Senior Academy

Registration for Winter quarter now 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:
Mary Ellen Psaltis
Olympia Senior Center

Eating, Inspiration & Aging, 30 Days – 30 Ways

General Public/Members: $80/$60
Wednesdays
10:30 - 11:45 am
January 4, 2023
-
February 1, 2023

Eating is essential. Every day we face challenges having food on the table that is appetizing, affordable, healthful and tastes great. Are you caving to cravings? This class will cover making meals that take all this into account. As we age, we are also interested in foods that are beneficial to various health concerns. We will use time to examine messages we carry, whether positive or negative, that have an impact on our health and food choices. Start the new year on improving your food path.

Your Instructor:  Mary Ellen Psaltis, B.Ph., is a Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant and Senior Nutrition Specialist. She is a long-time food and lifestyles writer whose work can be found at ThurstonTalk and ShowCase Magazine.” She spent years presenting nutrition-related topics on the dental continuing education circuit. Mary Ellen strives to support people on their individual paths for optimal well-being through their food and lifestyle choices. Her interest in brain health and aging has increased as she cares for her 97-year-old mother.

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Instructor:
Gery Gerst
Olympia Senior Center

Our Constitution: Has it worked? Does it need repairs? How would the Founders grade us?

General Public/Members: $120/$100 (six sessions)
Mondays
1:00 - 3:00 pm
January 9, 2023
-
February 27, 2023

Our founders laid 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? Do our laws, court cases and actions? Can our past inform the present in our quest to ‘achieve’ democracy? Let’s look at both with examples, questions, dialogue…and pesky facts. This is part II, but part I not required to fit right in.

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 family. 

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Instructor:
Bruce Lerro
Olympia Senior Center

Lucifer’s Labyrinth: Part 2

General Public/Members: $140/$120 (eight sessions)
Tuesdays
2:00 - 4:00 pm
January 10, 2023
-
February 28, 2023

For better and for worse, Western humanity took a different social evolutionary road than the civilizations of Africa, Asia or South America. This is shown in our spiritual mythology. The angel Lucifer was the bringer of light. However, this is not the light of love and harmony. Lucifer brings light to western humanity if we dare to taste the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. My book, Lucifer’s Labyrinth is the secular odyssey of what happened to Western humanity after we took the devil’s bargain and were thrown out of the garden. On the negative side this sojourn has been peppered with floods, famines, plagues and little ice ages. But partly as an adaptation to these conditions, we developed the printing press, the telescope, the microscope, higher mathematics, the scientific method and the economic polarities of capitalism and socialism. Our deep, dark, tumultuous and wondrous trek goes from the Middle Ages to the Gilded Age, an 800-year period.

Your Instructor: 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:
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
January 11, 2023
-
February 15, 2023

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

Late Life Design - Olympia

General pubic/Members: $90/$60
Wednesdays: Jan 11 & 25 and Feb 8 & 22
1:00 - 3:00 pm
January 11, 2023
-
February 22, 2023

How do you want to spend the rest of your life? Create a design for living. Begin a new year with plans to grow and learn. Every decade in late life presents a new set of tasks, challenges, and joys. In four sessions we reflect on: our alone time; families and friendships; group connections; and what makes life meaningful. We will generate a rich array of ideas as we plan together to create our own unique design for life. A workbook provides information and tools to guide you during class and use to continue adapting your design for living in the coming years. The workshop has four sessions

Your instructor: Marty Worcester’s long career is in gerontology and geriatrics with a special focus on growth and development in each decade after age 60. She continues her interest through assisting others in preparing for expected changes by offering workshops and consulting. You can learn more about her work and life by contacting her through her web site at www.keystoaging-latelifedesign.com or by calling or texting her at 206-915-6335

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Instructor:
Tom Rainey, P.h.D
Olympia Senior Center

Profiles in Power: Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin

General Public/Members: $140/$100
Wednesdays
1:30 - 4:00 pm
January 11, 2023
-
March 1, 2023

The geopolitical and competitive dynamics between China, Russia, Europe, the Unites States and perhaps India will likely dominate the first half, if not the whole, of the 21st century. At the same time, the main focus of world power politics seem to be shifting from the Atlantic to the Pacific Rim, the current war between Russia and Ukraine notwithstanding. Presently, two dictatorial and authoritarian leaders, Xi Jinping and Valdimir Outin, dominate the two Eurasian and Asian superpowers–China and Russia. This course will explore, compare, and contrast the rise of these two despotic leaders, the consolidation and institutionalism of their political-economic powers, their domestic and expansive foreign policies, and the ideologies that they have developed to explain and justify their personal powers and global ambitions. Special emphasis will be given to the strategic alliance between China and Russia and its “world-hisotrical” significance.

Your instructor: Tom has been a historian ever since he learned the meaning of the word. He serves in the military from 1954-`959 and received his BA in history from the University of Florida. Tom received his MA and Ph.D from the University of Illinois,Champaign-Urbana. Tom has taught at several different universities, traveled extensively in Russia, and has written a book-a memoir of his coming of age in Florida.

