December 12, 2012 FEA Europe Update

December 12, 2012

2. Holiday Wishes
3. Retirement Information
4. December 24
5. Busy Time of the Year
6. Mark Your Calendars

1. ELWOP/ARR: Attached is the announcement for ELWOP and ARR for this year. Please read the information carefully, especially in regards to program requirements and application deadlines.

2. Holiday Wishes: I would be remiss if, in this holiday season, I did not let you, our members, know how important you are to FEA. We truly would not exist without you. I often say that teaching is a thankless job, but that is not entirely true. Many of you receive the thanks of DoDEA on a daily basis---mostly in the form of debt letters. However, you continue to do the job you were sent overseas to do, to the best of your ability, many times, under trying circumstances. And for that, we are ALL grateful for your service. Please enjoy the holiday season, wherever it finds you, hopefully doing something that gives you the greatest of pleasure. You deserve a holiday! Lots of thanks for doing what you do and get some rest. Come back in January, ready to face whatever comes your way.

3. Retirement Information: I have attached several articles from the website, on a number of topics, including: Federal Employees Universal Life Insurance, TSP End of the Year Transaction Processing Schedule, and FERS Employees Agency matching contributions.

4. Federal Employees/December 24: Will Federal Employees receive December the 24th as a "bonus holiday"? Many of you have written asking about this issue. I have sent this up to FEA Washington for more information.

5. Busy Time of the Year: December is an extremely busy month for all of us and Alex and I would like to let you know in advance that we will be in and out of the office for much of the month. We will be in Washington attending the FEA Board of Directors' Meeting from 15-21 December. We will answer e-mails as often as we can, but please forgive any delays.

6. Mark your Calendars: Education events for December 2012. (Courtesy of

  • December 1-31---Books Across America Month: Books Across America is an NEA effort to help replenish public school libraries (see School Tube video). You can donate books by reading a book online - see the We Give Books website - and your reading efforts will be converted to book donations to a range of groups.
  • December12-15---Computer Science Education Week: In fall 2009, Congress designated the first full week of December as Computer Science Education Week to recognize the transformative role of computing and the need to bolster computer science at all educational levels. See the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) materials at the CSedweek website and more educator resources at the Computer Science Teachers Association website.
  • December 15---Bill of Rights Adoption Day: The Bill of Rights is the name by which the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution are known. Introduced in 1789 as a series of articles, they came into effect on December 15, 1791, after ratification by three-fourths of the States. For resources, see Bill of Rights Institute.
  • December 16 ---Boston Tea Party Anniversary: The Boston Tea Party was a direct action by colonists in Boston against the British government. On December 16, 1773, after officials in Boston refused to return three shiploads of taxed tea to Britain, a group of colonists boarded the ships and destroyed the tea by throwing it into Boston Harbor. See the Boston Tea Party Historical Society.
  • December 17---Anniversary of Wright Brothers' Flight: The Wright Brothers forever changed human travel at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903, with their heavier-than-air powered flight, which traveled 120 feet. See the Library of Congress' Wright Brothers page for teaching resources.
  • December 8-16---Hanukkah: Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, commemorates the Maccabees military victory over the Greek Syrians and the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. The festival is observed by the lighting of a special candelabrum, the Menorah, with one additional light lit on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight on the final night. See Chanukah resources.
  • December 21---Winter Solstice: The winter solstice occurs exactly when the Earth's axial tilt is farthest away from the sun. It is the shortest day and longest night. The seasonal significance of the Winter Solstice is in the reversal of the gradual lengthening of nights and shortening of days. There are two winter solstices: winter in the northern hemisphere and winter in the southern hemisphere. Remember that the winter solstice here is the summer solstice there.
  • December 25---Christmas: Christmas is an annual holiday celebrated on December 25 that commemorates the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. In Christianity, Christmas marks the beginning of the larger season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days. Traditions include the sending of cards, decorating with poinsettias and a Christmas tree, singing Christmas carols, and giving gifts.
  • December 26---Disbanding of Soviet Union: On December 26, 1991, the Soviet Union was officially disbanded, breaking up into fifteen constituent parts, thereby ending the world's largest and most influential communist state, leaving People's Republic of China to that position.
  • December 26-January 1---Kwanzaa: Kwanzaa is an African-American holiday based on the agricultural celebration of Africa called "the first fruits" celebrations, which celebrate the times of harvest, gathering, reverence, commemoration of the past, recommitment to cultural ideals, and celebration of the good. Kwanzaa is celebrated annually December 26-January 1. Learn more about Kwanzaa.
  • December 31---New Year's Eve: New Year's Eve is December 31, the final day of the Gregorian year and the day before New Year's Day. In modern Western practice, New Year's Eve is celebrated with parties and social gatherings marking the passing of one year into the next, at midnight.

* Remember---if you have something you would like to share, please pass it along to either Alex or me and if possible, we will include it in our updates.

Here's wishing you a GREAT week and a wonderful holiday season! FEA looks forward to serving you in the new year.

Lisa Garmon Ali
FEA Europe Area Director
PSC 41 Box 5569
APO AE 09464
Tel: 44-1638527662 (outside UK)
01638527662 (local)
226-7662 (DSN)