A resolution to form a branch of the RTA in School District 59 was passed. An executive was elected, consisting of Gerry Clare [President], Walter Schoen [Secretary-Treasurer] and Laurel David [Phoning Chairperson].
From the Peace River Block Daily News, Friday, May 29, 1998: By Cees Mond
A teacher never really retires, so prove the 25 members of the Peace River South branch of the BC Retired Teachers’ Association (BCRTA).
Established in 1996, the young organization has adopted the interior of the Pouce Coupe Central school at Pioneer Village and is now in the process of decorating the school with textbooks that are out of date and other artifacts that have no use in a modern classroom.
Once that is don, the 25 teachers, many of whom have taught in Peace area classrooms for several decades, want to keep the school open as a living museum by teaching visiting classes of children.
“We’re going to develop a little museum in there for education in the Peace River South area, said Gerry Clare, president of the South Peace branch.
It was Clare’s idea to start the Peace River South branch as one of the 32 branches in the province. Clare retired in 1995, after 28 years of teaching at South Peace Secondary School following six years at Central.
Teachers, he said, are a social lot and once retired they may want to stay in touch with their colleagues.
“It’s mostly to keep in touch with their friends they worked with for so many years, ” he said. Also, when a retired teacher moves to another community, joining the local branch of the BCRTA can get the person new contacts with similar interests.
Laurel David, communications director, said it’s also a great tool for teachers to keep abreast of the latest in pension legislation for teachers. However, Clare said, the group is not political and there’s no direct connection with the teachers’ association, “though we work with them.”
The group has several social meetings per year. A summer outing last year saw the members do a tour of the Quintette mine in Tumbler Ridge. This summer, there’s a trip to Dunvegan on the program.
Most popular is the annual champagne breakfast, which is dubbed: To Hell With the Bell. It is held sometime in early September [on the day when] teachers are heading back to their classes.
“We had it on my patio last September,” Clare said. “We raised a glass in the direction of the school we last worked in — and wished them well.”
With their hearts in education, it is no wonder the Pouce Coupe Central School, which once stood proudly at the north end of McQueen Lake, was adopted as the group’s long-term project. Clare said it will be a museum with artifacts that depict many aspects of education since about 1920.