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Lifelong Learning jumpstarts new school year with course presentation, reception

By Staff | Sep 6, 2019

Director of Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning Karen Rice, left, and Karen Cristiano, of Lake Frederick, Va., talk about classes in the 2019-2020 Lifelong Learning calendar in the Robert C. Byrd Center on Aug. 28. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN — “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever,” said Mahatma Gandhi. And for many local residents, they are planning to do just that, as they sign up for Lifelong Learning classes and trips in its 2019-2020 season.

On Aug. 28, about 75 returning and prospective Lifelong Learning members listened in the Robert C. Byrd Center auditorium, as Director of Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning Karen Rice encouraged them to consider taking a variety of classes, day trips and vacations with the Lifelong Learning program. According to Rice, this season’s calendar has even more options than in previous years.

“It’s a great opportunity for the community to continue to learn. I think it’s wonderful to provide the community with such a resource where they can continue to learn and develop throughout their lifetime,” Rice said. “Some of our courses reflect current issues. And for the first time this year, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will be the focus of one of our classes.”

Some of this year’s volunteer teachers, according to Rice, have taught classes for many years, while others are more recent additions to Lifelong Learning’s staff.

“Shepherdstown has an incredible community of people with a lot of knowledge — just very brilliant people,” Rice said, mentioning a newly-formed committee should help Lifelong Learning improve the variety in its course selections in the future. “In the past, [the teachers have] sort of been whomever I could find. But now with our Curriculum Committee, it’s going to be more structured to fill topics that may be missing — we’ll be more intentional, in terms of curriculum.”

Community members snack, sip wine and talk together during the Lifelong Learning reception in the Robert C. Byrd Center on Aug. 28. Tabitha Johnston

According to Shepherdstown resident Steve Ayraud, while many Lifelong Learning members enjoy attending classes, some prefer the day trips, and national and international trips offered by the program.

“Some people don’t like a classroom situation, so this gives them the chance to participate in other types of programs,” Ayraud said. “I’ve visited so many Lifelong Learning programs, and the fact we have so many day trips sets us apart from other programs.”

Another thing that makes Shepherd’s Lifelong Learning program unique, is that it is the only Lifelong Learning program in the tristate area. More than one member, according to Rice, drives up from Virginia to take part in the program.

“I called up Shenandoah University and found out they shut down their Lifelong Learning program,” said Karen Cristiano, of Lake Frederick, Va. “I’m going to drive over here for what I’d like, but I might not be able to take as many courses as I’d like, due to the distance.

“I think it’s wonderful that Shepherd University does this,” Cristiano said. “Using your mind is a big part of keeping healthy as you age.”

Lifelong Learning classes begin on Monday. To register, email krice@shepherd.edu, call 304-876-5135 or visit www.shepherd.edu/lifelonglearning.