PANAMA CITY— As the Education Encore motto confirms, you’re never too old to learn something new.
Sponsored by the Continuing Education Department at Gulf Coast State College, the six-week program offered each fall and spring semester is designed to provide quality learning experiences adults of all ages, coordinator Jim Barr said.
“Our goal is to provide a learning environment that is lively and full of enjoyment, diversity, insight and wisdom — in which adults may explore new ideas and make their own unique contributions,” Barr said. “For participants who have never attended college, Education Encore gives them an opportunity to ‘live’ the college experience. Participants who have attended college have an opportunity to‘re-live’ their college experience.”
Originally targeted at senior adults and winter residents, the classes have served students ranging in age from 30 to 93, Barr said.
Registration is Friday, Jan. 11, at the GCSC campus in Panama City. Classes begin on Jan. 18 and continue Fridays through February. The college anticipates registering 400 students for the session. (Classes also are offered at the Port St. Joe satellite campus, where registration begins Wednesday.)
“Our motto (is) ‘No tests, no grades, no stress — just fun,’ ” Barr said. “One man in his 40s decided to enroll in Education Encore because of this motto, and as result of his pleasant and enjoyable experiences was motivated to enroll as a full time academic student.”
Encore classes include: Creative Writing, Car Maintenance, New Technology, Digital Image Editing, Computer Basics, Drawing, Exercise for Seniors, Watercolor Workshop, Islam, Legal Briefs, Literature of the South, U.S. Political History, Mixed Media Jewelry, Spanish, Zoo What?, Linguistics, Hitting Your Reset Button, Fishing Florida Waters, Photography, History of African Americans of St. Andrews, World War II, Russian/Soviet History, We the People, Acrylic Painting, Ancient Egypt, How to Buy and Sell on e-Bay, Line Dance, Beginning Voice, Chair Yoga, Financial Issues for Seniors, Vietnam War, Of Font and Film, Storytelling, The Kennedy Assassination, Words to Live By, Facebook 101, Aquatic Exercise, Yoga, Gardening Native Flora, Zumba, Gourmet Cooking Made Easy and many more.
“It’s like doing community service that’s not ordered by a judge,” joked James Morris, who has taught car maintenance classes for the program for six years. “Really, you get more when you give more. I enjoy it, and I might get a customer out of it, so you could say I do it for selfish reasons. But I’ll even go sit in on classes, like the Constitutional Law class — that’s a lot of fun.”
Barr said enrollment in the program continues to increase for several reasons, chiefly the expertise of instructors and the variety of classes (more than 50 are offered). In addition, he credits the support of the college administration and the work of the Encore Advisory Council, a group of volunteers who promote the program, seek out instructors and take care of details.
“Just as exercising the body keeps one physically fit, exercising the mind keeps one mentally fit,” Barr said. “Education Encore does precisely that for its participants.”
Beyond classroom experiences, the program also offers:
- “Lunch & Learn,” where students meet in the second floor conference center at noon for a special presentation and lunch provided by the college cafeteria (nominal fee for lunch).
- Field trips to historical, cultural, environmental and entertainment sites in the area.
- Participant privileges including a photo ID badge that entitles students to use the college library, wellness building, swimming pool, weight and fitness room, as well as free admission to athletic events and visual and performing arts events.
- What: Non-credit enrichment classes for active adults on a variety of topics
- Where: Gulf Coast State College, 5230 W. U.S. 98, Panama City
- When: Each Friday, Jan. 18-Feb. 22; initial registration is Friday, jan. 11, beginning at 8 a.m. (doors open and registration numbers will be handed out beginning at 7 a.m.)
- Cost: $88 for up to four classes each Friday
- Details: Visit GulfCoast.edu/EducationEncore, call the Continuing Education Registration Desk at 872-3823 or email Jim Barr at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Note: Registration for Education Encore classes held at the GCSC Gulf/Franklin Center will be 1 p.m. (EST) Wednesday at the Center, 3800 Garrison Ave., Port St. Joe.