When the school bell dismissed her students for Super Bowl weekend, Enfield High School building rep and business education teacher Kim Sweeney prepared to head down the hall to meet with fellow teachers. They were going to honor one of her colleagues—or so she assumed.
Little did she know, Enfield educators—along with CEA leaders and staff—had gathered to deliver one of the biggest surprises the building rep could imagine.
Sweeney had just won a nine-day NEA Adventures prize package summer vacation to Costa Rica. The trip—the grand prize in CEA Member Benefits’ first-ever “Explore & Score” eight-week sweepstakes—includes meals, hotel accommodations, and tours of a cloud forest, hot springs, and volcano.
“I just can’t believe it,” a smiling Sweeney said, accepting the award from CEA President Sheila Cohen, who offered not only her congratulations but also her thanks to the 21-year veteran and her colleagues for their work on behalf of students and their involvement in their Association.
Explore and score
Aside from her role as a teacher and building rep, Sweeney is also a member of her Association’s executive board.
“You learn an awful lot by being active in the union,” she says. “By being involved, I’m able to help my fellow teachers. When I don’t know the answer to a particular question, I know where to go to find it.”
Earlier this winter, CEA mailed postcards to all members announcing the Association’s redesigned Member Benefits website, cea.org/mb. To encourage members to get familiar with the many deals and discounts available to them, teachers were invited to go online for a chance to a win a new prize each week, donated by a CEA Member Benefits partner. Prizes includes tickets to popular adventure parks, sports arenas, and theaters as well as Visa gift cards. Everyone who entered during the eight-week promotion was also automatically eligible to win a grand prize NEA Member Benefits adventure vacation to Costa Rica.
“I go to the CEA Member Benefits website from time to time to see what’s new,” Sweeney said, “but when I got the postcard, I made a point to check in daily. The union offers a lot of benefits to its members, and the more you familiarize yourself, the better off you are. I thought maybe I had a random shot at one of the weekly prizes. I never imagined I would win the grand prize!”
Sweeney, whose husband enjoys ziplining and travel, says the couple has never been to Costa Rica.
“I’m completely overwhelmed,” she says. “And it’s great to have my colleagues here to celebrate with me.”