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President Melanie Hameed: We Are the Great North East!

As I have traveled across our district, I have heard members shy away from the idea that NEOEA is GREAT!

We are the largest district in OEA. We are huge in area. We run the length of this great state of ours. It can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 2½ hours to drive across the district. We span eleven counties. We encompass Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Erie, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Mahoning Medina, Portage, Summit, and Trumbull. In those eleven counties, we hold 146 school districts and 183 locals. All in all, we host 30,000 members.

NEOEA IS GREAT! We have held numerous workshops to help enhance, uplift and encourage our members.

We offer numerous scholarships, awards, and grants. We stand with partners like Playhouse Square, Ohio Lottery Partners in Education, Bright-Now Dental, and Best Benefits Club.

Every year, I have my students memorize the following speech by Mariann Williamson. It helps them to understand who they are and the power they wield.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?”
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking, so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

My beloved NEOEA, I want you to reach out and embrace your greatness. I want you to walk in the glorious light of being strong and dedicated to this purpose. I want you to understand that—united—nothing can come against us. I want you to remember that “there is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel unsure around you.” Our “playing small does not serve the world.” It is our responsibility, our duty to give others “permission” to shine as we do.

So, the next time you are feeling a certain kind of way about being a member of the GREAT NORTH EAST, remember, it is up to you to pull others into the glorious light. I bid you peace.

By Melanie Hameed, NEOEA President

Published in our Fall edition of News & Views

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