Wide variety of adult education courses offered

Sunday, January 8, 2006

By Steve Moyer


Nevada, Mo. -- Talk about students in the Nevada R-5 School District and most people think of elementary and high school age students, but no one is too old to learn; and there are subjects that can pique the interest of just about any age being offered at the Nevada Regional Technical Center North Campus.

As the brochure the district prepared for the Adult/Community Education schedule says "From Woodworking to eBay to Beginning Tai Chi -- we have something for everyone!"

Janis Collins, adult and community education coordinator, said seniors are very eager to take the Silver Bullet computer courses.

"Beginning computer classes are probably our most popular, especially with our senior citizens," Collins said. "Digital camera is popular, and e-mail."

In addition to basic computer classes, more advanced offerings include popular office suite products like Microsoft Word, Excel, Access and PowerPoint.

"Once they get past the basics a lot of them will go on to other classes," Collins said. "They're popular with people who use computers in their businesses. People who may be starting a home business or use them in their work. Farmers use Excel spreadsheets and Access databases."

A woodworking class taught by Kevin Peterman is popular with the guys. "They come in and head straight for the saws," Collins said.

Gardening is a popular subject and the district brings in master gardeners and university extension specialists to teach it. Painting is another popular subject but the subject that was the hands-down favorite last year was Tai Chi.

"It was our most popular class last fall," Collins said. "We had a full house with that."

Leslie Carroll-Bartlett, the instructor for the course said she was in China and used to see hundreds of people in parks practicing the technique.

"When I was in China I'd go outside for coffee and all these people would be doing Tai Chi in parks," Bartlett said. "They'd do it at the speed the sun rose."

Bartlett got interested in the exercise and determined to learn it. "A couple of years ago I went to a class at the hospital taught by Stacy Wilson," Bartlett said. "Then I trained with the Arthritis Foundation and got certified."

An ancient practice, Tai Chi involves slow movements that can help the body in many ways.

"Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese practice of slow flowing movement that reduces stress and promotes proper breathing, you put more oxygen into the brain," Bartlett said.

Collins said the district would consider other classes if someone made the suggestion.

"If someone suggests something we'd ask 'Do you have any idea who could teach the course,'" Collins said. "We'd look at it and see how much we would have to charge and all that but we would love to do other things. We do need to break even on the courses, so we have to charge for classes."

The brochures are being distributed in local newspapers but also in doctors offices, senior centers and other places adults gather in Nevada and surrounding communities. "People can pick up brochures at those places or at the Bowman Building," Collins said. "People can call us and we'll send them one, we don't mind."

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