Rae Saulino
OCREA President

Greetings everyone!  Fall is here and so are the myriad holidays that seem to all arrive when we least expect them.  Although we know that happens each year, we never seem to plan ahead and wake up one day and begin to panic as we haven’t finished shopping, preparing traditional foods and checking in with family and good friends.  I don’t know ‘why’ but it seems that each day doesn’t have enough hours.

This year we have an added pressure: the Pandemic that we’ve lived with for the past several months. Although experts seem to disagree as to when the impact was felt in New Jersey, I can only base it according to OCREA’scalendar.  We last met as a group in March for the wonderful luncheon planned by Janice Sovinee along with her assistant Frank Sovinee.  Maryann Tomborello had to cancel several trips planned for members and, thankfully, all deposits were returned to the travelers. Edithe Fulton received Scholarship Applications from graduating senior students who applied for OCREA’sscholarships and the mission was accomplished by way of phone calls and emails to select the recipients.

NJEA/NJREAadvised that everything would be on hold: we couldn’t assemble as a group or conduct any OCREAbusiness in person.  Okay, what do good educators do?  You know the drill.  We enacted Plan B in spite of not having a Plan B. But, we managed.  Our deposits for future luncheons were pushed to planning luncheons at the same venues; trips will be on hold until it’s safe for us to travel; and, many members began to make donations to the Philanthropic Fund for future scholars. Remember, we collect scholarship donations at two of our luncheons and contributions to the fund may be made for many reasons: honoring a special event, in memoriam for a loved one and ‘just because’ donations to keep the scholarship abreast. 

But, Plan B also initiated ZOOMmeetings.  We’ve already had an Executive Board Meeting with the Officers and Members of the Executive Committee.  Talk about frustration and lots of planning, but, with the assistance of NJEA’sIT department, we did it!  Then, we invited all the members to join us for a ZOOM meeting announced by a Mailchimpforwarded by Jinny Hoden.  A few of you did join in and we were happy to meet some new members via ZOOM.  Do we have more ZOOMmeetings planned, ‘you bet cha’!  Will ZOOMtake the place of meeting members in person? Look, it’s Plan B and the best we can do at this time.  We miss you;OCREA’sBoard can’t wait to meet in person and enjoy luncheons and trips with all of you.

The committees have been functioning by having ZOOMmeetings with NJEA/NJREAand we haven’t been resting.  We are constantly on the phone, sending information via emails and sharing with you. Our Plan B seems to grow without us knowing about it.

One special announcement: the Editorial Committee will be forwarding a special Mailchimpcalled Memory Lane with pictures and narratives regarding OCREA’s50thAnniversary.  Look for it soon.  The Editorial Committee includes: Iver Kenedy, Peggy Keane-Brett, Maryann Tomborello, Peggy Ell, Karen Roche, Jinny Hoden, Janice Sovinee, Jane Cavallaro and: SURPRISE, a recent addition: Ceil Colon.  Disclosure: if I forgot anyone, please forgive me.  It wasn’t intentional.

In the meantime, take care of yourselves and your families. Enjoy each day. Hopefully, we’ll see you soon.

Warm regards,
Rae Saulino
President OCREA