NEW! Register online for academic classes!
Our Virtual Senior Academy is a home for lifelong learners!
The Senior Academy offers online quarterly academic courses and a special speaker series for Seniors that want to engage in academic material in a deeper way. Open to members and the general public!
Seasons of the Mind: Spring Training
What kinds of habits of the mind, body and heart would you like to create? Mindfulness works with neuroplasticity—the brain’s natural ability to adapt and acquire new learning throughout our lifetime—to help us clear out our cerebral clutter and form new mental, physical and emotional habits. In this course, we’ll use mindfulness to form new behaviors for self-compassion, communication skills, pain-management and stress-resilience. Each week will include instruction in the techniques of mindfulness, discussion and guided meditations including Full Body Massage, Mental Detox and Happy Hour. Student requests will also be welcome!
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 the 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.
Guided Conversations About Great Literature
Guided Conversations about Great Literature is an eight-week (April 6 through May 25) exploration of stories and poems which evoke our memories and experiences. In spring we’ll discuss classics from Flannery O’Connor, Raymond Carver, J.D. Salinger, Stephen Crane, James Baldwin, Eugene Ionesco, Emily Dickinson, W.H. Auden, William Faulkner and others, focusing on characterization, structure and rich themes. Registration will be limited to 15, so register early.
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.
What in the World is Going on? Capitalism, Socialism and Fascism in the Thunder if the 21st Century
Our industrial capitalist society does not prepare us to understand what is economically and politically going on, not just in the world but even in the United States. We are taught to think in terms of individuals, private life and families. But these microworlds are more the product rather than producers of western capitalist society.
When we study the macroworld, we will not be studying great or bad politicians, statesmen or unique historical events, as important as they might be. This class is designed to give you frameworks and structures for understanding historical events and why the western world and the United States seem to be collapsing. To do this we will study the frameworks of the great political economists, including the market fundamentalism of Milton Friedman, Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Thorstein Veblen, John Maynard Keynes, John Kenneth Galbreath, Paul Sweezy and Paul Baran of Monopoly Capitalism. Throughout our work, you will become more familiar, not only with capitalism, but with frameworks we have been taught to fear like socialism, state socialism, anarchism, and fascism. Hold on to your hats and batten down the hatches. I will provide you with structures through which you can process what seem to be chaotic events into various analytical structures that both make sense and give meaning.
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: email@example.com phone: 510-333-7107
Suggested text: Introduction to Political Economy, Charles Sackrey et al, Dollars and Sense Publishers 8th Edition
Your Life, Your Story: Writing Your Biography Two-Pages at a Time
Have you ever wanted to write your memoir or leave a legacy for your loved ones? This is your chance. This six-week course includes activities and resources to help you write, share and preserve your life stories. Each week you’ll receive prompting questions to write two-pages on a particular theme of your life history. You’ll share your writing in class the following week in a supportive group environment. No writing experience is necessary, just an openness to appreciate and share the unique life that is yours.
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. For information about Pam and memoir writing, visit her website: www.fullcircle-stories.com.
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