Emeritus ‘Back-to-School’ Kickoff caters to seniors

An enthusiastic crowd attended the Emeritus Plus 50 kickoff Aug. 11 at the Brazos Gallery in Crockett Hall. The group was there to meet some of the noncredit instructors teaching a variety of classes this fall. 

Emeritus Director Cindy Berry said she has had a lot of requests for social media, blogging and conversational Spanish classes. She encouraged the crowd to sign up for the Emeritus newsletter at richlandcollege.edu/emeritus to receive Emeri-news and stay connected every semester. 

“If you are 65 years of age and have lived in Dallas County for 12 months paying taxes, then you can take up to six hours of credit classes for no charge,” Berry said. Otherwise, “the credit classes run $59 per semester hour.”

Berry said the noncredit Emeritus classes and continuing education classes have a small fee because they are not reimbursed by the state, but the costs are reasonable. If you take a credit class, you will get a grade on your transcript, but with a noncredit class, you get a “cp” for completed. 

One of the instructors, Chris Tucker, spoke about his current events class titled “Election 2016:  Are You Ready?” It will meet from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Sept. 21 through Oct. 12 in Crockett Hall, Room 102. The cost is $30. 

“I’ve been paying pretty careful attention to politics since I was a senior in high school, and it goes without saying this is the wildest, most unbelievable election campaign I think maybe ever,” Tucker said.

Among the topics, he said he’ll cover current campaign news, advertising, attack ads, positive advertisements from the candidates, their personalities – strengths and weaknesses, and what they ought to be discussing instead of what they think of each other. 

“We’ll talk about the Trump Effect and how Trump, whether he wins or loses, has already made some big changes in the way that Hillary Clinton has campaigned,” Tucker said. “He’s made changes in the electoral process …What does his candidacy mean for the future of the Republican Party? He’s made changes maybe in the way that the country sees itself, for better or worse.” 

In addition to the election, another topic of interest to Emeritus students is Social Security and Medicare.

Instructor Rod Clark is teaching day and evening classes titled “Social Security: Get the Facts” on three Tuesdays, Nov. 1-15, also in Crockett Hall, Room 102. The day class is from 12:30 to 2 p.m. and at night, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. each class for $20. 

“I retired from the federal government after 35 years working for the Social Security and Medicare agencies,” Clark said. “The first class is basically a two-part class where we talk about the proposals to make changes to Social Security and Medicare. If you know what the proposals are, you can at least be aware of what’s going on. You can write your congressman.”

Clark also teaches “Getting the Most from Your Medicare” from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Thursdays, Nov. 3-17, also in Crockett Hall, Room 102, for $20.

“Medicare’s hospital trust fund, the Part A trust fund that you pay into while you’re still working, would be depleted by 2028,” Clark said. “That’s two years earlier than they previously estimated. So that means something really needs to be done. Congress and the president are going to have to act.” 

Berry said funeral planning has been one of the most popular Emeritus classes and that it always has full attendance. 

Jim Bates, a Funeral Consumer Alliance member, teaches “Free Funeral … or Go for Broke?” from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Dec. 2 and Dec. 9 in Crockett Hall, Room 102, for $15. 

“U.S. funerals have been developed by business since 1865 for profit and at the financial and emotional expense of us,” Bates said. “We all know that, but we just really don’t do much about it. That’s what this class is about.” 

Bates said the class will help put you in control of your funeral planning rather than being pushed by business through their process. 

Avelino Segura will teach “Beginning Conversational Spanish” from 10 a.m. to noon fiveTuesdays, Nov. 1-29 for $30. 

“This is probably the Spanish class that you wish you had in college,” Segura said. “The reason I’m saying this is, there’s no textbooks, there’s no testing, there’s no grades. The class is student-centered, meaning whatever you want to learn is what I’ll try to teach you.”

Segura said he has taught different levels of Spanish and currently works at the Garland campus teaching math and English to people who don’t speak English. He’s originally from Cuba. 

“Even if you’ve never taken Spanish ever, you have about 42 percent understanding in Spanish because there are 42 percent words in English that are cognates,” Segura said. “Most words in English that end in –tion;  all you do to change them into Spanish, just take the T and replace it with C.”

Other noncredit classes being offered are:  “JFK, Dallas, and the Power of Memory” by Stephen Fagin, curator of The Sixth Floor Museum; “Entering into the Mystery,” a focus on religion and art by two Richland instructors, Dr. Jon Ewing, religion professor, and Tom Motley, art instructor; “The Crusades” and “Celtic History” by Richland’s resident anthropologist Mel White; “Finding the Perfect Place to Travel and Taking the Perfect Picture,” by Ban Capron, photography instructor; “Beginning Acting and Improvisation” and “Public Speaking With an Acting Twist” by Nikki Nanos;  “The Problem of Evil:  Why Do Bad Things Happen in Life?” “Competitive Bids and Play in Contract Bridge,” “Retirement Planning” by Mark Dumdei and “Myths We Live By” by Rose Kaffenberger. 

In addition, computer instructor Susan Calhoun, who works in the Business Office Systems and Support Dept., said the Windows 10 classes are full, but there are several other classes available, including Photoshop Elements 14, digital photography, photo books, Iphone and genealogy. 

Calhoun said starting this fall, the software will be upgraded to Microsoft Office 2016, and they are offering word processing on Saturday. Spring registration for credit classes will start in November. 

Berry said there will be no enrichment series this semester. 

For more information about Emeritus classes, contact Berry at 972-238-6332, call the main office number at 972-238-6972 or email at rlcemeritus@dcccd.edu.  The office is located in Thunderduck Hall, Room T160, at 12800 Abrams Road in Dallas.