The Kansas Association of Retired School Personnel (KARSP) of which the Junction City Area Retired School Personnel is affiliated, met at the Courtyard by Marriott in Junction City on September 29, 30 and October 1. Members include retired educators and support personnel who have retired from, work in or supported their while working in the field of educating our youth.
The purpose of the Association is to promote legislation, to enhance the field of education, to work with the legislature to enhance KPERS benefits, to provide information for safer, more productive retirement years, and to encourage volunteerism through personal contribution and group activities for community service.
During the Opening Session on September 30, the Junction City High School JROTC Color Guard under the direction of LTC (Retired) Richard Hodgson, presented the colors; USD 475 Geary County Schools Superintendent Reginald Eggleston offered the welcome and Dr. Andy Tompkins, who served as the Commissioner of Education for the State of Kansas and has had many roles in educating and working for youth, was the guest speaker.
Dr. Tompkins said “retired educators and support staff spent their careers thinking about others. Retiring is a personal decision and on occasion I felt selfish because I retired, but then I reminded myself that it was time.” He went on to say that he “missed working with students. Even when I worked in the building and when I was having a bad day, I would visit a kindergarten classroom and felt better” just having been there with those students.
Andy believes that “staying hopeful is what is needed. Our world today is politicized about everything. We need to advocate for our education system. There is a deep division among us with conspiracy theories; staff feeling devalued; staff shortages and staff that doesn’t want to be there.” It is important to collaborate, work together and keep the vision of having an impact on the improvement of ourselves, others, and the education system.
Karen Pulaski, who coordinated the convention said, “people really like the facility where we are meeting and the hospitality. We are planning to return to Junction City next year.”