Senior Academy

Registration for Fall quarter is open! Register online!

A Home for Lifelong Learners

The Senior Academy offers quarterly academic courses and a special speaker series for Seniors that want to engage in academic material in a deeper way. We offer both online and in-person classes. Open to members and the general public!

Instructor:
Keith Eisner
Olympia Senior Center

Beautiful Lies/Beautiful Truths 1

General Public/Members: $120/$100 (eight sessions)
Wednesdays*
2:00 - 4:00 pm
September 21, 2022
-
November 9, 2022

THIS CLASS IS NOW FULL

For writers and would-be writers of fiction, memoir and essays. Expect to write at least seven pages a week. Improve your writing through short craft assignments, weekly “Wild Pages,” in-class exercises, and by critiques of your own work and work of fellow students. You’ll also be encouraged to participate in a public reading at the end of the quarter. Lots of work, lots of fun. *Must register in person at the Olympia Senior Center.

Your Teacher: A local writer and actor, Keith holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. A former spokesperson for Thurston County and The Evergreen State College, Keith likes to write while listening to baseball on the radio. He’s honored to have had one of his short stories included in the 2017 O. Henry Award Stories. He also won the 2019 Mighty River Short Story Contest held by Southeast Missouri University Press.

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Instructor:
Don Foran
Olympia Senior Center

Guided Conversations about Great Literature

General Public/Members: $110/$80 (eight sessions)
Wednesdays
4:15 - 5:45 PM
September 28, 2022
-
November 16, 2022

This offering is largely a retrospective set of readings with a few new pieces; we’ll discuss novellas, stories, poems and favorite selections from past classes. Below are some of the readings we’ll be discussing. The course is eight weeks long, meeting Wednesdays, 4:15 – 5:45 p.m. at Olympia Senior Center. The full syllabus is included below.  Enjoy! 

Fall, 2022 Guided Conversations about Great Literature:

Sep 28: “The Comforts of Home” Flannery O’Connor and “Everyday Use” Alice Walker

Oct 5: “Blake” (poem) Adam Zagajewski, “As I Walked Out One Evening” (poem) W.H. Auden . Five Poems (your choice) Emily Dickinson; “Perfect Day for Bananafish” J.D. Salinger

Oct 12: “Cathedral” Raymond Carver; three poems (your choice) Theodore Roethke; five poems by Don Foran (packet). Ada Limon “A New National Anthem” (She is new Poet Laureate of the United States (2022)

Oct 19: “Hymn for the Hurting” (poem) Amanda Gorman; “Billy Budd” Herman Melville (first half)

Oct 26: “Billy Budd” Herman Melville (second half)

Nov 2: “The Turn of the Screw” (first half) Henry James

Nov 9: “The Turn of the Screw (second half)  Henry James

Nov 16: Excerpt from Small World by J. Evison . “Lake Isle of Innisfree” W.B. Yeats.  

Party together during this last session.

Your Teacher: Don Foran earned his Ph.D. in English at the University of Southern California and a postdoctoral MA in Theology from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. He recently retired from 40 years of teaching literature and creative writing.

Email: foranfam4@gmail.com, website: www.donforan.webs.com

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Instructor:
Diane Chiddister
Olympia Senior Center

“It’s Time to Write that Novel!”

General Public/Members: $90/$60 (four sessions)
Mondays
1:00 -2:30 pm
October 3, 2022
-
October 24, 2022

This class will prepare participants to take part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which takes place, conveniently, in November. I’ve used the NaNoWriMo process three times now with success. The process, for me, allowed me to complete the first draft in a month, which for many, is the most forbidding part of writing a novel in a month. Briefly, the process involves writing really fast (about 6 pages a day) and not stopping to correct or to criticize yourself (that comes later). So what you have after a month is a first draft, and that’s HUGE. Then you’re ready to roll with revisions.

