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New member meet-and-greets

Welcome to ‘an amazing profession’

Queens: At the Queens event on Oct. 6, District 24 Representative John HarringtoJonathan FickiesQueens: At the Queens event on Oct. 6, District 24 Representative John Harrington stands with new members Courtney Van Wickler (left) and Krystle DeMartino (right) and Chapter Leader Susan Stark, all from PS 88.

New members throughout the city gathered at UFT borough offices this fall to network with colleagues, meet their UFT representatives and get important information.

The gatherings were part of the special outreach that the UFT’s New Member Initiative does each year to engage and inform the union’s newest members.

The meet-and-greet events in each borough also gave educators the opportunity to hear from UFT President Michael Mulgrew, who shared stories about his own days as a new teacher, gave advice and answered questions.

Brooklyn: New members in Brooklyn pick up information on salary and pension duriJonathan FickiesBrooklyn: New members in Brooklyn pick up information on salary and pension during the borough’s event on Oct. 26.

“You got into this profession for the fame, fortune and glory, correct?” he quipped to laughter at the first event in Queens on Oct. 6.

Striking a more serious note, he told the new teachers, “We all went into teaching because we want to help children. It is an amazing profession.”

Staten Island: UFT President Michael Mulgrew addresses the new members from StatMiller PhotographyStaten Island: UFT President Michael Mulgrew addresses the new members from Staten Island on Dec. 7.

Afterward, Andrew Ramsingh, a new teacher at PS 15 in St. Albans, said Mulgrew’s words were “inspiring.”

“They fired me up,” he said. “It feels good to know I’m not alone.”

Before and after Mulgrew’s remarks, members had the opportunity to visit information tables to ask questions and collect materials about their union benefits, salary, certification and more.

Manhattan: UFT Assistant Treasurer Tom Brown (second from left) and Manhattan HiJonathan FickiesManhattan: UFT Assistant Treasurer Tom Brown (second from left) and Manhattan High School District Representative Alice O’Neil (second from right) with Brown’s former student Maryam Farooq, a teacher at the HS for Environmental Studies, and her colleague, David Anthony Murray, on Nov. 16.

At the Manhattan event at UFT headquarters on Nov. 16, Manhattan Borough Representative Dwayne Clark urged new members to take advantage of the union’s resources.

“We want to make sure you feel supported,” he said.

Bronx: Chatting after the Bronx meeting on Dec. 8 are (from left) Speech ImproveMiller PhotographyBronx: Chatting after the Bronx meeting on Dec. 8 are (from left) Speech Improvement Chapter Leader Mindy Karten Bornemann, teacher Ivelisse Ventura of IS 239, UFT Borough Representative Mary Atkinson and speech therapist Zimmad Imam of Comprehensive Model School Project MS 327.

As the event drew to a close, the new members clapped and cheered for each other as 10 Yoobi boxes full of classroom supplies were raffled off.

“Winning the box was the best part!” said Saray Caruso, who teaches a dual language 2nd-grade class at PS 182 in East Harlem.

She continued, “The whole event was very informative. To hear about what every new teacher goes through makes me feel much better now.”

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