Friday, January 16, 2015

Back to school time for adult learners


Jim Barr, coordinator of Education Partnerships at Gulf Coast State College, poses with Barbara and Stan Guterman, who donated $1,000 to the Education Encore Scholarship Fund.

  • EDUCATION ENCORE
  • When: In-person registration is 8 a.m. Jan. 16; classes are six consecutive Fridays, Jan. 23 through Feb. 27
  • Where: Gulf Coast State College, 5230 U.S. 98, Panama City
  • What: Non-credit enrichment classes for adults
  • Cost: $88
  • Details: Online at GulfCoast.edu/EducationEncore; call 872-3823; or email Jim Barr at jbarr@gulfcoast.edu


PANAMA CITY — With Spring Break on the horizon, it’s time for the winter to start winding down — but that just means Education Encore is about to heat up. The winter session of Gulf Coast State College’s adult education program begins Jan. 23, with in-person registration taking place Friday, Jan. 16.

As I’ve noted in the past, I have had the pleasure — and the challenge — of teaching a writing course for the program, helping students ranging in age from 30 to 80 and ranging in experience from beginner to retired journalist. I have never yet met someone who is as bad a writer as they think they are, but I have met a few who were much better than they ever suspected.

The program, which meets on six consecutive Fridays, offers more than 80 non-credit classes, which are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors will open at 7 a.m., and the fee for Panama City participants is $88, which includes four classes on each of the six Fridays. (Classes offered at the GCSC Port St. Joe campus, at a fee of $66, meet each Wednesday for six weeks.)

For details on the program and to see a list of classes, visit GulfCoast.edu/EducationEncore, call   872-3823 or e-mail Jim Barr, coordinator of Education Partnerships, at jbarr@gulfcoast.edu

“The goal of Education Encore is to provide a learning environment that is fun, lively and offers diversity, insight and wisdom — in which adults explore new ideas,” Jim said in an email to participants. “If you have been to college, this is an opportunity to re-live the college experience. If you have not attended college, this is an opportunity to live the college experience. Just as exercising the body keeps one physically fit, exercising the mind keeps one mentally fit.”

The program’s motto is “No Stress, No Tests, No Grades, Just Fun,” though some classes (like mine) encourage participants to work on projects throughout the week. (All good writing is re-writing, you know.)

Established in 1991, originally designed for retired senior adults, the program and the courses offered have evolved over the years. All ages of adults are welcome, and many of the courses are the result of requests and suggestions from students.

Some of the winter courses offered include bridge, quilting, Digital Image Editing, drawing, Heritage Skills for Modern Times, jewelry, Spanish conversation, Birding for Beginners, civil law, Firearms Safety,  History and Training of Navy Seals, line dancing,  storytelling, Fishing Florida Waters, History of Seminole Tribes, financial planning, Understanding Islam, Zumba, acrylic painting, photography, sign language, gardening, musical theatre history, sea life, interior decorating, journaling, Tai Chi, aquatic exercise, car maintenance, astronomy, fitness, physics, a capella harmony, gourmet cooking, yoga and many more.

In fact, writing has been such a popular subject, this year the program will offer four different classes for students to explore. Sherry Anderson will teach Writing Memoirs and Creative Non-fiction; Pat Sabiston has Journaling: A Powerful Tool to Write a Life Story; Michael Brim offers Fear and Fun of Writing Fiction; and I will be discussing the intersection of Writing and Life.

Maybe I’ll see you there?


Peace.
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