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Instructor:
Margo Benedetto
Olympia Senior Center

Let’s Put Our Heads Together: Mindful Tools for Optimal Living

General Public/Members: $130/$100 (eight sessions)
Tuesdays
10:00 - 11:00 am
January 12, 2023
-
March 3, 2023

Mindfulness has been described as a superpower because it enables us--with proper training and practice--to tap into our own mental resources to bring more joy, vitality and human connection into our lives.  Unfortunately, the commercial popularity of mindfulness has led to its trendy packaging and watering-down into “McMindfulness. So let’s lose the hype and explore the form, discipline and daily applications of this ancient practice to help us feel more rested, confident and connected, especially during the rain and darkness of the winter months.  We’ll discuss ideas, study our brains and use guided meditations ranging in styles from “Full Body Massage” to “Mental Detox” and “Happy Hour”  Mindfulness is truly an inside job with outside benefits, including the opportunity to build a fun and supportive community through shared practice.

Your Instructor: 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:
Marty Worcester, Ph.d
Lacey Senior Center

Late Life Design - Lacey

General pubic/Members: $90/$60
Wednesdays: Jan 18, Feb 1 & 15 and Mar 1
1:00 - 3:00 pm
January 18, 2023
-
March 1, 2023

How do you want to spend the rest of your life? Create a design for living. Begin a new year with plans to grow and learn. Every decade in late life presents a new set of tasks, challenges, and joys. In four sessions we reflect on: our alone time; families and friendships; group connections; and what makes life meaningful. We will generate a rich array of ideas as we plan together to create our own unique design for life. A workbook provides information and tools to guide you during class and use to continue adapting your design for living in the coming years. The workshop has four sessions

Your instructor: Marty Worcester’s long career is in gerontology and geriatrics with a special focus on growth and development in each decade after age 60. She continues her interest through assisting others in preparing for expected changes by offering workshops and consulting. You can learn more about her work and life by contacting her through her web site at www.keystoaging-latelifedesign.com or by calling or texting her at 206-915-6335

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Instructor:
Ron Johnson
Zoom

Northwest Nations

General Public/Members: $120/$80 (six sessions)
Fridays
2:00 - 4:00 pm
January 20, 2023
-
February 24, 2023

Join Ron Johnson as he shares the stories of Salish Peoples.  We will hear origin stories, myths, animal stories, living stories and more in this new and exciting class.  Be prepared to hear and discuss stories of the people who have inhabited this land for centuries.

Your Instructor:  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:
Barbara Young
Olympia Senior Center

More Stories Behind the Masks We Wear

General Public/Members: $110/$80 (five sessions)
Thursdays
1:00 - 3:00 pm
January 26, 2023
-
February 23, 2023

This class will explore and express our personal stories through writing, art, poetry, reflection, discussion, and sharing. Bring a self-portrait, photo, or mask representing you for beginning introductions. Bring writing materials. Texts: The Interconnectedness of Story, Community & Health, and Hear My Voice: My Life Unmasked: a Memoir by Barbara Mould Young. (Available in January)

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. Four of her books are listed with KDP Amazon under the author’s name, Barbara Mould Young. They are: The Interconnectedness of Story, Community, & Health, Travels to Maya: 14 Days in the Yucatán, The Tree Is Medicine, and Pelicans’ Choreography. Barbara has exhibited her masks and art sculptures in Olympia’s Arts Walk.

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Instructor:
Maia O'Brien
Olympia Senior Center

Intro to Astrology

General public/Members: $60/$40
Thursdays
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
February 2, 2023
-
February 23, 2023

Join Maia O’Brien as she offers an introduction to the fascinating world of astrology. The basic foundations of astrology will be presented including planets, signs, houses and cycles/transits of the planets. We will explore the many ways astrology is reflected in our own lives and the lives of those around us. It can give us a broader perspective on world events as well. Join us for lively and enlightening conversations about the beautiful, ancient, mystical art and science of astrology.

Your instructor: Maia O’Brien is a physical therapist and dance/movement therapist, who has used astrology and the creative arts therapies to help facilitate personal growth and life enhancement since 1975. Please feel free to bring a printed copy of your birth chart to this presentation, including birth time, date and location, using Whole Sign Houses.

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Instructor:
Tony Usibelli
Olympia Senior Center

It’s All Greek To Me: An Introduction to Ancient Greek History, Society, and Archaeology

General Public/Members: $120/$90 (six sessions)
Tuesdays
1:00 -3:30 pm
February 14, 2023
-
March 31, 2023

This six-week class will examine the eastern Mediterranean world of the Bronze Age Minoans and Myceneans, Archaic and Classical Greece, and the Hellenistic societies emerging from Alexander the Great’s conquests. We will explore archaeological remains, selections from ancient literature and philosophy, and modern scholarship all within the context of social, political, and cultural history. As part of the class, we will try to better understand the contradictory elements of Greek democracy and philosophy juxtaposed with elements of xenophobia, misogyny, slave-holding and violent conflict.

 

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. Tony just completed teaching a Fall Senior Academy class on Ancient Italy.

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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

Questions?

Contact our knowledgeable staff if you are interested in learning more about our services.

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