The Rockland-area chapter of Preceptor Beta, Beta Sigma Phi sorority holds Beginning Day in September of each year.

Members have been busy preparing for the 2013-2014 season while at the same time reflecting on the good and sad times of their previous year. Members still grieve over the death of sister Peggy Collins, who left all too soon. Another great sadness was the passing of former member, Lorraine Johnson in March.

Three members, Tina Bryant, Betty Philbrook, and Sue Look, have recently lost their husbands, bringing much sadness to the group.

Two members, Koko Preston and Janet Zanichkowsky, have moved away from the area while at the same time returning members, Nancy Greenier and Carol Holmes, are welcomed back into the group.

The theme for this past year is You are Among Friends. The sorority will still be among friends as it goes forth into the new sorority year. The new theme is Beta Sigma Phi – Light up your Life. Members will strive to do that as they move forward.

Among the festive times shared are the planned dinners. This past year, members celebrated Beginning Day with a potluck dinner at Dottie Liberty’s home. Another potluck was shared with spouses at Louise and Bill Flints beach home last June. Woody and Judy hosted a dinner at their home last October. Shirley Hamlin’s treated the group to a Christmas buffet at the annual Christmas Party. A Founders’ Day Banquet at The Black Horse Inn in Lincolnville was enjoyed by all last May.

The cultural programs that were presented at regular meetings were a feast to the minds. Members plan their own programs for presentation. A visit to the Haynes Gallery in Thomaston was a cultural treat, thanks to Arlene Woodman. Members enjoyed the creative writings by Connie Painter and learned the complexity of the workings of the two sides of the brain, a program by Katherine Curry. Sylvia Murphy gave an interesting biography of Rev. Dr. Alison Cheek, one of the first women priests to be ordained by the Episcopal church. At Nancy Cox’s meeting, the group learned the fate of Malaga Island, which was a dark phase of Maine’s history. Alice Knight and Mary Stone presented book reviews and at Dottie Liberty’s meeting, her niece, just graduated from college in Mississippi, answered questions on her view of the cultural and economic issues facing young people in today’s southern world. Beth Guiseley gave an education on healthy food preparation and samples to taste as well. This was a delicious, innovative program. Kudos to Signe Gardner for serving as Valentine Queen throughout the year. One program was dedicated to her and thanking her for her services to the group and the community.

As Ways and Means projects, Emily Beattie held a fun auction at her home and Brenda Harrington planned a bake sale at the Rockland Community Building to raise money for a local charity. Recent philanthropies are the annual Beryl Borgerson Nursing Scholarship, Cakes for Togus, a baby shower for a former scholarship recipient, donations to Beta Sigma Phi International projects, Meals on Wheels, Rockland District Nursing Association, AIO food pantry and summer day camp for two local youngsters.

This sums up not only our year — but the tenets our sorority stands for — Life, Learning, Friendship (Vita, Scientia, Amicitia).