But you need to be ready for NaNoWriMo to have it work for you, and I aim for this class to make you ready. To be ready, you need a feeling for your main characters, their conflicts/challenges and the overall plot/structure of the book. So we’ll look at each of these elements and play around with ways to make them more clear for you before beginning the process. We’ll also have fun doing so, I promise!

Your Teacher: Diane Chiddister is a lifelong journalist and the former editor of the Yellow Springs News in Yellow Springs, Ohio where she lives. But she also lives part-time in Olympia, where her daughter and baby granddaughter live. After retiring from the News in 2018, she decided to return to her first love of writing fiction, and to write her first novel. She’s a 1981 MFA graduate of the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. That first novel, “One More Day” was published in October, 2021. The book recently was named a finalist in the First Novel category of the Next Generation Indie Book Award, which is the largest award program for small presses, university presses and self-published authors.

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Instructor:
Gery Gerst
Olympia Senior Center

What does the Constitution Say about Now? What does Now say about the Constitution?

General Public/Members: $95/$75 (six sessions)
Tuesdays
10:30 - 11:30 am
October 4, 2022
-
November 8, 2022

Our founders laid out our foundational principles and methods and “guarantees” to achieve them in the Declaration and Constitution, with this admonition: “We gave you a republic, IF you can keep it.” So, how are we doing? Does the Constitution align with the Declaration’s ideals? How can our past inform the present? Have we ‘achieved’ democracy?  If the past is prologue to the now, let’s look at both with examples, questions, dialogue…and pesky facts.

Your instructor: Gery Gerst earned his Masters of Education from Western Washington University. He has 49 years of teaching experience, in High School & University levels and currently History classes and Civics seminars for adults. He has been awarded four “Teacher of the Year” honors by the Olympia School District, OHS student body, & Olympia Teachers Association. He received both the Distinguished Educator Award and Distinguished Alumnus Award from Saint Martin’s University. He loves fishing, travel, languages, politics, learning, writing and his grandkids.

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Instructor:
Margo Benedetto
Zoom

Mindfulness for Optimal Living

General Public/Members: $110/$80 (eight sessions)
Tuesdays
10:30 AM - 12 Noon
October 4, 2022
-
November 22, 2022

We’re all advised to be “mindful” now, and everyone from NBA stars to corporate gurus is claiming mindfulness improves their game. Let’s cut through the talk and trendiness and study what mindfulness is, why it works and how it can be used in everyday life to improve physical, mental and emotional health — before, during or after a global pandemic! With a little bit of science and a lot of inspiration and practice, we’ll extract the help from the hype for anyone wishing to reap the benefits of mindfulness, including better stress and pain management, improved relationships, sharper mental focus and healthier eating and sleeping habits. Each session will include samples of various mindfulness activities, guided practices and time for sharing in the Zoom world.  

Your Teacher: Margo Benedetto is a certified mindfulness instructor and veteran classroom teacher in Washington State.  She was a leader in bringing mindfulness education to Centralia School District from 2015-2020, where she designed and taught the class “Strength and Conditioning for the Mind.” She continues to provide personal and professional development in mindfulness for individuals and groups and enjoys the variety of classroom settings she finds for her work, including Thurston County Dog 4-H, Olympia Senior Services and North Thurston Public Schools.

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Instructor:
Bruce Lerro
Olympia Senior Center

Lucifer’s Labyrinth: Part I

General Public/Members: $110/$80 (eight sessions)
Tuesdays
2:00 - 4:00 pm
October 4, 2022
-
November 22, 2022

For better and for worse, western humanity took a different social evolutionary road than the civilizations of Africa, Asia, or South America. What were the reasons for this? How were European and Yankee individualism different from each other? How were childhoods, adolescence and adulthoods different from today? What did double-entry bookkeeping, the use of Hindu-Arabic numbers and the rise of polyphonic singing have to do with the emergence of hyper-abstract thinking? We trek over 800 years, from the Middle Ages to the Gilded Age.

