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AARP Wyoming Honors Bovee As Retired Educator of The Year

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Becky Farrell, AARP Wyoming

AARP Wyoming is honoring Casper’s Debbie Bovee as its Retired Educator of The Year in 2019. Bovee was presented with her award during AARP Wyoming’s 2019 Volunteer Recognition Awards Banquet in Sheridan on Nov. 14.

Bovee has retired after teaching for 38 years after beginning her career at Harmony School, a rural school outside of Laramie. She would later teach in Guernsey, Torrington, and Casper, where she taught at Grant Elementary. During her career, Bovee taught every grade level in elementary school. In her last 10 years of her career, Bovee worked with special education teachers to help improve instruction.

“Elementary students are never dull,” she remarks. ”I remember a 5-year-old boy who was so excited to tell me he washed his coat in that funny looking sink in the boys' bathroom, often called a urinal. He also was happy that there was a hook in the bathroom where he could hang his coat. There were also days that were heart-breaking such as the day that a student from our class was killed when a bus rolled over on him.”

During her teaching career, Bovee was active in the Wyoming Education Association, serving on the local board of each school she taught in. She was also on the state board and was named the NIFE Teacher of The Year, by the Wyoming Education Association.

Bovee has also remained active in politics, having won a seat in the House of Representatives as a write-in candidate. After leaving the Legislature, she was appointed to The State School Board by Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon. She currently serves on the board of Parents as Teachers, and chairs the Natrona County Democratic Party.

“My calendar is full. Life goes on after retirement,” she says.

AARP has a strong history of supporting educators both active and retired as The National Retired Teachers Association (NTRA) is the seed that grew into AARP. Ethel Percy Andrus founded NRTA in 1947 to address the economic challenges and health insurance needs of educators in retirement. Andrus found retirees who didn’t belong to NRTA began asking why they couldn’t sign up too. In 1958 Andrus and fellow NRTA officers created the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and in 1982, the two associations merged at the national level.

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