Torchbearer Zeta

For Torchbearer Zeta members, the miracle of life began for some as close as home, for others in the Lutheran & Mennonite Hospitals one of which happened in the hallway without the doctor, and for one, as far away as Germany. Donna Schultze hosted the March 19 meeting and program. Baby pictures were shared, and everyone participated in the guessing game of Who’s Who. After the big reveal, each told the story of their own beginning, each of which was humble, and intriguing.

Childhood stories were shared of life on a fox farm, Dad selling a load of grain to get baby out of the hospital, racing to beat grandma home when dropped off for a first day of kindergarten, driving a tractor as a 9 year old, and the adventure in arriving in New Orleans aboard a ship from Germany. All Torchbearer Zeta lives are well lived, well loved, and blessed beyond measure.

Maggie Werner shared the Torch Review, “Spotlight in Special Stories of Members and the Golden Years." Members of Beta Sigma Phi for 50 , 60, and 70 years are celebrated.

Members voted for Woman of the Year. Cheryl Sargent will announce the one who has been chosen, at the annual Founders Day dinner, April 25 at the Kensington Ball Room. Maggie will be Mistress of Ceremonies. Donna will give the Chapter a year in Review.

The Chapter Birthday was celebrated, and Election of Officers was held. Newly elected are President Trudy Roche, Vice President Chari Stanley, Recording Secretary Judy Meyer, Corresponding Secretary Marsha Young, Founders Day Representative Cheryl Smith, Founders Day Alternate Marian Shaw, and Extension Officer Rowien Kumm.

Members will meet April 4, at the Rolla Rena at 5:15 p.m. to carpool to the Beta Sigma Phi Salad Supper In Marysville Kansas.

Beatrice Area Retired School Personnel

The group met on Wednesday, March 27 at Valentino’s for a noon luncheon. Fourteen members and three guests were present.

Following the meal the group was introduced to Maggie Soltysoua, an American Field Service exchange student from the Czech Republic, who is attending Beatrice High School. Maggie’s host, Amanda Bensch, said that she quickly became part of their family. Maggie has chosen to participate in volleyball, dance, and soccer at BHS, as well as being an excellent student. Attending snowball and shopping for her Snowball dress plus many other fun activities with her friends and host family has made her time in Nebraska special. She was surprised and pleased by the extent of school spirit exhibited by the students, and she has found that she loves Mexcian food which is not available in her home country. Gone With the Wind is her favorite movie both in the United States and at home.

Maggie shared much information about life in the Czech Republic, which has a democratic form of government with similar elections as the United States. School is more difficult with college like schedules, however the students are not allowed to choose which classes they would like to take. English is the second language to Czech and is required from third grade through high school. Kindergarten is separate from the elementary grades which are first through fifth. After elementary school students may test into Gymnasium, a series of advanced courses for their next eight years. Other options for those completing elementary school are attending sixth through ninth grade and then a high school which specializes in certain skills or trades. Some students do not attend school after ninth grade. Sports are not part of the school activities, but students can participate in sports clubs. Maggie likes “floor ball” which is much like field hockey. While it is not common for 16 year olds to have a car, Maggie has a small two seat car (maximum speed 40 miles-per-hour) that she drives the three miles to her school. The school schedule allows for two months of summer vacation, which has allowed her family to travel extensively throughout Europe.

Maggie shared that Christmas is a favorite holiday. Halloween is not celebrated, but some people display an American flag on that day. Easter is celebrated quite differently. Men accompany their sons to women’s and girl’s houses with a small whip and then proceed to spank the females in household. This insures that the girls and ladies will find a mate and not be without a partner. Except at Czech festivals, the people do not dress in traditional clothing or polka. Kolaches are also made differently in her home country, and dumplings are commonly eaten in place of potatoes.

Sara Roberts, a representative for American Field Service (AFS) for Nebraska and Iowa, shared information about the organization. AFS works toward a more just and peaceful world by providing international and intercultural learning experience to individuals, families, schools and communities through a global volunteer partnership. Over 4,000 volunteers give their time to support the AFS mission by helping students from more than 80 countries come to the U. S. There over 2,1000 families host them across 46 states and 1,186 cities and towns bringing the whole wide world a little closer together. Volunteer roles may include: Guiding international students and host families, planning local events and orientations, building connections with schools, and helping students prepare to go abroad. More information can be obtained at

The meeting concluded with a brief business meeting presided by Marjorie Brubaker, president. The next luncheon meeting will be May 22 at Valentino’s hosted by Merna Greer and Betty Brackhahn.

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