Your Teacher: Bruce has been a night-school college teacher for 27 years and most of his teaching has been with working adults. He has taught in alternative college settings, in prisons, in the Air Force, in  the Navy, and has taught in community colleges in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has written three books on the application of Russian Lev Vygotsky’s work to world history. He is also a pen-and-ink artist.

Contact information for Bruce Lerro: email: goethe48@pacbell.net  phone: 510-333-7107

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Instructor:
John Wiens
Olympia Senior Center

Beginning Drawing

General Public/Members: $80/$60 (four sessions)
Tuesdays
1:00 - 2:30 pm
October 4, 2022
-
October 25, 2022

Join retired architect and artist John Wiens for a beginning drawing class. Featured will be basic drawing: shapes, perspective, line quality, composition, and shade and shadows. Materials fee: $12

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Instructor:
Tony Usibelli
Olympia Senior Center

Mute Stone and Madmen: Art, Archaeology and Cultural History of Ancient Italy

General Public/Members: $90/$60 (six sessions)
Tuesdays
1:00 -3:30 pm
October 4, 2022
-
November 8, 2022

Are you interested in learning more about Ancient Italy and its Etruscan, Roman, and Greek inhabitants? This six-week class will present the art, archaeological remains and cultural history of these fascinating civilizations and their continuing influence in today’s world. The class will illustrate  the monumental and artistic remains of ancient Italy coupled  with the colorful and often bizarre history spanning more than a thousand years. There will be plenty of time for class discussion.

Your Instructor: Tony Usibelli has B.A. in classical archaeology and art history from the Univ. of Missouri and the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome. He is an active member of the Puget Sound chapter of the Archaeological Institute of America, the Puget Sound Ancient Numismatic group and has taught classes at Evergreen and SPSCC.

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Instructor:
Pam Toal
Olympia Senior Center

Your Life, Your Story: Writing Your Biography Two-Pages at a Time

General Public/Members: $120/$100 (six sessions)
Wednesdays
1:00 - 3:00 pm
October 5, 2022
-
November 9, 2022

Limited to 9 students.

Have you ever wanted to write your memoir or leave a legacy for your loved ones? This is your chance! This six-week class includes activities to help recapture your memories and preserve your life stories. Each week you’ll receive prompting questions to write two-pages at home on a theme of your life history. You’ll share your writing in class the following week, which can lead to a deeper appreciation of your life experiences and to meaningful connections with group members. No writing experience is necessary, just an openness to share the unique life that is yours. Limited to nine participants.

Your Teacher: Pam Toal is a published writer, coach, and certified Guided Autobiography facilitator. Her professional background in nonprofits, higher education and consulting led her to discover the rewards of writing and sharing life stories.

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Instructor:
Barbara Young
Olympia Senior Center

Mask Making; An Ancient Art of Storytelling

General Public/Members: $75/$50 (five sessions)
Thursdays
1:00 - 3:00 pm
October 6, 2022
-
November 3, 2022

Join instructor Barbara Young as she teaches about the art of mask making. She was taught this method by the women of the Shoalwater Bay tribe, and has their permission to share the tradition. Week one will be introductions, and stories and pictures of Native American Masks. The subsequent weeks will be to construct a facial mask using plaster of paris, then to decorate it once dry. The stories the masks invoke will then be shared in a talking circle and the last session will be a gathering to celebrate the masks and the stories they represent. All mask making materials will be provided.  Brushes, paints, buttons, and decorations will be available. You are welcome to bring in things from home that you may wish to use for decorating a small mask. Participants are encouraged to wear painting clothes.

Your instructor: Barbara Young’s career is in public health.  She was a faculty member at U.W., St. Martin’s, and SPSCC. She has Master’s Degrees in Community Health Planning and Nursing.  Barbara conducts mask making workshops for health, wellness, and story writing, and has worked with seniors at Panorama, and middle school students, among others.

