowed the event to become a luncheon, and from all appearances, the refreshments really were enjoyed by all. As always, Centurion staff members were very helpful to the guests and the location,with the absence of stairs and plenty of parking, is ideal.
The 80+ event has become one of the most popular on both the RTO and RWTO yearly calendars. It is usually held in mid-October, often in the week following Thanksgiving.
District 27's 80+ Luncheon for RTO and RWTO Members draws largest crowd yet
This 80+ reception has been taking place for over 25 years, and, following 2011’s combined event with RTO’s fortieth birthday celebration, this year it reverted to its more traditional format. The change of location from Immaculata High School was necessitated by much larger numbers, but it enabled a luncheon to be held instead of the usual afternoon tea.
Compliments on the quality and the freshness of the food and also on the extremely accommodating Centurion staff were many.
Old friendships were renewed, and new ones were made. Viola Scrim at 95 was the oldest retired teacher in attendance, and Marion Michel was the youngest official 80+ member, as she celebrated her 80th birthday on the day of the event.
All in all, it was a huge success, and many attendees are already making plans to return next year.
District 27 honours 90+ members at 2012 Luncheon
Featured as one of our "Senior-Seniors" at last year's combined 40th Anniversary and 80+ Luncheon, District 27 has lost a valued member in Isabel Ward.
During a stint in the RCAF in World War II, Isabel achieved the rank of NCO at Rockliffe Air Base. Following this, she turned to a career in teaching at Rivercrest School in Renfrew County. Later, she accepted teaching assignments with DND in Soest and Lahr in Germany. In 1963, she was appointed principal of General Lake Public School in Petawawa. In the summer of 1968, she was on a Project Overseas team, teaching in Tanzania, for the Canadian Teachers' Federation.
In 1971-72, Isabel served as President of the Federation of Women Teachers' Associations of Ontario and, in 1974-75, as President of the Ontario Teachers' Federation. In 1984-85, she became President of the Ottawa-Carleton district of the Retired Teachers of Ontario.
On her 85th birthday in October, 2000, Isabel received The Governor General's Citation for exemplary service to the community and country in the fields of education and arts. In 2011, Isabel's memories of the Ottawa Little Theatre were captured in a TV interview.
In the words used at her funeral by her friend Michael, "You had a marvellous life, Isabel. Bravo!"