The New York State Retired Teachers Association has had a long history of supporting retired and active educators, their families and their communities through professional, social, political, and charitable activities on the local and the state levels. In the spirit of this past legacy, The New York State Retired Teachers Association Hudson-Kramer Memorial Grant (new name for 2017) was established with funding from the NYSRTA Insurance Trust Fund and is awarded to a public school teacher or administrator for the purpose of implementing an innovative project or program in a NYS public school district. Starting in 2017, the NYSRTA has increased the grant amount from $2,000 to $5,000, given yearly; five of the ten NYSRTA zones awarded $1,000 grants this year, while the other five zones will do the same in 2018. In the past, only two zones awarded the grant per year(alternating with the other eight zones) and the two grants were named separately, one in memory of Ross C. Hudson. Jr., a SUNY Canton professor from Gouverneur, N.Y. and the other in memory of Florence Coulter Kramer, a New York City/New Rochelle, N.Y. teacher. Both individuals were dedicated NYSRTA members for many years. Now, all the $1,000 grants will be known by the new name as stated above. The NYSRTA is pleased to announce the names of the 2017 grant recipients in the following paragraphs.

The Northern Zone awarded the 2017 NYSRTA Hudson-Kramer Memorial Grant to Mr. Samuel Sochia, who resides in Gouverneur, N.Y. and teaches Physics, Robotics, and a STEM Exploration class at Gouverneur High School in the Gouverneur Central School District. He will use the grant funds to purchase Raspberry PI computer units for use in his STEM Exploration class to help teach basic computer science using the Python language and emphasizing engineering curriculum and design, as well as, hands-on technology. Linda Crosby, NZ P.R./Grant Chair, Agnes Hudson, NZ Friendly Services Chair/NYSRTA President Emerita/*CR and Roxann Finley, NZ Treasurer, presented the award to Sam at a Gouverneur H.S. end of the year luncheon on June 22. We were especially pleased to have Agnes with us because the grant is given in her husbandʼs(Ross C. Hudson) memory. Many thanks go to grant committee members Tom Cook, Jean Theobald and Joanne Lahtinen for their valued involvement.

Roxann Finley, Agnes Hudson *CR, Samuel Sochia, Linda Crosby

Central Western Zone Grant Chair/Co-President Sandra Kushner announced that the recipient of the 2017 NYSRTA Hudson-Kramer Memorial Grant is Mrs. Kyle Inda, who teaches at Naples Elementary School in the Naples Central School District. A large group of teachers, students and community members will use the grant to assist in converting a courtyard at the school into an outdoor learning area and garden space including classroom areas, raised garden beds, pollinator gardens and spaces for art. The project will provide lasting and far reaching curricular opportunities for the project lead teacher to develop specific lessons and project based learning plans. Specifically, the grant will fund the purchase of a shade sail over the classroom area. President Kushner thanked her grant committee members: Jane Behnk, Joan Irwin, and Betty Pilato; she extended special thanks to Ann Czajkowski for providing the list of schools and addresses for the 10 county zone.

Kyle Inda and Sandy Kushner

Ron Czapla, Western Zone Grant Committee Chair, reported that Mrs. Nancy Simmons, a fourth grade teacher at Newfane Elementary in the Newfane Central School District, is the 2017 NYSRTA Hudson-Kramer Memorial Grant recipient. Nancy will use the funds for an exciting field trip for 100 fourth grade students who will visit three Niagara County historic sites including a pioneer farm(a former stop on the Underground Railroad), Newfaneʼs first brick house(now on the National Register of Historic Places), and a fully restored 1861 one-room schoolhouse. Fourth grade instruction in New York State history will be greatly enhanced by the tour of the sites. Ron Czapla, with grant committee members Charles Peszynski and Stanley Nowak, proudly presented the grant check to Nancy at her schoolʼs faculty year-end luncheon on June 22. Theresa Clarke and Irine Zinter also provided much appreciated assistance on the WZ teacher grant committee in their very successful search for a worthy recipient.

Charles Peszynski *CR, Nancy Simmons, Ron Czapla, Stanley Nowak

The Northeastern Zone NYSRTA Hudson-Kramer Memorial Grant Committee/P.R. Chair Marti Martin and her committee members, Marilyn Smith and Nancy Olsen, were very pleased to present the 2017 grant to Mr. Aaron Brassard, who teaches Middle School and High School Technology at Moriah Central School District in Port Henry, N.Y. Aaron will purchase a 700 watt renewable energy kit which contains two solar panels and a small wind turbine; these components will power a school buildingʼs exterior spotlight that will illuminate an area near a sports field in the dark fall and winter months. Marti Martin said she and Bonnie Gregware, NEZ President, awarded the $1,000 check and a congratulatory letter to Aaron at a special luncheon NEZ held in his honor. Marti stated that congratulatory letters were sent to Aaronʼs high school principal and superintendent; she said thank you letters were sent to all the other applicants, their supervisors, their superintendents, and, also, to the BOCES superintendent who provided valuable assistance in disseminating the grant materials to area schools.

Bonnie Gregware, Aaron Brassard, Marti Martin