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Current Newsletter - Belfast Senior College

Message from our President (July 2022)

Message from our president
Nancy Perkins

We’re Having a Heat Wave!

Lake-Summer

Fifty years ago in July when we first came to Maine lake camps with our two small sons whichever parent got up first lit the fire and made the coffee. I learned to play possum and as soon as my husband was starting the fire I would slip on my bathing suit for an early morning swim in the icy lake before returning to the small cabin that had warmed from the fire. I poured myself a cup of rich dark coffee to enjoy by the fire. By noon the sun was warm and as the little boys played along the shore mommy and daddy relaxed in the sun. Lunch was a picnic on the rocks. Sandwiches, fruit, cookies, and lemonade followed by a lie down on the green blanketed lawn. Late afternoon we pulled sweatshirts and sweaters over our shorts as the mists began rising from the lake. Grilled dinner followed by roasting marshmallows for s’mores concluded a joyful vacation day. Sleep came quickly and woolen blankets felt good in the low night temperatures.

Fifty years later we wonder how it changed so quickly. We know why and while there are many efforts to reverse or at least slow down global warming and climate change we must not lose sight of the problem. Belfast is fortunate to have good minds and committed individuals from religious groups to public bodies addressing this consuming issue. Climate change deniers have fallen silent and finally all are waking up to this crisis. Sue Conard and Fred Bowers have both taught at Senior College and Sue has promised an update on the problem for the Winterim Session. Fred Bowers is now chairing the Belfast Climate Crisis Committee. We will continue to look to Fred, in his role on the Curriculum Committee, for information and advice for possible topics and courses. The State Association of Maine Senior Colleges is addressing this issue with a number of actions as well as planning on a major fall event featuring a renowned figure speaking on the topic. Information on this fall event will follow. In the meantime, read, listen, talk, and practice daily changes that will lower your carbon footprint!

Kudos to Sandi Cirillo, artist and instructor extraordinaire, who held the first in person class at the Hutchinson Center this month. Everyone enjoyed being back working together in the Art Room. Thank you to Sandi who has served Senior College in so many ways.

The Board has been busy over the summer planning for a September 15 return to the Hutchinson Center. We are thrilled that we will have in-person courses as well as two hybrid classes using the OWL, a device that allows an excellent live classroom presentation to be broadcast to users outside of the class. This little gadget, resembling a stainless steel owl, moves to the sound of a speaker’s voice and it will enhance the classroom experience for those unable to attend the in-person class.

All of us owe a huge debt to Deirdre Good who became Chair of the Curriculum Committee just about the time the pandemic led to Zoom courses only. Deirdre is stepping down from the position but longtime Senior College member, instructor, and volunteer Karen Gleeson has graciously agreed to Chair this all important group that is the very heart of our Senior College experience.

In addition, we will offer three Zoom courses that begin in October. All information on classes will be posted on the Senior College website beginning August 15. Remember that membership renewal will be due at the same time as class registration and can be easily accomplished online through CourseStorm, a feature we introduced last year. So don’t hesitate to renew your membership. If you have friends or family over 50 invite them to join us in “lifelong learning” this fall.

Covid is lingering and as a result we will be practicing safe procedures. Masks will be required in the building and you will be asked to show proof of vaccination at the first class of the session. In addition, if you develop Covid symptoms or test positive please notify your Instructor immediately. As much as we would like to serve refreshments during class breaks we have decided not to offer them during the Fall Session for the health and safety of all of us. Of course, you are welcome to bring your own drinks and snacks but plan on consuming them outside on the terrace or in your car.

In closing, enjoy the remainder of the summer days and join us in September at the Hutch for Senior College is Back!

Nancy Perkins 
Chair, Senior College


Fall Semester at Belfast Senior College – In Two Words “WE’RE BACK”

After two years of Zoom only classes, Belfast Senior College will now be back in the Hutchinson Center and enjoying our courses in person. We’ll be able to choose between learning bridge, writing plays, learning drawing, and reading The Little Prince in English or (if you’re fluent enough) in French. We’ll learn about Walt Whitman and his times, the current issue of book banning in OUR times, and Bob Dylan’s take on the ‘times they are a changin.’” And to clear our heads, there will be “Math, Art and Nature.” We’ll still have some Zoom courses for those who want them – an eclectic mix of topics: Plato, British Mysteries, and online dating. We’re also looking forward to some special one-day programs: a local filmmaker will be showing his work and leading a discussion, and Maine’s Poet Laureate, Stuart Kestenbaum, will be at the Hutchinson Center for a lunchtime reading.

COVID restrictions will still be necessary: masks, proof of vaccinations, and distancing in classrooms. So kudos to the Curriculum Committee and the speakers for this fall, who have put together a brand new schedule. As always, if you have an enthusiasm you want to share with the Senior College Community, let Senior College know about it. We’re always delighted to help you turn it into a class or Brown Bag Lunch for all of us to enjoy.

Karen Gleeson
Chair, Curriculum Committee


Nominating Committee
New Slate Announced

Every year at our Annual Meeting, the Nominating Committee of Senior College has an obligation to provide a slate of new and “old” Board members willing to serve the College as Board members. Thanks to the efforts of the Committee over the course of the past year, I am pleased to present a slate of Board members that can be voted on at our annual meeting in September. Not only has the College survived the pandemic, the Nominating Committee has found folks willing to help us move past the worst of the pandemic and thrive as a life-long learning institution.

Several current Board members have agreed to serve additional three year terms. These are Richard Koralek, Doug Chamberlain, Martha Laitin, and Brian Richardson. Their experience will be helpful in maintaining continuity as we shift from providing just Zoom classes …thanks to the pandemic.

We are looking forward to offering classes at the Hutchinson Center once again, following all the necessary safety protocols. Prospective volunteers willing to serve on the Board include Monica Morris, Denise Pendleton, Sam Causon, and David Michael Ray. The Committee, and the Board, reached consensus and supported each of these candidates for the Board, old and new. The Board is pleased with this year’s slate and hope our membership will vote in support of these folks and their willingness to serve. The annual meeting on September 29 will be here in a flash.

I am grateful for the efforts of each member of the Committee. Again, our members are Nancy Perkins, Martha Laitin, Rebecca Jessup, Paul Sheridan, Barney Lutsk, and myself, a fine team.

Finding good people to serve on the Board and in our various committees is essential for a life-long learning center that has no paid staff. We hope you will consider joining this satisfying and meaningful community effort as a volunteer.
You will meet and work with great people who are talented, diverse, and have much to offer. By all means get in touch with our Committee or Board members if you are interested in learning more about what you can do.

Jim Owen 
Chair, Nominating Committee 


A new name?

“What’s in a name?” Noted English playwright William Shakespeare was by no means a senior when he asked the question in 1597. He was 33 years old. These days at Belfast Senior College, many members, ages not disclosed, are repeating Bill’s question. Why? Because friends, neighbors, and acquaintances have said the current name implies only the very-long-lifers and academic-intense are welcome. Might a new name better reflect the college’s historic commitment to lifelong learning for everyone in Belfast and beyond? What do you think? Please participate in a straw poll to be conducted at the annual meeting on September 29. The College is counting on you!

John McClenahen
Chair, Naming Committee 


Corona Chronicles Still Publishing

Submissions to the Chronicles have slowed considerably. We want to hear from you and hope you will forward articles, poems, photographs, and stories for inclusion. The Chronicles have brought much delight to so many members and we would love to move from the Corona Chronicles to a newly fashioned name for the online presentation. Any ideas for a new, non-pandemic name? Send your suggestions to us at nanella133@gmail.com or williajanet@gmail.com.