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Instructor:
Ron Johnson
Zoom

Northwest Nations

General Public/Members: $120/$80 (six sessions)
Fridays (*no class November 11)
2:00 - 4:00 pm
October 7, 2022
-
November 18, 2022

*Please note, there is no class November 11

Ron Johnson will lead us through six weeks of classes about the Salish People’s, of the Olympia Region, and the Southern Puget Sound. We will explore traditional lifeways, transformations, and contemporary realities.  

Your Teacher: Ron Johnson is enrolled in the Makah Nation and his mother is enrolled with the Lummi Nation.  He has worked in a variety of natural resources fields, has three beautiful children, and is currently working on his doctorate.  He has taught courses at the Northwest Indian College and The Evergreen State College.

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Instructor:
Jane Stone
Zoom

Art and Artists of the Pacific Northwest

General Public/Members: $90/$60 (six sessions)
Tuesdays (*October 11 is in-person)
10:00 am - 11:30 am
October 11, 2022
-
November 15, 2022

*Please note, October 11 will be in-person at the Olympia Senior Center

The Pacific Northwest has a long history of artmaking – in this course we’ll explore the wide variety of regional art created by historical and contemporary artists. We will look at artists from different eras, identities, cultural traditions, and artistic media. While some of these artists and their work may be familiar, others may be unexpected, and intriguing, discoveries. Come learn more about them all. Included in our survey will be both traditional and contemporary artists: Coastal Salish artists; photographers such as Edward Curtis, Imogene Cunningham, and Mary Randlett; landscape painters and sculptors whose art celebrates our Northwestern landscapes, towns and cities; New Deal and contemporary public artists whose legacy enriches our communities; and craftspeople, whose artistry enhances our daily lives and often pushes the boundaries of tradition. This course will be offered via Zoom, with the exception of the first in-person class meeting. The last class may be a field trip, contingent on students’ interest to explore local art here in Olympia.

Your Teacher: Jane Stone retired from teaching art history and studio art at South Puget Sound Community College. A graduate of Reed College and the University of Iowa, she earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in Studio Art, Art Education and Art History. She now spends time in her ceramics studio, teaching at the Senior Center and tutoring English language learners.

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Instructor:
Marty Worcester, Ph.d in Gerontology
Olympia Senior Center

Late Life Design, a one-day workshop

Free
Thursday - one day only
1:00 - 4:00 pm
October 13, 2022
-
October 13, 2022

Late Life Design: The art of care-giving & care-receiving. What lies ahead as we contribute to others’ lives and receive what others offer us? Increase your awareness of what to expect as we age. Learn to create a design unique to you. For more information contact marthaw@spu.edu or call her at 206.915.6335.

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Instructor:
Bob Saunders
Olympia Senior Center

Introduction to Buddhism

General Public/Members: $75/$50 (five sessions)
Wednesdays
10:00 - 11:30 am
October 19, 2022
-
November 16, 2022

This class will introduce participants to the main concepts of Buddhist thought and understanding. The Dalai Lama has famously said: “My true religion is the practice of kindness”. In this class, you will learn the more complete principles behind this simple core ideal. The course also briefly covers basic meditation techniques, Buddhist ideas about death, and different forms of Buddhism found in Asia. The course is suitable for both the curious and those interested in trying out Buddhist practices. Basic Buddhist principles can be helpful in addressing life situations regardless of whether or not one identifies as a“Buddhist”. The class will have handouts, no text required, but suggested readings will be given.

Your Instructor: Bob Saunders has studied and practiced Buddhism for over 35 years, mainly in the Tibetan tradition. His study includes over 30 days of talks by H. H. 14th Dalai Lama and countless hours with other major Tibetan Lamas and the  local founder of the Nalanda Institute, Geshe Jamyang Tsultrim. Bob has been on pilgrimage to the 8 holy sites in India, and on other pilgrimages in Tibet, Nepal and Thailand.

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Ready to register or have questions? 

Please contact us at 360.586.6181 ext. 103 or via email at info@southsoundseniors.org

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