Heppe and Samberg are promoting further education classes geared towards those who are 50 and over. The Eureka classes are held at the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center. She said this provided more convenient access for our more senior citizens.
Heppe remarked, “OLLI is learning for learning’s sake. We offer classes we hope folks want to learn more about.”
In order to receive an endowment from the OLLI to start the program at HSU they needed to have 500 paying members, which they achieved in 2009. They received $500,000 to begin with the goal to increase membership to 1,000 the following year to receive the full $1 million in endowment funds. Heppe said they have been there every year since and hope to continue to grow and offer more and more classes.
Many people were surprised that HSU was able to garner that much support from such a small demographic. Heppe said that the 50-and-over groups are eager to learn and growing every day. She said one of the most popular classes has been physics. She said, “Who wouldn’t want to take a physics class with no tests and no pressure to pass?”
Although these classes are not college accredited, they are working on connecting them to degree-programs in the future. This will open things up for even more people to continue their adult educations.
Samberg will be in charge of the Southern Humboldt classes to be held at the Garberville Civic Club. The question was asked about using CR’s Garberville site for classes. Heppe said she had inquired about that, but at the time the building was not ready for occupancy. She did say she would be pursuing that possibility in the future, although CR does have a competing program somewhat like OLLI.
Four classes will be offered this coming spring. They include Book Lovers Unite: Jane Austen, with Marie Raphael; Watercolor: Still Life Painting with Judy Evenson; Constitutional Myths with Ray Raphael; and Moving Your Words: A Writing Class with Suzanne Samberg.
Samberg asked the audience, “What are you passionate about?”
She talked about having to keep the attention of 36 high school students with some of them wanting to be anywhere but in her classroom. She said this is completely different. The students want to be there and are eager to learn everything they can.
She said that you don’t have to be a credentialed teacher to be an instructor for the OLLI program. All you need to do is have the passion for what you are teaching.
Most classes are around $50 and the course fees are split with the instructors. Class size is up to the individual instructors. Obviously, some classes work better with smaller groups.
Heppe said as long as they can break even with expenses these classes will be offered.
Classes meet once, twice, three times or maybe a bit more for three to four weeks with varying time lengths depending on the subject. They are definitely targeted for the 50-and-over crowd, but everyone is welcome to attend.
Both Heppe and Samberg encourage everyone to become a member of OLLI and enroll in at least one class. Membership is only $35 per year (Aug. 1 - July 31) and younger people can become a supplemental member for $25 each. There is also a package program for those who ride the bus for classes in Eureka.
For more information, to join OLLI, or a catalog for the upcoming spring classes call 707-826-5880 or check it out online at www.humboldt.edu/olli.
REDWOOD TIMES PHOTO BY SUSAN GARDNER
Sheila Rocker Heppe, left, and Suzanne Samberg spoke to the Garberville Rotary Club about continued education opportunities for those over 50.