Emeritus kickoff features summer class offerings

A large crowd of enthusiastic Emeritus plus 50 students showed up April 20 at the LeCroy Center to learn about the exciting variety of summer courses being offered.

Among them are computer classes, iPhone/iPad, Photoshop, genealogy, Medicare and Social Security, classes, among others. All classes are geared to those age 50 and over. A few of the instructors spoke at the center about their classes.

Cindy Berry, Emeritus director, said a district website upgrade may have caused confusion and kept students from signing up for classes this semester. The class schedule book will be discontinued.

“Supposedly, this will be the last semester we print schedules,” Berry said. “I know that having the schedules in your hands makes a lot of you quite happy.”

Starting this fall, Berry said, all the classes will be offered, but students will have to go online to sign up for them or go to the Continuing Education office in person.

“Our new dean has decided to take all of the classes in Continuing Education and put them under six different umbrellas,” Berry said, showing the changes on a large screen.

“There will be a difference between Community (non-credit) classes and Emeritus classes (credit) in the fall. With the Emeritus classes, you have to be at least 65 years old to take a credit class. That will make it easier for people to understand.”

Students of any age can take the non-credit classes, as well as the bus trips offered through the Emeritus plus 50 program.

Students who are 65 years of age or older and have lived in Texas for at least one year, are eligible to take six hours of credit classes free. Everyone, no matter what age, pays for non-credit classes.

Physical education professor Bill Neal informed the attendees about his summer exercise class schedule.

“We have morning exercise classes that meet during the summer Monday and Wednesday mornings,” he said. “Everything we do has a focus. We work every muscle group in the body. Following that class, something that has taken the nation by storm now is a game called pickleball.” It’s similar to tennis.

Neal also said they’re changing tennis courts all over the country into pickle ball courts.

“You can’t get a reservation at a recreation center, they’re so booked up with this game,” Neal said. “It will be listed under tennis because pickleball is so new we don’t have a court titled pickleball. It takes five years to get a new course in. It’s under the guise of ‘tennis’.”

Joe and Cheryl Goldwater attend the Emeritus kickoff at the LeCroy Center.

Joe and Cheryl Goldwater attend the Emeritus kickoff at the LeCroy Center.

Neal had some advice for the older attendees:  “When you’re in your 60s, you’re like a freshman in high school. When you’re in your 70s, you’re a sophomore.  You’re not a junior until you get into your 80s and you’re not a senior until you get into your 90s,” he said. “The average age we have is the late 70s and early 80s in our classes. We do have folks who are in their 90s. Keep movin’ and they can’t throw dirt on you.” 

Jim Bates will teach a “Free Funeral … or Go for Broke?” class from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. July 12-19 in Crockett Hall (Room C102).

“Every single physical body that’s in this room is worth, at our ages, about $80,000,” Bates said.

Bates has been a volunteer for the Funeral Consumer Alliance for 25 years-plus.

Bates said when people hear the word, “funeral,” they naturally feel gloomy, which is typical, but he calls the funeral industry an “emotionally abusive industry.”

“It’s very expensive to have a funeral,” Bates said. “I guarantee the State of Texas and other states don’t care if you’re poor. They’re really not going to help you out. What this class will teach you is, it’s going to give you the skills to eliminate or reduce that emotional and financial abuse.  It will turn things completely over to you.”

Bates spoke briefly on natural (green) burial, home funerals, county burials, a body farm at Texas State University, tissue donation, and donating your body to a medical school.

“I know the Texas laws frontwards and backwards,” Bates said.

Berry said almost everybody who has taken Bates’ class has come back and just marveled at how much they learned and what an unbelievable class it was.

Chris Tucker, a long-time journalist who has written for The Dallas Morning News, KERA radio commentaries and was a former editor/columnist for D magazine, spoke about his upcoming class on “Liberal, Conservative, Populist.” It will meet from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Wednesdays from June 7 to July 5. He taught previous classes on the Supreme Court, the 1960s, the 2011, 2014 and 2016 elections and on the Cold War through the Emeritus program.

“This time, I’m expanding the class to not only liberalism, conservatism and libertarianism, but also “populism,” Tucker said. “In this course, we’re going to see what these different ideas mean.  We’re going to look at them at their best and at their worst.”

John Carmichael, who taught as an academic adviser with Berry for 18 years, said he loves teaching students how to learn better and how to be more successful in their classes. He began teaching at Richland 25 years ago and will be teaching one course this summer.

Carmichael told an amusing story of how he had a hard time asking people to teach him something he didn’t know. A mentor whom he knew challenged him by asking him to learn how to juggle. He tried numerous times only to fail time and time again. But, there was a moral to his story.

“ I overcame that self-defeating thinking. I was really proud of myself, ” Carmichael said. He became a juggler, but not professionally, of course. He said the key was to never use tennis balls when first learning.

“The juggling metaphor is meant for people who want to move forward in life,” he said. “In this class, that’s what we’re going to do.  We’re going to have fun, learn to juggle. It keeps us all from taking a change.

Carmichael’s class, “Juggling for Life, Metaphors for Living and Learning” will meet Mondays from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. June 5-26 in Crockett Hall, Room C102.

Berry said the fall “Back-to-School Kickoff” will be from 9:30 a.m. to noon July 20 in Sabine Hall, Room S118. Seating is limited. Call 972-238-6972. Several instructors will present and describe their classes. Light refreshments will be served. 

The Emeritus Office is in Thunderduck Hall, Room T160 or go to www.richlandcollege.edu/emeritus.

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